Up For Debate - Do you buy refurbished PC components?

Written by Jon Sutton on Fri, Dec 27, 2019 11:31 AM

We’ve all been tempted by it. There’s a full priced graphics card next to one that’s available for a fraction of the price. The catch? It’s a refurbished GPU. Cue some intense mental wrangling as we try to justify spending hundreds of dollars on a graphics card when there’s one that’s pretty much identical but tarnished with the knowledge that’s it already been used by someone else.

It’s weird, because I wouldn’t think twice about buying a second-hand car. In fact, I think buying a brand new car is probably one of the fastest methods in existence of wasting money. Seriously, hand over £40K for a car and it’s worth £25K after you’ve driven it off the forecourt. But obviously there have to be people who buy new cars, or how else would we even get a second-hand car market. 

Yet despite functionally being much the same conundrum in my head, buying second-hand PC components is a bit of a stumbling block for me. There’s no MOT or test drive, we’re just sort of taking someone’s word for it that their graphics card is in tip top condition. They’re probably none the wiser than we are as to its actual health. No doubt official refurbs and other tart ups of the sort have their testing methodologies before they’re sent out but are we honestly to know whether that cut price GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has been sat crunching Bitcoin 24/7 for two years? We just can’t tell, we’re taking a bit of a leap of faith.

Which is why folks pay more for new PC components. There’s a certain reassurance to getting that AMD Ryzen 3700 out of its sealed box and knowing it hasn’t been sullied by someone else. There’s also the comfort of warranties, and guarantees, and all the other consumer protections which come with a product purchase. Some of this applies to second hand products of course, but it’s all very hit or miss knowing where you stand if you’re RTX 2060 breaks eight months after you bought it off someone on eBay. 

As you can probably guess, I don’t particularly lean into buying second-hand or refurbished hardware, I’d honestly just rather go without. But I also suspect I’m actually in the minority; that I’m worrying about nothing and people have scooped up all sorts of bargains by picking someone’s cheap RAM they’re trying to flog. It’s not just about money either. Buying second-hand or refurbished hardware is better for the environment, and there’s also a sort of logic to refurbished hardware being knowingly better than buying new - it’s been stress tested and those with manufacturing defects have probably already been discarded. 

There’s pros and cons then, to all of it this, although I’d imagine there’s still a few mental hurdles for some folks to jump before they think about buying a second-hand processor. 

But taking it all into account, are you for or against buying refurbished PC components? And is there anything that could be done to change your mind? Get voting and, as always, be sure to let us know why below!

Do you buy refurbished PC components?

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04:38 Jan-12-2020

my whole pc here is used parts, but not refurbished

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22:36 Jan-04-2020

As i have few pals inside Asus, sometime i buy components from them, but are "used" for demonstration or internal testing, other than that the only components i bought used were a DVD and a 8 TB HDD for my NAS.


BTW the important part is how much you know who sell you the component.

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10:24 Jan-05-2020

A good point.
Many aren't comfortable with getting stuff from someone they don't know.

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21:20 Jan-03-2020

I guess it depends on the situation. If I wanted a desktop I would rather buy all the parts new than buy a used pre-built one off of Kijiji. A laptop, I would be willing to buy a used one if I would get a bargain price for it. I regret that back in 2017 I could have bought a laptop with a GTX 1080 for $1200 from a pawn shop and didn't. Of course, pawn shops aren't the most trustworthy places to buy from at times.

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10:26 Jan-05-2020

Depends on the pawn shop.
I got my nephews a PS4 controller for half the usual price and it's working great.

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01:46 Jan-03-2020

Bought a few components for my old build over the years , all worked fine for me:



  • i7-2600k, 1x8GB DDR3 2133 MHz CL9 RAM, Asrock Z77-eXtreme6 mobo

  • HD 6770 1GB GPU, Antec 430W PSU, Antec 902 case

  • 2x8 GB Kingston Value 1600 MHz CL11 RAM and overclocked it to 1866 MHz CL10.
    The machine now is used by my cousin with new PSU, CPU cooler, 1060 3GB and 240 GB SATA SSD, would serve him great for a few more years since he only plays PES 2019 and eSport games like LoL and CS:GO.

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07:29 Jan-03-2020

If I ever hear that someone is looking to buy used PC parts I'll send em your way for advice.

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21:51 Jan-02-2020

Nah! Never. In case of an old car you can see how much it has been driven before buying but the same can't be done with an old card.

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12:11 Jan-02-2020

i5-6500, 120gb m.2 ssd. the rest is new.

