Author Topic: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?  (Read 104 times)

The Gorn

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Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« on: June 18, 2018, 06:11:26 pm »
My wife's 2012 vintage Windows 7 Dell Vostro PC fried this last weekend. Mainly it's for Facebook, occasional Word/writing, and email.

So she needs a new computer. (I'll start a second thread about the fried PC. It's a peculiar situation I have never seen before.)

What experience do any of you have with refurbished PCs with Windows pre-loaded?

She's open to Windows 10 and I think that would be a good move to have one current OS in the house.

We went out this weekend and actually bought a refurb at a Micro Center.

But I am returning the SOB tomorrow because I am not happy that the machine's reported specs when started do not match the stated sales specs.

This unit: http://www.microcenter.com/product/480243/8300_Desktop_Computer_Off_Lease_Refurbished

(Set your store to Sharonville, Ohio if it doesn't show inventory or the device.)

The system WE received, when booted, showed a 160 GB hard drive (confirmed as a WD model starting with WD1600... that is only 158,000,000,000 bytes)
and only 4 GB of ram.

The box was supposed to have 8 GB ram and 500 GB hard drive.  Curiously the box the PC was packaged in from the refurb place showed 8GB and 500GB. Apparently the refurb place is either bait-and-switching or made an honest and sloppy mistake.

Out of curiosity I went on Amazon and found multiple marketplace deals from certified refurb places for the same configuration and model of PC but with a 1 or 2 TB drive, for $185. About 45 less for the same or more system. We can certainly wait 2 days for shipping.

I'm pissed with Micro Center over this and they will have to earn my business back.

Can someone advise if a refurb is a good proposition for a light home user who would prefer to keep the computer for at least 5 years? I know that I can't even buy a bare hard drive, mobo, and CPU for this price much less a copy of Windows 10. New is out of the question for her use and our budget. I'm having to replace a lot of electronic shit in our house at the same time and I want to put as little as I can into this.

These are off-lease machines leased by businesses. I noticed at a doctor's office today that the nurse had exactly the same low-profile PC on the floor under the desk that this thing is. They must be sold or leased by the millions.

So, can we buy a refurbished PC with confidence that it will last at least 3+ years? At this price level I expect some "Kleenex" like dynamics  but if it lasts longer, great.

Thanks.
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The Gorn

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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 08:42:09 pm »
No need to go into warranty standards for refurbs, or the issues of how the OS powers up. I just watched a video of a guy showing how to make certain that the system is running a "factory sealed" install of Windows 10 rather than inheriting an unknown-quality existing install has been set up for "Preferred Customer". I also know that warranties are much shorter on average and we'll need to buy SquareTrade or something for coverage.
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pxsant

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2018, 12:47:52 am »
All I usually buy are refurbs, whether desktops or laptops.   I have had good experiences with all of them.

My opinion on Windows 10, however, is different.   It is an absolute piece of trash IMO.   Much slower than Windows 7.   Lots of luck trying to turn off updates.   I have tried everything I can including You/tube videos and MS still does forced updates whether you have them turned off or not.   The machine in question is a Dell laptop purchased new.   It should be the fastest machine I have but it is dog slow because of all the crap going on under the covers with Windows 10.   I am seriously thinking of blowing everything away and installing Windows 7.

The Gorn

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2018, 06:27:15 am »
Only problem is, windows 7 is almost EOL. I want a bit of future proofing.


Thanks for your experiences.
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benali72

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2018, 08:07:20 pm »
I've had 2 friends buy refurbs off Amazon. Great computers for the price. But some things to consider --

1- Sometimes the cases will exhibit minor wear, scratches, etc.  No concern for most people. But a few will prefer a new looking machine
2- Don't run Win 10 on them. 
    A- Dual core boxes won't be fast enough for Win 10, with the real-time virus scanner overhead essentially consuming
         an entire CPU core these days.
    B- There is no way to block Win Updates, so when they decide you must upgrade, your old box will be forced into
         something it might not be able to carry off.   Witness all the people who got screwed when their Win 7 boxes automatically
         tried to update to 10.
    C.  MS officially announced they are not providing Win 10 updates for certain mature computers already running Win 10 --
         see http://bgr.com/2017/07/20/windows-10-creators-update-issues/.
3. Win 7 Extended Support ends in Jan 2020, so Win7 only offers 18 months of use in supported mode. Not worth it, imho
4. Install Linux. My hands-on experience is that dual core boxes up to 10 years old can run Mint/xfce, Xubuntu, or Lubuntu just fine.
    (I don't know about other distros.)

My personal conclusion -- if you want Windows, buy a new machine that will last a while with it. A refurb with Windows will likely
have a very limited lifespan. If you're ok with Linux, the refurb will work great and save you some money.

