Best Tips On Buying A Used Laptop (5/2018)
So, right now in early-to-mid 2018, we are actually seeing a lot of laptop companies coming out with their 8th generation laptops. There are Coffee Lake H processors which are really powerful. For the right user that uses a lot of PCU intensive applications, they are awesome. If you're a streamer or video editor or do 3D editing, then 6 cores are excellent. However, for a lot of people, especially gamers, those extra cores are not all that useful. You can actually find some very comparable performance from the previous generation of laptops and save a lot of money.
Today is all about maybe getting you pointed in the right direction when it comes to buying used and refurbished laptops.
Buying refurbished laptop
Let's talk about refurbished (refurb) devices first. Often times refurbished devices come with a stigma, but here's the thing, a lot of refurbished laptops are coming from corporate entities. Maybe you have that 50-year-old company executive that gets new devices every year as part of company policy, and then maybe a year later they get swapped out for a newer device. That's the time that the older device goes back to the laptop manufacturer. They recondition it, swap out the battery and then they can resell it at a severely discounted price. So, those devices that come from corporate ownership are just so lightly used that they are basically brand new still. Refurbished options can be an excellent deal of, and this is a big "if", if you buy it from the right brand.
Apple has excellent refurb options. Some of the stuff you buy from Apple refurbished is basically brand new. It usually comes with a warranty and everything. However, if we are talking about gaming laptops, one name comes to mind: Dell. Dell is a great option for gamers.
Dell has a very big corporate market so they have a ton of consumers out there. Think back a minute about the corporate ownership I was talking about and this is where it comes into play, and it happens a lot with Dell laptops. The XPS line has a ton of them that are 25-35% off. That's pretty significant. The same holds true for their Alienware lineup. If you want something that is dedicated to gaming, then that's a great idea too.
There are some other brands out that have the refurbish option as well. But generally speaking the discounts are not all that substantial. And this is probably due in point that Dell just has a huge corporate enterprise market.
Buying used laptop
Your other option is buying used, but when it comes to buying used your pricing is going to vary wildly. You can get some really sweet deals here and there, so it can be a good option as well. I am going to give a few points that people should keep in mind when it comes to buying a used laptop.
First: try and find a GTX 1050 or 1060 graphics card. The 10 series GPUs' jump in performance from the 9 series was insanely significant. By all means, try and get a 10 series if at all possible. You end up getting better performance from less wattage and that equals less heat, and in all second hand laptops, you want to stay away from heat issues.
The second thing that you want to keep in mind is thermal performance. You do not want to buy a used laptop that didn't have a good thermal performance. You never know how these are treated before you get to it. If the previous user constantly ran their laptop at full-tilt and it had bad thermal performance, then yeah, that's a device you want to avoid.
The last thing you want to keep in mind is if you are buying a device locally that you can see and use before you pay for it, you are going to want to put it under a stress test. I don't mean just logging in and playing a few minutes of games or streaming. I'm talking about a full-on stress test. Bring a USB stick with AIDA 64, 3D Mark, or any kind of benchmarking tool that you are comfortable with and go ahead and stress it out. If there is a problem with the laptop chances are you are going to find them under a real stress test.
There are plenty of things that you're naked eye will miss if just testing it by a simple gaming session. Do your due diligence and just perform the test. You're potentially giving some stranger a lot of money, you want your laptop to function correctly.