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19:12 Dec-30-2019

if its a ram stick : / maybe . . .
anything else is not worth the risk
specialy if it a high heat source like a gpu or a psu
specialy cpus

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09:36 Jan-02-2020

Only hdds have any actual risk due to the mechanical parts, of course apart from the risk of a scam from the seller, along with overclocked hardware like gpus that were used for mining

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19:11 Dec-29-2019

Both my GTX 780 and 1070 were used. Never had an issue. Both 4590 and 4790k used. No issues. Next will be used or refurbished SSD/s.

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21:50 Dec-29-2019

I'd vote against used SSDs. They already have a definite end of life, so unless you know how much and how hard it was used by the previous user, you might be buying a fairly new SSD or the one that's near the end of it's life, and there's not really a good way to know which one is it.

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09:28 Dec-30-2019

Hmmm, I understand your concern on the matter.
Before the purchase, a snapshot showing how much data was stored on the SSD could be used to determine if buying a used one is worth it.

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14:40 Jan-01-2020

i managed to get 2 500gb corsair's le with 5-10gb written each for 60%less because the owner wanted to build a macintosh but the project was cancelled

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17:33 Jan-01-2020

Great purchase.

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17:54 Jan-02-2020

SSD prices are lower than they've ever been. Last month I bought a Samsung EVO 500gb (SATA) for $57, which is $2 less than I bought the 250gb version for six months ago.
If you shop around a bit, you can find what you need at a great price.

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13:49 Dec-29-2019

Bought 2 refurbished CRT monitors back when I was a student. I used those as high refresh rate gaming monitors since I was counter strike fan back then.

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10:10 Dec-28-2019

I'm thinking of getting 1080Ti...

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22:10 Dec-28-2019

Good card.

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23:28 Dec-28-2019

also came from a gtx 970 its a 100% performance uplift go for it

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09:10 Dec-28-2019

I did buy a used PS4 controller for my nephews from a local pawn shop and it's working fine.


I'm actually considering getting a headset from them as well.

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21:48 Dec-27-2019

Bought an used 980ti a while a go. Didn't disappoint whatsoever. Great temps, great frames, great fun. When you don't have the budget sometimes, consider refurbished. :)

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09:11 Dec-28-2019

Right on.


Where did you get it?

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22:54 Dec-28-2019

From a Balkan second hand trading site called "olx". Happy Holidays! :)

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10:35 Dec-29-2019

Thx for the info.


Wish you the best for the holidays.

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20:53 Dec-27-2019

I don't, though I wouldn't be opposed to it. It is just that locally, I don't really know any good place that would do refurbished. Though it would depend on part, I would mostly be fine with it, if price justifies a bit of risk. Especially if I am not buying that much of an overkill, so I don't need it to last 5 years. Though some stuff like PSU, I really wouldn't buy refurbished.

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18:57 Dec-27-2019

PC hardware is pretty fragile and often has a limited lifespan. It's also fairly expensive. I'm not against buying used, but I look to avoid so whenever possible, and will only buy used if the situation is very critical and I don't have much money on hand.
I don't like not knowing how the seller used his hardware and how he cared for it, and I often sleep better knowing that hardware I bought is under warranty and it's first user is me.

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18:57 Dec-27-2019

Never, i prefer new always

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18:35 Dec-27-2019

all of u who say always new...i hope god will send u to serbia with the minimum wage of 300$ so u can buy ur 2080ti in 2 years without eating bread...I just got my self an msi 1070ti for 250$ used...new is around 450$ here...works like a charm and still has 1.5 years of warranty so a big F U to all who buy new...and a CPU is build to last 15 years so i buy that used 2 allthou always in person and not in mail.

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21:07 Dec-27-2019

Tako je brate, lako je njima, dodji ovamo kod nas pa kupi sve novo...

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09:13 Dec-28-2019

Speaking as a guy from Croatia I know where you're coming from.


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08:38 Dec-30-2019

Minimum wage here in South Africa is $130. I have been to Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and B&H :)


Back when I was struggling financially I would save for a few months to buy a mid range product after much consideration and comparison (thanks to GD).


Games at 1080p is super easy to run these days on a budget and I think the experience difference from the highest end to the mid is not so huge.

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18:06 Dec-27-2019

my Whole pc is Refurbished Bought For 32500PKr Around 200$ in 2018 Pakistan
i5 3470 intel Board
8gb Ram
128gb ssd 1tb hdd
500wat psu
Rx 470 4gb Gpu
Local Cooler mAster CAse

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17:52 Dec-27-2019

buying a gen older used high-end gpu seems like a deal to me

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09:13 Dec-28-2019

Agreed

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16:01 Dec-27-2019

Nope, never have, and I never will. New is the best way to go.

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15:20 Dec-27-2019

I haven't still, but I do plan to if a good GPU deal comes up.

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