Is buying used refurb PC a good idea?


#1

I need a PC for some trying out new software and would like a desktop (or tower they call it). I will need to add a HDD so I need a bay available and the excess power from the PSU to run the disk drive. And I would like a slot for a wireless network card: Not a must but would be very nice.

These offlease America deported computers are shipped here and I assume some of them get damaged - or are they already refurbished?

These computers are not very expensive, looking at max of Rs 15,000. But the computer will be end of life, can the mainboard/processor be upgraded or is the case a throwaway? Looking at a core2 or better. I don't need it to game or mint bytecoins but I would rather not wait 5 minutes for the mouse pointer to move.

Is this type of computer a bargain or for suckers?


#2

Are those with some short time warranty like 6 months? if not then those are not refurbs. but either way they are not bad at all. if they work then they work if they don't, you'll probably know within 3 days or at the spot of buying. just make sure not to buy the HDD that comes with it.

BTW care to share detailed specs and brand of the PC on which you have your eyes on?


#3

if you are buying refurbished computer go for branded one's from HP or Dell.


#4

^ Branded PCs are good, but upgrade in terms of board/ processor is usually not possible.


#5

Branded Dell/HP systems are the way to go. But remember, Now adays PC upgrade thingy has been completely obsolete. You will need to replace the whole CPU later.


#6

^ How ?


#7

[quote=“farhan_ds, post:6, topic:21483”]

^ How ?

[/quote]

this..


#8

[quote=“Faisal, post:2, topic:21483”]

Are those with some short time warranty like 6 months? if not then those are not refurbs. but either way they are not bad at all. if they work then they work if they don't, you'll probably know within 3 days or at the spot of buying. just make sure not to buy the HDD that comes with it.

BTW care to share detailed specs and brand of the PC on which you have your eyes on?

[/quote]

Checked a couple of places, one of them had 2 week checking warranty. Other has basically none.

Dell 755 Tower, Intel Quad Core 2.4Ghz, 2GB ram, DVD/RW, HDD varied - I could use the original HDD for an OS drive and install a second drive for data. What worries me is the power supply is 300W. This costs around Rs.13 to 14000.

I suppose I could go with a core2duo e.g. a slim Dell tower is listed for ~Rs.9000. I have noticed Czone is more expensive but visiting Techno for this may not be worth it. Plan to run 2 to 3 VMs.

These PCs are probably from 2007 or 2008. Am I wrong to assume they

1. support sata?

2. 8GB ram?

3. have a bay for additional HDD?

4. Have a PCI slot for wireless NIC (assuming I can find used PCI w-nic)?

Is it even worth buying a new UPS for this?


#9

Personally I prefer IBM/Lenovo over Dell, HP machines. Just trouble free IMO but I guess you can buy any brand among these cause you'll only find from these brands here.

If you're not planning to go for discrete mid to high level GPU then a 300-watt PSU is more then enough and I am sure those chines made PSUs (but A grade quality) in those branded machines can even handle beginner to early mid level GPUs fairly easily. That Dell Quad-core system sound promising (its a a shame systems with nearing 3GHz or over Quad-cores and their extreme variants are not available easily here... they surely can still compete with most i-series processors of now days). Al thought the asking price is bit high though. Should be not more then 12K at most for those specs.

Yes these PCs are from 07 and/or 08... they simply get outdated/out of warranty and gets dumped here in fairly excellent conditions (most of em but that is not say you don't have to make sure).

For VMs, I guess Quad-core system should be good I guess...(never been into Virtual Machines to be honest). But C2D nearing 3GHz or over with 4Gig ram should be able to do the same also.

Personally, I have IBM/Lenovo 3.16GHz C2D E8400S, 6Gig Ram with Q45 chipset for a year now with no discrete GPU... and ~30GB remuxes runs just fine bought in 14K last without HDD (replaced 250GB HDD with 2gig ram making it 6gig while buying). Totally satisfied with it.

and..

1. Yes they support sata

2. 8 and in some cases, 16GB depending on the chip-set (mine does 16gig being q45)

3. For that, you need to buy tower cased (they usually come in Mini and micro-ATX casing, go for the mini or larger so can fit in two or probably more HDDs). Don't buy desktop cased. they don't have room at all for a second HDD plus you won't be able fit in standard size discrete GPU or any other standard size PCI/PCIe peripheral of any sort for that matter i.e NICs with standard mounting bracket (al thought some cards (GPU/NIC) are avaible in the market with mini-brackets to counter this)

4. Chances are pretty strong that they must have at least 2 PCI slots. Mine has 2 PCI slots and I sometimes use the wireless PCI NIC on it... even if somehow the one you buy doesn't have a PCI slot, PCIe slot with a PCIe NIC can be your equal alternative.

Hooking them up with UPS totally depends upon your needs. I have mine on UPS and the machine consumes just 90-watts. and as per my experience with IBM systems, they can or rather their PSUs can handle power outages very well. they protect themselves and rest of the hardware 99.99% of the time.

I suggest you go to the market to browse for systems but don't forget to note the serial/model number of the ones you like... and then check for detailed original specs of said model before buying or you can ask for further suggestions here if needed.

Hope this helps :)


#10

[quote=“farhan_ds, post:6, topic:21483”]

^ How ?

[/quote]

Generally Speaking, I was referring to upgrade from Core2duo to Corei3/i5/i7 and from DDR2, to DDR3/4 etc. There are a lot of CPU socket revisions has been made since last few generations of systems, That is why the upgrade does not worth any more. Most people just sell the bare bone system and grab another one which is another thing.

The upgrade can only be done for RAM/HDD/GPU etc, but you will be remain in a same league.

OP just need a low end core 2 duo with 2GB of RAM for everyday tasks.


#11

Thanks for the detailed info. I haven't seen the IBM/Lenovo much in the used/branded marketplace. I guess I need to visit Techno after all. Someone told me Naz plaza is also worthwhile. Is there a shop you can recommend (assuming you are in Karachi)?

@Faisal did the system you bought come with the GPU for under Rs14K? I assume you had them put in 3x2GB sticks or did the original configuration already have 2x2GB RAM (instead of 4x1GB)? Incidentally, I have a 100GB IDE drive. I wonder if I can use that?

I am guessing most of these 2007/2008 era PCs take DDR2. I was told there is used memory and also “repaired” dimms! How do I guard myself against repaired memory?


#12

I live in rawalpindi so I can't help you with the shops in karachi ans since now I know you're karachi based then the price of that Quad-core system should even less then 12K ... you know, karachi also being a port as well... things get more expensive while reaching RWP from KHI ... percentage wise the difference should be almost 30%... . and No, my PC didn't come with discrete GPU but the usual on borad GPU which is only okay for normal stuff (can't play games or other graphic intensive apps). and Yes, the orignal config was 2x2GB (from IBM and from the shopkeeper) and I asked the shopkeeper to replace the price of HDD with another 2gig module on the spot. I am not sure about IDE as IDE started to discontinue on mobos specially from the OEMs around 07 and 08. Mine doesn't have IDE nor the floppy. so chances are you won't be able to use your IDE drive unless you buy a system manufactured before 06. it basically depends upon the MOBO/chipset. And same does with data rate of the RAM. the RAMS in my PC are DDR3.

to be honest, you shouldn't bother with repaired RAM, if it was repaired correctly, it will work just fine. Even a partially damaged RAM without repairing can still work in some cases. for example 1GB module with damaged chip or broken data lane can still work without repairing but it may show up in BIOS or in OS as 896MB if one of its chip (considering that chip = 128MB) is damaged or it might show up few MB less then 1024MB if one or more of its data lanes are damaged. if the RAM is totally eff-ed up then the system won't start at all if it has only one RAM module installed or won't show up in BIOS and in OS if two or more installed.

OEMs usually use RAMs from, hynix, hundai, samsung (not kingston, corsair etc). and those are very good RAMs... if your desired system already has RAMs from those manufacturers .... then its all good. if not then you can ask the shopkeeper to give you from those (don't pay extra though cause prices are same for used RAMs regardless of manufacturers).

I will suggest again that you go out in the market, take your time searching for your desired specs PCs... but buy it yet. just note down the model numbers (Mind you that "Dell 755 tower OR Dell n5110" are NOT a model numbers... search the net using respective OEMs website for detailed spec for that exact system and the original configuration. it will tell just about everything you need to know about that system. Or I can do that for you but I will still need the exact model number.

here's an example on how to look for model numbers on the stickers pasted mostly at the bottom of the casing or on the back or the sides...

