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Home > Desktop Computers

Desktop Computer Deals

If you are looking for a capable computer system that doesn't cost a lot of money, then buying refurbished computers is a very smart choice. Several brand name computer manufacturers, such as Dell, Acer, and HP, have a large supply of used desktop computers that they refurbish, repackage, and resell for very low prices.

Refurbished desktop computers are a good choice for personal use by a single user. Generally, refurbished computers come equipped with whatever peripherals you might need. In most cases, these include the hard drive, CD or DVD drives, a floppy drive, a video card, an ethernet controller, and the on-board audio card.

Things To Know About Used Desktops

Certain standard computer accessories will not be a part of most Refurbished Computers. These accessories include a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. The purchaser will also be responsible for installing any necessary drivers for these accessories and any other peripherals installed on the computer.

However, the main item many consumers overlook when shopping for cheap refurbished desktops is the operating system itself. Most of the time, refurbished computers will not have an operating system (software like Windows XP or Windows Vista) included with the computer. You will need to have your own licensed operating system software if you purchase a refurbished desktop without an operating system.

A good rule of thumb is that if you are only spending between $100 and $200 on a refurbished PC, then it probably doesn't have an operating system (the description will say something like "no OS"). Used desktops that cost between $200 to $400 or more will usually have XP or Vista included. Of course, a simple check of the product listing to see what OS is pre-installed on the system is always your best bet.

Different Levels of Refurbished Desktops

Just because you are buying a refurbished computer system doesn't mean you have to sacrifice processing power. Actually, a wide variety of processor speeds are available in refurbished desktops.

The CPU (central processing unit) is the component that determines how powerful and expensive your system will be. The performance of the processor, which is measured in gigahertz (GHz), determines how quickly the computer responds to the requirements placed on it. For the most part, the higher the GHz number, the faster the processor.

The two major players in the CPU market are Intel and AMD. While each has their individual strengths and weaknesses, both offer processors with comparable levels of performance. Here's a breakdown of their offerings (updated July 16th, 2007):

  • Entry Level - AMD Sempron and Intel Celeron - These CPU chips are designed for inexpensive computers and are best suited for office applications (word processing, accounting), Internet access and light multimedia tasks (viewing video, digital photography, etc.). While you see PCs powered by these chips with the same speed rating as more expensive processors, they are missing a few features that are found in their pricier cousins. Entry level refurbished desktop PCs can cost from around $100 to $400.
  • Mid Level - AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium 4 - These chips provide a solid mix of power and affordability. They do a good job of handling more processor intensive tasks like audio/video editing and 3D imaging as well as speeding up the rest of your computing tasks. Refurbished systems with an Athlon or Pentium 4 (or P4) processor usually cost between $200 to $500.
  • Top Of The Line - AMD Athlon 64 and Intel Pentium D and Core 2 Duo - These are the fastest processors available. They're best suited for those who put a premium on multimedia performance and power-hungry applications like computer aided design. Most refurbished desktops with this level of processing power will run from about $300 to $800.

One final note: while it might be tempting to buy a PC with a 3.2 GHz processor or a Dual 2.4 Ghz processor instead of a 1.8 GHz, it's not necessarily the most economical decision. The newest processor to hit the market usually does not have enough of a performance improvement over its predecessor to justify its high price. If you are looking to get the most power for your money, then you can find a better deal by buying a couple of speeds below the leading edge.

PC Bargain Hunter also has a Buyer's Guide to buying Refurbished Computers, as well as various computer accessories, such as printers, monitors, and memory upgrades.

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