Cheap refurbished computers are an excellent option if you need a desktop PC for your home or office.
Although it does not have the most cutting-edge features, but does ensure good performance at an excellent price, and even a small size so you can put it anywhere.
A refurbished computer is, without a doubt, the perfect complement to your laptop or game console: you’ll have a PC to dedicate to work and important things.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to get the best refurbished PC possible, so don’t hesitate and stick around. Let’s go there!
What is Refurbished Computer?
A refurbished computer is one that is used (so second-hand) and has been refurbished and serviced, usually by a professional company.
This means that all necessary components are cleaned, renewed, improved and even replaced if needed, and an additional Warranty is provided to the buyer, usually 6 months, 1 year or 2 years.
The good thing about refurbished computers is just that the warranty gives us peace of mind that the second-hand product we buy is at least capable of operating for that period. If we buy an old second-hand computer, the Warrantees are rather few.
In addition, as we say, they are specifically prepared to receive a second life. The two most important updates are, without a doubt:
- A new storage unit. This is something that simply makes the computer infinitely more comfortable and fluid, if you change a HDD for an SSD. We’ll soon see why.
- It arrives clean and prepared. Normally with a freshly installed operating system, free of dust inside, and almost as if it is
We have three things left to analyze to fully understand what a refurbished computer is. Where do they come from? How much they cost? What’s negative about them?
In most cases, refurbished computers come from offices. Companies buy large quantities of the same PC for their office, and as per companies Policy after a fixed number of years they renew them for new computers.
All these PCs are not going to waste, but are sold at very succulent prices to specialized companies to refurbish them.
Let’s keep in mind that, normally, these PCs have very little use, they are turned on for many hours a day but with a super “light” use.
Regarding the cost, the truth is that we can find reconditioned computers from just over 100 Dollars. The “ideal point” of price is perhaps $200, where we find very good PCs for normal use.
The big negative point is the obvious one, we are not going to have new components, and we are not going to have their guarantee for their performance.
Instead, we will use processors that are up to 10 years old. As we shall see, it may be more than enough. How to correctly choose refurbished computers according to their characteristics.
Features of Refurbished Computers
Now that we have known everything important about what refurbished computers are, we are going to go into the technical characteristics that they usually have so that you can choose one wisely.
Processor and RAM
For pure statistics, most refurbished computers have an Intel processor, so we are going to focus on the nomenclature of their processors. It is not enough to see that it is an i3, i5 or i7, but you have to see the exact CPU model.
After the mark (i3, i5, i7, i9), comes a number that indicates the generation of the processor. In reconditioned computers, the most normal thing is that we find from 3 to 10, taking into account that at the time of writing this article we are going for the 12th / 13th. Interpret it like this:
- If it is 3rd generation, it already seems to us to be a somewhat old CPU.
- The 4th generation is fine if the price goes along (less than $200)
- From there we jump to the 6th generation, which is where the interesting CPUs start, because they use DDR4 memories. The 7th has hardly any improvements.
- Starting with the 8th generation, the performance and the number of cores are significantly increased.
In order not to get too involved, we are going to focus only on the family of processors and the generation. In general, we recommend a 4th generation Intel Core i5 or better.
As we speak of basic use, from the 8th generation an i3 can be more than enough, since it has the same number of cores as the i5 of previous generations.
And what about RAM memory? The more programs we have, more we can easily open them and that’s makes the big difference.
In general, 8GB is more than enough for basic use, but if you want to use some minimally demanding program (or you tend to have many windows open in the browser) then go for a 16GB one.
Normally, these computers allow you to update the RAM, but surely if all the slots are occupied, so improving it would be a hassle.
Storage: SSD Always
Let’s go with a point that is simply fundamental. Refurbished computers, as they usually are prior to 2016-2018, typically came with a mechanical hard drive or HDD as the primary storage unit.
The HDD is responsible for slowness, lack of fluidity and almost all the frustrations of using a computer.
The mechanical disks are very slow, they cause the system to take time to turn on, the programs too, and they slow down all the actions of our computer.
Fortunately, Solid State Drives or SSDs are here to save us. Refurbished PC companies know that people want SSDs, because whoever tries one can’t go back, and that’s why they usually put an SSD in them.
It’s easy: don’t buy a refurbished PC that says it has an HDD. If it’s a real bargain, you can buy it, but swap the original hard drive for an SSD, they cost little ($30 for 240GB, $45 for 480GB) and the difference they make is massive. 240GB is plenty of capacity, if you need more then buys an external hard drive instead.
Form Factor, Warranty and other Features
Refurbished computers come in a wide variety of tower sizes, but they are usually smaller than a normal tower.
There are some that are great, but there are usually very few options: small PCs sell very well in offices, and then they are much easier to ship.
In general, we distinguish these 4 sizes that we can identify intuitively, comparing (for example) the size of the USB ports with those of the rest of the tower:
- Normal size tower.
- Tower of equal height but narrower.
- The most common type, which would also be lower.
- Finally, really small computers, something very comfortable and manageable and that also looks pretty.
Choose the size you like best! Apart from that, we must take into account the warrantee provided by the store that sells the computer: not only the warrantee period but also the conditions, and the state in which they promise that the equipment will arrive.
Also take into account all the features that may be necessary for you, such as the number of ports, what is included or check the exact measurements of the equipment.
Remember that if you don’t have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and you need it, you can just buy a cheap USB adapter:
Refurbished Computer as a Gaming PC
Many consider buying a refurbished computer to turn it into a gaming PC, taking into account that they do not usually have a dedicated graphics card.
It would be the only thing that would be missing. This is something that can be viable, but usually not. Given this, several considerations:
- It should be a large form factor computer, to fit a graphics card.
- There may be non-standard components that simply prevent you from mounting the graphics card. For example, the motherboard, the chassis itself, etc, this would lead you to have to change some components.
- Avoiding the CPU and GPU bottle neck is difficult with an old processor.
- Finally, these PCs usually come with power supplies with very little power, which would require buying a new one.
In general, it is a hassle that is solved with a cheap gaming PC or even a new generation console.
In addition, games usually benefit a lot from new processors, something that does not happen so much with normal use, where it does not matter.
Zahid Khan Jadoon is an Interior Decorator, Designer and a specialized Chef and loves to write about home appliances and food. Right now he is running his interior designing business along with a managing a restaurant. Also in his spare time he loves to write about home and kitchen appliances.