March 22, 2009

Procuring the Ideal Used Computer

Posted in authored by John Gohde tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:36 am by John Gohde

Once upon a time, one would have to throw away their old computers every few years. The hardware was badly designed. Their operating systems were atrocious. Surfing the Internet was simply toxic to your computer. Well, times have changed. We finally have entered into the age of the stable computer.

Back in the old days with Windows 3.01, 4 megabytes of RAM was extremely generous. Those days are long over. Windows 3.01 was dumped by the public in favor of Windows 95, 98, and finally Millennium (ME). During this time period, computer manufacturers were sticking the public with computers that had a measly 40 megabytes of RAM or less. These old computers were doomed to failure on the drawing board because this generation of computers needed at least 128 megabytes of RAM to handle their operating systems.

Which Operating System is Best?

Then add on top of that the fact that Windows 95, Millennium (ME), and finally 98 were fatally flawed operating systems. Windows XP is the first operating system to be truly stable. So when shopping for the ideal used computer, avoid all computers running anything other than Windows XP.

The difference between the Home and Professional editions of Windows XP is not important. You wont be using the firewall provided by Microsoft anyway. What counts is which version of Windows XP a computer is running. There are three different versions or service packs. The ideal used computer is running Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). If it is not pointed out on the computer, than that computer is running the first version or SP1 and should be ideally avoided. If you had to chose between Windows 98 and the Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1), then always take Windows XP. Just remember that a lot of software wont work without Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).

Of course, one could always buy a brand new computer. For five or six hundred dollars, you can in fact get a pretty decent computer. The problem with that is that you are going to get stuck with Windows Vista. Vista was a goof in the evolution of Window operating systems, much like Windows ME was. The problem with Vista is that it is constantly getting in your way. Intelligent hardware and software has always been a pain in the butt to use. Windows Vista failed because Microsoft attempted to keep their operating system safe from their users. My advice is to avoid any computer running Vista at all costs. Better to sit it out with Windows XP, until a better operating system comes along.

The Ideal Used Computer

Used Computers – The more RAM the Better

In general, you should always go for more RAM over CPU processor speed.

To rap things up, the first consideration for purchasing the ideal used computer is that it must be running Windows XP. Do NOT accept any other operating system. The second consideration is the amount of RAM that a computer has installed on it. The more RAM you have the better. RAM comes in increments of 128 megabytes. The bare acceptable minimum would be 256 megabytes of RAM. Ideally you would want at least a Gigabyte of RAM. But, generally you will regret getting anything less than 512 megabytes.

Used Computers – Go for Processor Speed over Hard Disk Size

The third consideration is processor speed. The faster your CPU the better. Ideally, you want a fast CPU operating at one gigahertz or better. The fourth and last consideration is the size of your hard drive. Do not take anything smaller than 18 gigabytes. Bigger hard drives should never be the deal breaker, as a absolutely huge second external hard drive can always be added on later very cheaply, thanks to your USB ports.

The Ideal Used Computer is Selling for as low as $150

Currently, if you shop around, purchasing the ideal used computer that is running Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), with a Gigabyte of RAM, with a one gigahertz CPU, with at least a 18 gigabyte hard drive without any monitor for approximately $150 is entirely possible. Do not settle for less. Shop around, and simply wait for a better deal because this purchase could last you five years.



  1. ES said,

    Dear Sir. The ONLY correct statement you have made is that windows ME stinks.

    As a professional technician, I always run into ignorant people such as yourself. 10 years for a lifespan of a computer is laughable. Using your logic, going back 10 years now, would put you into a win98 machine, which unlike you state, came out BEFORE windows ME. What exactly can you do with a piece of garbage like that? Play solitaire?

    And as far as Vista goes, since the release of SP1, it’s a good operating system The only thing that is getting in the way is your inability to configure it correctly. You give me ANY PC with 2 gigs of ram and I will make Vista fly.

    And, as per your suggestion of 1 Ghz cpu…..I am sitting here appaled, I cant even find the words to describe such stupidity. We don’t bother refurbishing anything under 2Ghg, due to it’s lack of ability to actually, you know, PROCESS anything.

  2. Give me a PC with 1 gig of RAM running Windows XP and I will make Vista fly.

    Bigger, more bloated operating systems like Windows Vista require bigger more expensive computer hardware for the same comparable performance delivered by Windows XP on a less expensive computer. That is certainly another good reason not to go with Vista. Excuse me, but no where did I say anything about power users who have more money than brains. Want more speed, then buy it. Just be prepared to pay for it.

    I happen to be using that ideal computer right now which I purchased at a computer fair a few months back for $150. That computer was originally going for around $1,400. So, I was very glad to take it off their hands. Actually, it was my second purchase of a gem of a computer for just $150.

    With attitudes like yours out there, there will always be plenty of used computers for bargain purchases to be made. Stay tuned. I will have a lot more to say about the art of purchasing the ideal used computer, as well as what users need to do in order to tune up their used computer on future posts.

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