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Hi To All! When Buying A Used Computer, What Should It Have?


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#1 catzmosaic

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 10:53 AM

Thank you, moderator Gods, for continuing to save me from the clutches of PC repair shops! :thumbsup:

I'm going to buy a used computer for my youngest daughter. She uses the computer to write novels, listen to music, and play online. My computer has Win XP (Dell), and here's my questions:

What should I look for in a used computer?

What should I avoid?

If I wanted to wireless network my computer with the used one, must both have the same OS?


If there is a specific forum for my topic, please point me in that direction. I looked but I couldn't find it. :flowers:

(Moderator edit: moved post to more appropriate forum. jgweed)

Edited by jgweed, 02 May 2006 - 11:07 AM.


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#2 stevealmighty

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 12:10 PM

I'm always hessitant about buying used electronics. Just my personal opinion, though.

If all your daughter is going to do is simple tasks like using Word, browsing the internet and play music, then you might want to consider buying a new one. Don't panic! There are cheap....errrr...."inexpensive" systems out that will do what you want and not break your bank.

This one HERE is from Walmart. It's only $468, which isn't to bad for an entire system. It's a complete system, with every thing you need:Computer tower (AMD 3100+ 1.8ghz), 512 mb ram, 17 inch monitor, keyboard speakers, dvd reader....all you'll have to do is plug it in and turn the power on. The best thing is that it'll come with the manufacturers warranty (probably 1 year).....a used one won't have any warranty (unless you buy it from a store, then it might be a 30 or 60 day warranty). Chances are that you'll spend close to that on a used system.

Now, it's not the fastest thing, but for what you (or your daughter) need it'll be more than enough. Walmart has other ones too, along with SamsClub. You can browse their selections.

Hope this helps!
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#3 jgweed

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 12:32 PM

Even Best Buy has computer packages for under 400 dollars. I agree with Steve that one needs to be wary of buying used computers, since they do not generally have a warranty, and can end up costing a lot if you need to replace older hardware within a year.
Cheers,
John
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#4 catzmosaic

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 12:57 PM

If I were paying for it, yes, it would be new. But being the cruel mother that I am, the kid is paying for it. You know, it's that 'learning the value of money' thing. What do you think of the following ads- good deals or not?

Pentium 3 computer Win XP pro, office pro, Compaq Presario 3 yrs old, no monitor $110

Pentium 3 computer: Intel P III 800 Mhz cpu, 128Mb Memory 8 Gb Hard Drive, CD drive 56K modem. Boots to Win XP pro $100

Pentium 3/1.0Ghz dvd player/ cd burner 17" monitor, 20gig hd, 56K modem, mouse, kb, speakers, usb ports, win xp pro, office 2000 w/color printer $150

#5 Salo

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 01:13 PM

Well, even if she is going to be only listening to music and browsing the web. You shoul op for something a little more powerful because then she can multitask (imagining she will do so).

Normally things to look for are your average dell, or e-machines.
512 megabtes of ram, p4 2.0ghz/amd 64 2800+, 40-80 gig harddrive, and onboard video and sound.
You can pick something like that up at best buy for around 400-500 bucks. It really is pretty good, and should suit her needs fine.

#6 stevealmighty

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 01:23 PM

P

entium 3/1.0Ghz dvd player/ cd burner 17" monitor, 20gig hd, 56K modem, mouse, kb, speakers, usb ports, win xp pro, office 2000 w/color printer $150



IMHO, I'd go with the last one. Simply because it comes with a monitor, and all the other periphials that is required by a computer to operate it. Other wise, you'll have to buy it all seperatly. The one thing that I don't see on it that you'll need if you have a cable modem is a network card. You can pick one up for about $10-$30 online that installs in a PCI slot. If needed, you can remove the modem to install it. If you don't have a cable modem, and use dial up, then leave the modem in place. You could also go with a wireless network, but that'll be more expensive to start out.

I'd make them run the computer before I gave them any money for it. Look at it this way: You don't buy a car without starting it and taking it for a test drive do you? Also, make sure that it comes with a legal copy of Windows, otherwise if you ever have to reinstall it, it'll cost you about $90 for a copy of XP home edition.

My best advice is to make your daughter save up her money and get a new one from some place, either Walmart, Sams Club or Best Buy as jgweed had mentioned. This way, it's new, it's warranteed, and it won't be a waste of her hard earned money if something goes wrong with it, because it'll be warranteed.

Edited by stevealmighty, 02 May 2006 - 01:24 PM.

