Best Buys in Used Macs
Updated 2001.09 and 2003.05
We're sorry, but these are very old, very dated articles. Best buys in used Macs is such a moving target that we simply can't keep up to date and have given up even trying. Please read these in their historical context, as some of these articles were written in the early years of Low End Mac.
Some Macs were just great when they were new, but haven't fared as well on the used market. Others were best avoided from the start (see Road Apples). And some were simply unaffordable by the average user.
A Best Buy rating means you can buy the computer used and have a usable Mac, have some real upgrade options (RAM, CPU, etc.), and current pricing is reasonable in light of age and capability. Prices are approximate based on recent eBay sales and will vary by configuration. Shipping is additional on eBay purchases, so you can expect to pay a bit more locally when shipping is not a factor.
A Good Buy rating is also a very good value, but a machine that for one reason or another didn't quite merit a best buy rating.
Best Buys - 68K Macs
- SE/30: best of the compact Macs, US$15-30.
- IIci: decent speed, plenty of expansion options, US$20.
- LC III/Performa 460: the first LC that wasn't crippled, plenty of capability for low end use, US$15, but relatively rare on the used market.
- IIfx: wicked fast in 1990, expandable and affordable today, US$10-30.
- Centris 650: good speed, lots of upgrade options, US$40. The Quadra 650 is also a good value at about $10 more.
- PowerBook 540c: The Blackbird series was Apple's best pre-PPC machine, and the 540c the best value among them, US$70-100 and up.
Best Buys - Power Macs
- PowerBook 1400: Sometimes available for under US$200-350 and with a G3/333 upgrade option, this is a less costly alternative to the iBook. Avoid the cacheless 117 MHz model unless you plan on replacing the CPU.
- Power Mac 7500: decent speed; easy, inexpensive, and powerful G3 upgrades; generally US$40-80 on eBay. The 7300, 7600, 8500, 8600, 9500, and 9600 are also good choices, but the 7500 trumps them all for low cost.
- Power Mac G3 (blue & white): good speed, plenty of expandability, sometimes available for under US$300.
- Power Mac 7200: acceptable speed, very affordable, two drive bays, no affordable processor upgrades, US$25-50.
- Power Mac G3 (beige): sometimes selling for under US$200, they deserve a close look. They typically come with a 233-266 MHz G3 and can be upgraded to 500 MHz and possibly beyond.
If you're looking for a used Mac, be sure to visit our Dealers page, which lists dozens who sell used and reconditioned equipment.
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