The Gorn

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2018, 08:18:13 pm »
Good points. Except...

Quote
4. Install Linux

Didn't yah catch that this is my WIFE'S computer? Just no, dude.... With all of the shit I have to do around here, no way I will add that education and training to the mix. My wife is a normie, not a deluded computer person like one of us who makes this crap their hobby.

I have struggled and still occasionally struggle to keep this 97% OK operating system (Mint) workable for me (meaning 3% is pure shit, like desktop settings that change on their mother fucking own without any updates involved.)  Linux could be pretty much perfect but it will always have the stench of stupid geeks who tinker and break working stuff just for resume bullet points along with butt headed developers who create confusing config messes.

I won't inflict this on my wife. She would be hounding me constantly for fixes and help.

Anyway - I went back to Micro Center. They refunded a lordly $20 for the inconvenience to my wife's Discover card and swapped the PC. Additionally, they had a bench technician open up the case for me to examine the components to make certain it was what we paid for.

This particular box seemed to be super, super clean, with no dents or exterior blemishes, and super clean inside.  (I read one review of refurbs on Amazon from some guy who described the refurb PC he got smelling like curry, specifically tikka masala, and it reeked and he had to air it out in an outside work area so he could tolerate it indoors. :) )

I was angling for more like $40 off but I also didn't want to cut my nose off despite my face, This deal was OK and I was already there and had sunk the time.  If they had not given me any discount I would have taken the refund and walked but still would have the problem of selecting a PC. So I accepted it.

The box is an HP 8300 with an Intel 3rd generation i5 CPU (3470, 3.2 ghz, quad core). The desktop feels pretty lively. Faster than her previous i3 from 2012 with Windows 7. The hard drive was dated March 2015 so the computer is relatively new.

That article is talking about suspending support for "Clover Trail CPUs" which appear to be a mobile processor from around 2012. Also Atom processors.

In other words MS is dropping Windows 10 support for the very lowest end processors.

There seem to be a shit ton of these particular HP models available as refurbished so I can't believe they will go obsolete and unsupported for another 2+ years. I have a gut feeling this is a safe purchase.

I'll also note that my wife's last computer was a Dell Vostro 260 purchased new for Christmas 2012, and it just stopped being able to boot anything larger than a Memtest 86 disk,  for no good reason.

I've never had an HP business class computer before. I am very impressed by the case's construction quality and the modularity.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 09:03:32 am by The Gorn »
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pxsant

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 12:39:57 am »
All of my reburbs are business class HP's.   The box you picked "HP 8300 with an Intel 3rd generation i5 CPU (3470, 3.2 ghz, quad core)"  is a really nice machine.  It should give your wife years of service - IF Microsoft doesn't screw things up.

How much memory does it have?   With Win 10 I would hope for at least 16 Gig.   That box should have a max of either 32 gig or 64 gig, don't remember which.

The Gorn

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2018, 06:42:13 am »
It has 8 GB currently as 2 x 4. I think it does max out at 32 GB.

I had one glitch setting up WIndows 10. It got stuck in a loop of displaying an error box saying that the system must be restarted. (Apparently having Micro Center power it up and then shut it down before Windows began to activate screwed up the self install slightly.) I searched and found a fix. Amazingly, the command window is available (shift F10) even before installation starts, and you run Regedit and change one value in the local machine tree. Rebooted after that and installation completed. I hand it to MS for not forcing the user to reboot and enter some weird key gesture with perfect timing at startup just to get a repair disk booted in order to make a fix like this.

The only bloat I removed was McAfee and three different language version stubs of Office 365. I set her up with Office Libre which is basically more or less Word 2003.
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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 07:54:33 am »
It has 8 GB currently as 2 x 4. I think it does max out at 32 GB.

There should be 4 memory slots.  I would leave the existing 2 4's and get 2 8's for the other 2 slots.   4's are pretty hard to come by and wouldn't be much cheaper than  8's.  That would give you 24 or 16 with a spare 8 just in case of a failure.

The Gorn

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 08:20:41 am »
I'll probably leave it as is for the time being. She doesn't do anything heavy duty on it. Facebook games are the most activity the memory and CPU see.
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benali72

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2018, 09:03:16 am »
Glad you found a good solution. Cheers.

unix

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Re: Desktop computer - what do you think of refurbished PCs?
« Reply #11 on: Today at 01:46:54 am »
I see fabulous deals on Ebay. You can buy like new used units for great deals. I got this MSI laptop that retailed for $3800 for just about $1400, about a year old. 24GB of RAM, high end video card, SSD, etc. Mechanical keyboard.

She may not need a laptop however.

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