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TUAW Tip: switch to the Mac on the cheap

The word that there might be as many as 9000 switchers a day got us thinking: maybe all those switchers could use some tips on how to save a few bucks while hopping the fence to white, black and aluminum pastures. Sure, Apple typically doesn't offer much in the way of excitement when it comes to zany blow-out sales on their products, but who says you have to buy your Apple stuff from Apple? There are plenty of resellers who offer some great deals to lure customers away from Apple's shiny stores, and discount watching sites can help you jump on time-sensitive sales. If you take our tips to heart, we guarantee both you and your credit card will sleep better at night with your next (or first) Mac purchase.

Read our recommendations after the jump.
  • Amazon - they don't always offer great deals, but we've caught them occasionally offering rebates around $150 on MacBooks and sometimes MacBook Pros.
  • Apple Store Sale Area - Apple often posts batches of current and recent-model refurbished machines at significant discounts in the Sale section of the online Apple Store. Refurbished machines still have the same 1-year warranty coverage new ones do, so there really isn't much of a risk, and you can save serious cash.
  • CDW's Mac Warehouse - CDW seems to get their hands on batches of 'factory fresh' machines that are simply one generation behind, so they sell at a deep discount (be sure to click the Mac Warehouse tab on the left). For example: as of this writing, CDW is selling a MacBook Pro 2.0Ghz Core Duo (one step behind the Core 2 Duo models Apple is selling now) for $600 off at a price of $1329. If you need a mobile pro Mac but not all the bells and whistles of the latest model, this is another great way to save on a brand new machine.
  • Small Dog Electronics - A seller of more than just Macs, Small Dog has some great deals on recent and refurbished Macs, as well as some killer deals some older generation hardware all wrapped up in their Specials section. Example: as of this writing, Small Dog has 159 17-inch PowerBook G4 machines with full 90 day/1 year warranties for $1499 each. Again, if you don't need the latest and greatest, this is a killer deal from a very respected Mac reseller. You can even purchase AppleCare on these to secure your investment.
  • Forevermac.com - For those in the UK, there's Forevermac. Since most of the TUAW blogging team lives in the US, however, we haven't had much personal experience here, but this name came well-recommended for our friends across the pond.
  • Macmaps.com/usedrefurbished - If you're gunning for a used or refurbished Mac, this bare-bones page contains what looks like a pretty comprehensive list of stores that just might have what you need.
  • Dealmac.com - Dealmac's tag line is "How to go broke saving money," and if you aren't careful, that phrase will quickly turn into a reality after using their deal sleuthing skills to snag too much gear. Dealmac employs an army of web surfers who constantly scour online (and sometimes even brick and mortar) stores for rock-bottom prices on new, used and refurbished electronics of all kinds, including Macs. If you don't feel like doing your own shopping, you can feel confident in parking your browser or customized RSS feed here for deals at all the stores we're listing, and more, for the best deals on Macs, accessories and other electronics.
  • Pricewatch - One of the oldest computer-related shopping aggregator sites on the web, Pricewatch covers the vast scope of the entire computer industry. You can probably find good Mac deals from various retailers here, but we wanted to round up our list with Pricewatch because they're far more known for watching prices on just about everything else. PC Motherboards, unique external hard drives, gaming accessories, media cables and just about anything else electronic and computer-related can be found here. This is a great place to find that obscure accessory that the other more Mac-centric stores might not carry.

So have at it, Mac shoppers both old and new. We hope this list can help everyone save a few bucks when looking for that next big (or small) Mac purchase. As always, feel free to share your own wisdom and killer Mac deals in the comments.

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