Oldies but goodies: Finding deals in used computers
Nov 4, 2007, 8:56 GMT
Hanover, Germany - The same basic rule applies to most products: buy used, save money. Computers are no different, and in fact the market for used computers is growing. For those who need their computers only for word processing, spreadsheet calculations, internet surfing, and e-mail, an older device with 800 megahertz of processing power is sufficient, computer experts say.
'If you don't use graphically intense programs, a four- or five- year-old desktop computer is fine,' says Jaroslav Smycek from the Consumer Central for Lower Saxony, Germany. 'If you need more modern applications, then the desktop should be no older than two years,' Smycek says.
The Berlin-based ReUse Computer club - a former project at the Technical University of Berlin - specialises in used devices. ReUse Computer buys old PC stocks, primarily from companies, gets the devices back up to speed and then resells them, usually with a one year guarantee. Another factor to consider is which drives are needed, such as a DVD burner. Older devices also tend to have fewer USB connections or no ports for storage cards from digital cameras.
Used desktop computers can be had for as little as 50 dollars, Smycek from the Consumer Central. 'New ones start at 399 dollars.' The savings aren't quite as high for laptops because the prices on new units have dropped sharply: 'A year ago I would have put out 499 dollars for a used, two-year old device - right now you toss in 200 more dollars and you can get a new one.'
The market for used Apple computers is also growing. 'Many Mac users are selling their devices on eBay or to family,' says Georg Albrecht, a press spokesman for Apple. Apple is also offering its own used devices, both on the internet and in selected stores. A MacBook from the newer series with a 17 inch monitors costs 1,900 instead of 2,737 dollars, Albrecht says.
One important factor when buying a used computer is the availability of a guarantee, Smycek says. Many stores are legally required to offer warranties - buyers should find out which laws apply in their location.
'But even when making a private purchase, the buyer should seek an agreement that the seller will offer at least three months of liability so that the buyer has time to turn up any hidden problems.' The buyer should also check to make sure everything is complete. A missing power block can push the price upward after the purchase.
Muharrem Batmann from ReUSe Computer also recommends keeping an eye on the operating system. 'If Windows doesn't come with the machine, then you either had better have it at home or you'll need to buy it - and that costs extra.' Finding used computers for sale on the internet is quick and easy, but the local classifieds are another good place to start. Another clever option is to check out regional Internet swaps. Many cities and towns have periodic 'computer flea markets.'© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur