By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO
Happy New Year! Used computers are a great way to economically update your home computers. Many of these used computers are from the corporate world where computers are depreciated and then replaced with new models.
Regardless of the computer, specifications matter. For instance, 4 GB of RAM is not enough to run Windows long term. Today, I recommend 16 GB RAM, at least 256 GB of storage and an i5 or higher processor to run Windows 10.
Chromebooks have lesser requirements due to a lighter operating system, however, I recommend 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage and a i3 processor for long term use. I was amazed to find a used i7 Google Pixelbook for under $250: https://a.co/d/9micrCf Unfortunately, Google no longer makes the Pixelbook.
For tablets I recommend at least 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. I was recently told a sad story about someone who bought a used iPad. iPads are not upgradable in any way. The used iPad had only 16 GB of storage, but the upgraded operating system took up most of the storage with no extra apps installed. This rendered the iPad unusable as it slowed to a crawl during use.
Microsoft is requiring a TPM security chip in order to run Windows 11. TPM chips were not installed on older computers until around the 8th generation of processors – about seven years ago. Microsoft’s requirement will force users to upgrade to new computers with old computers being discarded to landfills, unless…
Linux to the Rescue
Linux is inherently more secure than Windows and will run perfectly on older computers without a TPM chip. My personal favorite distribution is Linux Mint Cinnamon. Linux Mint also comes in XFCE and Mate desktop versions for computers with lesser specifications. All Linux Mint versions have a similar look and feel, very much like Windows 7 – IMHO Microsoft’s most usable version to date.
Refurbishers specialize in taking old computers from the corporate world, fixing and rating them on cosmetic damage, and reselling them to the public. Profit margins can be pretty thin in this business. Currently most of these old computers are being sold with Windows 10, but in October of this year Windows 10 will no longer be supported and Windows 12 will most likely be released by Microsoft – again with the TPM requirement. The value of older computers will plummet even further – and those consumers wishing to run Windows 11 or 12 will be out of luck. Some sort of Linux version is the only resort for these TPM-less computers, including…
Google has released a linux version that is basically ChromeOS for PCs. Chromebook users will enjoy the operating system on a laptop or desktop computer. Many older computers are supported. Unfortunately, Flex does not support any Android Apps.
Where to Buy
Used computers can be purchased for less than half the original price. Let’s face it, if you open a brand new computer and use it for a while – it’s now a used computer. Let’s look at PCLiquidations. At this website you can purchase laptops, desktops, monitors and business phones. There’s even a section for Windows 11 compatible systems. All computers are fully functional and rated from A to C in cosmetic damage. A-rated systems are like new and more expensive. For instance, purchase a Dell Latitude 7390 13.3” Laptop which originally sold for $1149 for $254.
Amazon is another source of used computers, but pay attention to reviews. Some sellers don’t actually refurbish the computers – they just repackage them for resale. Refurbishing requires a complete cleaning and examination of the computer followed by testing to make sure it works well.
Finally, eBay is kind of the wild, wild west of used computer purchasing. You can find some great deals, but pay attention to the specs and pictures of the computer. Also check out the seller ratings and reviews. Unbelievably low prices means the computer is not working or missing parts. Some sellers are to be avoided because they have low prices, but unreasonably high shipping costs.
With an average new computer selling for over $500, it’s not necessary to pay full prices for a computer. Buying used from a reputable dealer can save a lot of money, just make sure your “new to you” computer meets your specifications.