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Refurbished Computers

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Refurbished Computers
– Getting The Most For Your Money

Ok, you’ve been digging around for refurbished computers. And you've managed to find some IBM laptops, a few used Dell desktops, and some other name-brand systems. But finding bargains in refurbished computers is more than just a low price on a name brand with the word Pentium’ Attached !

It's common sense … the lowest price isn’t the best value unless the PC also does what you need it to do, and is reliable. So let me point you in the right direction.

Where To Find Refurbished Computers

There are bargains in reconditioned computers in almost every configuration and price range, and from top manufacturers like Dell and IBM. So why chance going to the local ‘Chubby Charlie’s Computers' where they tinker with used PCs in the back room ?

Considering the auction sites? They offer some really low-cost systems, but it's risky to buy a used PC from an individual. Are you really sure there aren’t used parts in those “like new” PCs? And what kind of warranty will you get?

Stick with major brands and suppliers – companies that have proven their equipment and service reliability. You’ll also find that parts for older refurbished computers and certified repairs are more readily available. Remember that supplier reliability is as important as the equipment itself.

Here’s what I look for :

  •    Stability and length of time in business.
  •    Availability of service and tech support – 800#, 24x7 access, email.
  •    Membership in a BBB or other consumer organizations.
  •    Warranty terms and Return policy.

What You Can Expect to Pay

Of course you want the best deal, but unless you’re looking only for the cheapest equipment and willing to take much more risk, avoid ‘too-good-to-be-true ‘ deals. Buy the best you can afford - even if you're on a tight budget - and then upgrade components later if you have the need.

Throughout this site, my reviews of reconditioned computer systems are grouped by these price categories:

  • 'Cheap' Computers: Although priced under $500 for desktops and $700 for laptops, it’s a matter of age and lack of frills, not reliability.
  • Basic Value: These refurbished PCs are priced from $200 - $400, and will typically have Pentium 2 or 3 processors, with small to midsize drives.
  • Mid Level:  Priced from $400 - $700, these are solid all-purpose systems with P3/4 processors. They are great for all but the most intense games and programs.
  • High Performance: Rebuilt computers in this group will be over $700, with more recent technology, and more power. Most refurbished laptops will be in this category.

Steps To Getting The Best Computer For You

1) Know What You Want To Do – Consider your real needs now and 12 months out. Older PCs are upgradable, but there are limits to any design so do some planning. Refurbished laptops are more difficult to upgrade, and some of the cheapest systems may not be worth upgrading. So add growing room by getting a bit more power and storage than you think you need.

2)  Choose The Operating System and Software – Many mistakenly put Step #3 first. The CPU is not “the brains” - the OS and software drive your CPU and hardware, not the reverse. Software does the ‘thinking’, and hardware carries out the instructions. So pick the software you need first.

3) Match The Hardware To The Software - Many of the least expensive PCs are sold without an Operating System. So use what you already have, or buy it new with full documentation. Don’t cut costs by buying the “minimum hardware requirements” on the software box. Crank it up a notch, and you’ll be much happier for only a few dollars more.

4) Pay Attention To Service and Support - Unless you do your own tinkering, the warranty, tech support, and return policies are not to be ignored.

5) Do It ! - The stock of refurbished computers is very limited. Even a large dealer may have only a few in stock. So don’t wait. If it does what you want, and has what you need, get it.

Can You Really Find Reliable Used PCs ?
Where they come from, and why they can be a great deal.

Rebuilt Desktops
A variety of recommended quality desktops.

What About Vista For Reconditioned Computers ?
The rush to upgrade should bring great deals your way.

Cheap Computers And Firefox: A good Fit ?
What users of small and cheap computers should consider.

How Not To Let The Best Cheap Laptop Computers Get Away
Avoid these mistakes !

Used Dell Computers
Dude, you’re getting a…  Used Dell !

Pre-owned Computer Monitors
A great way to save money.



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