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=computer+model+number+sticker&qs=n&form=QBIR&pq=computer+model+number+sticker&sc=0-0&sp=-1&sk=


#13

[quote=“Wire, post:11, topic:21483”]

Thanks for the detailed info. I haven't seen the IBM/Lenovo much in the used/branded marketplace. I guess I need to visit Techno after all. Someone told me Naz plaza is also worthwhile. Is there a shop you can recommend (assuming you are in Karachi)? @Faisal did the system you bought come with the GPU for under Rs14K? I assume you had them put in 3x2GB sticks or did the original configuration already have 2x2GB RAM (instead of 4x1GB)? Incidentally, I have a 100GB IDE drive. I wonder if I can use that? I am guessing most of these 2007/2008 era PCs take DDR2. I was told there is used memory and also "repaired" dimms! How do I guard myself against repaired memory?

[/quote]

Technocity is only good for used Laptops. I will recommend Regal Saddar computer market for branded System. You can get a decent CPU with DDR3 Ram at a bargain price. You will also get a 7 days checking warranty for sure. For IDE option just find a motherboard that supports it.

Get a single 4GB ram, but shopkeepers always try to sell multiple rams instead of one.


#14

[quote=“makhan, post:13, topic:21483”]

Get a single 4GB ram, but shopkeepers always try to sell multiple rams instead of one.

[/quote]

I won't recommend that. Simply because of "never put all of your eggs in one basket".


#15

[quote=“Faisal, post:14, topic:21483”]

I won't recommend that. Simply because of "never put all of your eggs in one basket".

[/quote]

I will not deny the quote; but this does not fit it in this case. Getting a single 4 GB Ram instead of 2x2GB does not harm.

You can also suggest 4x 1gb ram, I don't care. :P


#16

4GB single ram is cheaper and better, as it leaves more slots for future upgrades, you can add another single 4 gb to make 8GB which is becoming quite a norm in modern software thesedays..

2GB x2 will leave lesser slots for upgrade.. also sometimes companies use cheaper Mobos which may only have 2 slots / sluts..


#17

I agree with you guys from the price point view & having room for more. But how much RAM is enough? Nobody can answer that or specify a number since quantity of RAM depends upon what you're going use it for. same is the case with processors among other things when it comes to computing of any sort.

So I guess Wire will decide how much RAM he needs, how much room he will have on the mobo, and depending on that he'll go with either 2x2 or 4x1 or 1x4 gigs or whatever cause he knows what's he going to do with it.

I have 6gigs of RAM (2x3 gigs). I knew then it was an over kill for my use and now it proven cause the major bottle-neck in my PC is the processor itself despite a C2D 3.16ghz E8500S with max 65 watt TDP. Cause its a low energy consumption variant of the original C2D 3.16ghz E8500 which has max 95 watt TDP. I have never seen my PC hitting 4gig mark in RAM consumption. it never goes over 2 or 2.5gigs. But if one of dimms die for some reasons, I will still be okay without doing anything... so that's that.


#18

^ You and your PC both have twisted Circuitry. :P


#19

@makhan thanks for the info, I have been looking for info on what shops to check, but it seems I will have to find time for "market walk".

The mention of 2007/2008 Lenovo interests me because this is before the switchover from IBM was complete. I would like to do this asap but the bottleneck is Wire, who needs to go computer hunting. As for RAM, I need to run a VM with Win2008 Server. I don't know anything about VMs or core management, I do know for most current work oriented applications on laptops, 8MB is recommended as a minimum. My guess is 2x2GB is good. There is a limit to what a board will take and there is a limit to the OS.

Theoretically, e.g., XP takes a maximum of 4GB, and Windows 64-bit OS will take 128GB. But will 32-bit programs running on a 64 bit OS benefit from memory over 4GB? I don't know.

M$ declares a limit of 24GB or maybe 32GB for some of its server side applications. But experts claim they install and access far more than that on their servers. This stuff is way over my head. Basically I need a cheapish computer which won't choke on its own vomit running a memory intensive application on a server in a VM. My guesses: more cores is better - 2 may be enough, more memory is better - 4GB may be enough.


#20

6GB should be trouble free in give or take 1.5K to makes things certain or perhaps could refer to RAM requirements of your intended OS & App as well as their architecture.

and the said RAM limitation is for the OS not the apps unless otherwise specified. So yes, 32-bit programs running on a 64 bit OS should benefit from memory over 4GB which IMO, will not likely come to pass since a 32 bit app is already written keeping in mind the RAM limitations of a 32 bit client windows OS. and this RAM limitation (or 3GB Barrier) is not true for some windows server based 32 bit OS.

Do I have to remind you again to go the market & just get a model and single machine if not more...? :unsure: or simply get a 64 bit machine if you can to never have worry about all this...