Is there a big difference between buying new and refurbished? am I taking a chance getting refurb?
Besides the new/used condition there is also the warranty period 1yr vs 90 days (typical).
In some outlets you might have restrictions on returning an item or getting refunds.
Exanmple: Lenovo Thinkpad T61 @ NewEgg $280
has a 1 yr warranty but a no-refund, return for replacement only policy.
BestBuy has a 90day warranty but lets you return the item for a refund within 2 weeks.
One refurb laptop might have been returned by a disappointed customer looking for something different. Another might have been sent back for a major fault that was (hopefully) fully repaired. So yes, you are taking a chance.
You could end up saving a couple hundred - so it's a risk/reward toss up.