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I'm meeting someone tomorrow to purchase a MacBook Pro. This would be my first Mac owned but I had a job a couple of years ago where I was provided with a MBP.

I know how to inspect basics (ie, check system window and make sure the hardware matches the description), but what else should I look for?

It is the 2.2 i7 15 inch (assuming base model but its hard to tell from product description).

http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MD318LL/A?

All of that being said, What should I be looking for aside from just verifying that the product matches description? Is there any specific problems/ware to look for either specific to this model or Macbook Pros in general? Are there any basic tests I could run to try and diagnose any of these problems?

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3 Answers

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I wouldn't purchase this machine unless it's still covered by AppleCare.

Inspect it closely for nicks and dents, indicating a drop. I would check the Console logs for any indication of ongoing OS level problems.

Unfortunately testing hardware can take a while, but is worthwhile before buying. Run AHT (see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1509?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US) and do the quick test. To do it you'll probably need the original disks that came with the machine.

The only other thing I can think of would be to verify that modules such as bluetooth, WiFi, Ethernet etc, are showing up properly (and information is being populated in) system profiler. To get there, hold option while going to the apple menu - it's the first option.

Listen for loud fans, can indicate overheating or bad sensors.

Aside from that... it's always risky. Check Apple's stock of refurb units. They come to you refurbished by Apple, with a 1-year warranty, and often don't cost that much more than a CL unit, but with much less risk.

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Check how many loading cycles the battery has. That model's battery is officially considered "consumed" after 1000 cycles.

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Look for physical damage, dents scratches, cracks in the screen. Check the keyboard for spills, other than that they are pretty solid systems.

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