Why Buy Used?
Computers are like cars – as soon as they’re sold, they immediately lose value. Computer technology improves at a rapid pace, and computers from last year aren’t worth half of what they cost twelve months ago. However, many people keep using the same computers year after year. Why? Most computers offer sufficient power and speed for at least four years. Anyone can easily save half off of the cost of a new computer simply by using last year’s tech.
eBay is full of computer stores that specialize in selling everything from customized desktop computers and components to software and accessories. The used market also serves an important role in providing replacement parts for discontinued computer models. Once a retailer runs out of replacement motherboards, video cards, processors, or power supplies, the only way to get a broken computer up and running is to buy a used replacement.
Many people are choosing laptops over desktops, but desktops still enjoy significant popularity due to the extra power they offer over mobile devices. With nearly 100 refurbished computers, e-CyclePro Ultimate has something for everybody.
e-CyclePro Ultimate includes workstations, home theater PCs, and even mid-range gaming computers. Most of the current stock includes Core 2 Duo processors, integrated or low-end video cards, and plenty of memory. Many of the computers still have Windows XP for those who don’t wish to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8, and the computer packages also include monitors and other accessories. When e-CyclePro offers complete systems for under $100 and retail stores sell new computers for $1,000, nobody can afford to pass up these deals.
Laptops trade computing power for portability. They tend to be a bit slower with less hard drive capacity and screen space, but they only weigh a few pounds and can easily slip into a briefcase or backpack. VertexPC has a substantial collection of used and refurbished laptops ranging from state of the art Intel Core i7 models with hybrid graphics to basic Intel Core Solo notebooks with integrated graphics.
Unfortunately, laptops aren’t as versatile as desktops. If a component breaks, it’s much harder to replace, and many laptop manufacturers use proprietary form factors instead of industry standards. Over a period of years, laptop batteries also lose their ability to hold a charge, but new lithium ion batteries have improved lifespans.
Buying individual components instead of whole computers will generate significant savings over the life of a single computer. Computer Wholesalers Inc. is a good place to start with software, open box items, and computer accessories. The store also sells a few desktop, laptop, and tablet computers at reduced prices.
Individual components can run into all sorts of compatibility issues, which is why certain processors will only work on select motherboards and computers will only accept one type of RAM.
The motherboard is the heart and soul of any computer. It connects the processor, memory, data storage, video adapter, optical drives, and any other cards into one cohesive unit. Each computer component adheres to one of multiple standards, so always check for motherboard compatibility before purchasing new components.
With so many individual parts, motherboards also tend to break more often than processors or RAM. In the event of a broken motherboard, a computer will require a motherboard with identical standards, or the old processor and memory will no longer be compatible with the system. IT Equipment Express specializes in discontinued computer parts with thousands of older motherboards, screens, keyboards, and touch pads to keep notebooks up and running.
The single most important standard for any motherboard is its CPU socket type, which determines what brand and model of CPU the motherboard will accept. Most modern Intel processors use the LGA 1155 socket while AMD processors typically use the AM3, AM3+, FM1, or FM2 socket types.
After choosing a motherboard, determine compatible types of RAM and add-on cards. Most hard drives and optical drives use a standard SATA connection, which shouldn’t cause any issues. However, some motherboards are very particular about which DDR3 RAM speeds they accept.
As the second most common component to break, power supplies deliver electricity to the entire computer. While most will last for years, some power supplies break down because their fans malfunction, causing them to overheat.
Most custom computer manufacturers use standard ATX power supplies, but Dell, HP, and other big manufacturers often use proprietary power supplies that are only compatible with their computers. If their power supplies break, they must be replaced with identical models.
Recycled Goods provides dozens of used power supplies from Dell, HP, Gateway, and IBM as well as standard ATX power supplies. In addition, Recycled Goods offers a selection of video cards, processors, motherboards, memory, and whole computers.
The truth of the matter is that any modern CPU will be more than fast enough for the average user. Hardcore gamers and image editing professionals will want faster processors, but even mid-range CPUs like the AMD FX-8350 or Intel i7-2600K should prove adequate most uses. Beyond those processors, even slight speed gains carry a hefty price tag.
Kevin’s Used Computer carries a wide selection of Core 2 Duo processors, which still hold their own several years after they were first introduced.