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#7 catzmosaic

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 01:44 PM

Thanks for all your help. I will pass the advice on to my daughter about having a little patience and saving further to buy a new one. Being that she's 11, I don't see THAT happening :thumbsup:

Thanks again!

#8 jgweed

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 02:47 PM

You might tell her that a used computer may do for a few months, but she will end up wanting something better in no time, but then not have the money for it.
The third choice seems the best, everything else given its due, since it has a printer and more than the other's hard drive space. She will want to store all those chapters she is writing, not to mention music and whatnot. The second is attempting to run XP on the very minimum RAM and will leave little memory for even Word to run smoothly, and an 8GB hard drive just doesn't hold much. The first comes without a monitor, even though you can usually pick up a used one for around 25 dollars; without it's specs, it doesn't seem a good deal.

Cheers,
John
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#9 Qas

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 02:54 PM

a new computer does not cost alot just get a low end model from dell for about 200 - 300.

#10 catzmosaic

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 04:59 PM

I will give her all of your advice. Actually, I'll let her read all the posts in this thread. Then she'll know the advice isn't coming from me and, therefore, listen to it! :thumbsup:

Thanks again, I do appreciate it!

#11 stevealmighty

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:01 PM

I will give her all of your advice. Actually, I'll let her read all the posts in this thread. Then she'll know the advice isn't coming from me and, therefore, listen to it! :thumbsup:

Thanks again, I do appreciate it!



Well, as a source of encouragment for her.....

My son started saving his money for a computer when he was 11. He saved for about 6 months (maybe a little more...he had christmas and a birthday in there which helped too). He saved up enough money for computer parts so that I could build him a computer. He saved more than you'll need to save up, so it might not take you as long.

Long story short: He now has a nice new computer that's all his. All of his friends are jealous. Even the snotty rich kids who have a fancy over priced Dell, which pales in comparison to my sons computer (specially the price tag :flowers: ).

Save your money, and get the new computer. It'll be well worth it in the long run!!!!!
War produces veterans, wounded both physically and mentally. They have sacrificed for us.....and it is now our job to help these veterans, as they have already helped us in ways we will never know, in ways that we cannot fathom, and in ways that we take granted every day.
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#12 WereBo

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:34 PM

Allo Catzmosaic :thumbsup: ,

To answer 1 by 1... If going the 'used' route, as Steve mentioned, make sure you get ALL the PC disks with it. The OS Install/Restore disks, Drivers for sound/graphics cards, any other peripherals with it etc... Check that all bits are working, scanner, printer, sound & speakers etc....

Things to avoid. Hmmmm... If possible, take a peek inside the case. Is it full of dust bunnies?? It might be running hot if full of dust. A very simple test is to have the PC running for approx 10 minutes then gently place a fingertip on the metal vanes on the CPU heatsink. If it makes you say OUCH!!!, the PC is running hot and may well be expiring in a short while....

A wireless NIC can work with any OS, but it's easier to get working with WinXP rather than Win98...

1 tip I would suggest is as soon as you get your PC home, format the drive(s) and re-install Windows from fresh. You don't know who had the PC before or what they had stored on it or what spyware/viruses were living on it...

Otherwise, whatever PC's you see advertised, a minimum of 512MB RAM and a minimum 1Gh CPU will be good for writing and music. Online gaming will be better for a higher speed CPU, but should run lots of games ok.

Hard drive storage?? Music MP3's take approx 1MB per minute of audio at a decent quality (128kbps) so a 30Gb drive should get her going nicely... If possible partition the drive to give about 10-15Gb to the C: drive for Windows and software, and the rest of the drive for storing her writing and music.

I hope this helps a bit :flowers: ...

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#13 BlackSpyder

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 09:50 PM

Basic things I look for when I buy a used PC (which is fairly often) or sell one to a friend.

1) No hard drive (Never incurr the wrath of someone elses problems)
2) Onboard video and sound (cards are also good) just make sure they are fairly recent.
3)Monitor/Keyboard/Mouse included. (Just cheaper that way)
4)Fairly new processor (Late P3 Early P4 or = AMD, are usually cheap and fairly reliable)

A few things that trump these thoughts:

1)Buying from a respected repair shop (Where Ive bought many of my used computers)
2)known good computer (Friend or relatives)

As for the wireless networking many local wireless networks use Server 2k still here and my sister can access their networks with her XP Pro/ Home computer.

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#14 catzmosaic

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 05:45 PM

Wow! Thanks everyone! I have, at least, convinced her that it would be wise not to rush into anything. (Okay, it wasn't ME that convinced her, it was all of your advice :thumbsup: )




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