Random-access memory stores data temporarily unlike hard drives, which store data indefinitely. For the most part, computers use RAM to help run operating system processes and open programs.
Current Intel and AMD computers typically use at least 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. With dozens of RAM types, speeds, and voltages, check the motherboard’s manual to confirm compatibility. While 4 GB is sufficient as a minimum, most users opt for a more comfortable 8 GB. On the other hand, few people will sufficiently utilize 16 GB or more. For computers that just don’t run as smoothly anymore, check out Memory Upgrade Online’s inventory of DDR2 modules.
32-bit vs. 64-bit Operating Systems
Starting with Windows XP, operating systems now come in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Both cost the same, but 32-bit versions of Windows only support a maximum of 4 GB of RAM while 64-bit versions support at least 8 GB of RAM. Windows 7 Home Premium supports up to 16 GB of RAM, which is more than sufficient for most computers. Beyond memory support, 64-bit operating systems tend to feature improved security and stability. Because of the way that Microsoft licenses copies of Windows, the only way to buy a used copy of Windows is to purchase a pre-owned computer.
Even as cloud computing and storage take off, hard drives remain important to store files and programs locally. Hard disk drives, or HDDs, store data with very precise magnets reading and writing data on a disk. Because of their storage capacity and cost, HDDs were the dominant form of data storage for many decades.
In the past few years, solid state drives, or SSDs, have risen in popularity due to their superior read and write speeds. While SSDs cap out at 1 TB of capacity compared to 4 TB for traditional HDDs, SSDs enjoy speeds several magnitudes faster. They also consume less power – a huge benefit to mobile devices. However, it will be several years before SSDs drop in price to match HDDs. In the meantime, HDD Supplier offers heavily discounted hard drives from 250 GB to 2 TB of capacity.
Video cards compute how images are displayed on a monitor. Discrete graphics cards by Nvidia and AMD aren’t just for hardcore PC gamers, and they can improve everything from movie playback to image editing. In many ways, graphics cards crunch numbers faster than CPUs because they’re more specialized. They’re so much faster at some calculations that the popular [email protected] distributed computing project, which simulates protein folding for medical research, largely relies on discrete graphics cards.
However, discrete video cards are unnecessary as long as the motherboard has an integrated display adapter such as Intel’s GMA X4500. To verify that a motherboard has an integrated video chipset, check the model’s spec sheet. A quick visual inspection will also determine if the motherboard has HDMI, VGA, or DVI ports. While integrated graphics have improved over the past ten years, they still lag behind their discrete counterparts.
Discrete graphics cards plug into the motherboard via a PCI Express 2.0 or 3.0 port, and many PCI Express 3.0 ports are backwards compatible. Home theater PCs only require a low- or mid-range card for HD video playback, but gamers will want to pick up a faster card to boost frame rates and graphical fidelity. For the best experience, choose video cards from the Radeon HD 5xxx or Nvidia 500 series or newer.
TFB Computing Inc. provides technology and recycling disposal services, and the store has hundreds of functioning video cards like a PCI GeForce 5200 and AGP Matrox Parhelia that were salvaged from old computers. In addition, the store also has a sizable collection of newer PCI Express cards like the GeForce 8600 GT and Radeon 2400.
Often overlooked until the last second, monitors offer larger screens for less money than ever before. LCD screens have enjoyed a 10 year run, but LED monitors are quickly catching up in size and cost. LED monitors actually use LCD screens, but they replace the CFL back-lighting with LEDs, and they consume less power, deliver deeper blacks, and weigh less – and can be used for all purposes whether you are watching movies or building a custom website design. Browse Erecycle Online’s selection of nearly 200 LCD monitors to pick out a used monitor that costs a fraction of the price of a new one.
As the easiest parts of any computer to replace, input devices like keyboards and mice are plentiful and inexpensive. There are plenty of cheap new models available, but many people prefer discontinued items like Logitech’s MX518 mouse. Recycled Goods includes a wide selection of PS2, USB, and wireless keyboards and mice that simply aren’t available any longer.
Article by Jet Russell. Jet is a freelance writer and does outreach for a Internet marketing company. In his spare time he enjoys guest blogging on the topic of computers and search engine optimization.