bit-tech.net

Second Hand Hardware

Posted on 5th Mar 2010 at 10:25 by Antony Leather with 32 comments

Antony Leather
With relatively high failure rates (I'm sure we've all had plenty of stuff die out of warranty, I know I have) and the rate at which PC technology advances, there's not as much second hand gear out there as there might be compared to other things, like cars or cameras.

However, while I love receiving shiny new kit, I've always been a fan of buying and selling second hand PC hardware so if you've never thought of going to computer fairs or online auction sites for your next upgrades here's a few reasons why it's worth it and also what to watch out for.

Unfortunately there seems to be a large number of people out there that think everything on sites like eBay is cheaper than it is in the shops. As such you'll get people paying over the odds when a five second search on Google could show up several e-tailers selling it for less. I've also sold a few bits for a lot more than I bought them for too.

This means that many auction sites are now very much a seller's market, so if you have second hand gear that's gathering dust, consider setting up an auction or using bit-tech's own marketplace . It's surprising what people will pay money for and you could get a nice little addition towards that new shiny upgrade.

It's still possible to pick up a steal though. Cases are an ideal candidate for second hand bargain hunting for a simple reason - there's not a lot to go wrong with them. If you're planning to paint it then this is even better as scratches and dings can be filled, smoothed and painted over.

Second Hand Hardware Second-hand hardware
Buying second hand cases is usually a safe bet

It's also possible to buy spare parts if anything is missing. Lian Li is great for this and a case in point is my very own V2000, which I bought last year for £60. Not bad for a case that retailed for £230 at the time and was just bit dusty and just "missing a few screws" - which I picked up from www.kustompcs.co.uk for about £10.

As soon as you delve into the world of RAM, CPUs and hard drives though, things become a bit risky. In many cases these bits of hardware won't come with a warranty. As such, it becomes a case of "Can I afford it if it breaks a few months down the line?". Bear in mind though that many sellers will offer some kind of warranty or even offer to ship the hardware with the original receipt if you request it. The second hand market for core hardware is pretty healthy though and as such, bargains are a rarity.

Buying from abroad using exchange rates in your favour can work on occasions. I bought a Athlon 64 X2 FX-60 from an American eBay seller in an attempt to prolong the life of my ageing Socket 939 system a few years ago. I managed to pick it up for £190 including postage - less than half the price it was retailing for at the time. However I was lucky in that, because it was an auction and second hand goods, I didn't get stung for the VAT and import taxes which can make this method pointless a lot of a time.

Then there's the dead on arrival issue. What do you do if you buy something from an online auction site and it turns up dead as a doornail? Well the obvious thing here is to have checked the seller's policy on returns and make sure they accept them. There are also plenty of sellers out there selling hardware listed as 'untested and no returns'. Stay away from these and make sure the seller accepts returns.

So what's your experience with buying your hardware second hand? Do you always prefer to have a warranty on your core hardware, or do you live for auction sites like eBay? Let us know in the comments.

32 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Krikkit 5th March 2010, 10:41 Quote
What is it about 2nd hand parts that you hate joe?
pbryanw 5th March 2010, 11:09 Quote
I like upgrading my computer (as I'm sure most bit-tech readers do) so selling my old parts on Ebay has become second nature. Out of over a hundred items sold, I've only had one DOA, which isn't too bad. Without the second-hand market I wouldn't be able to afford new parts for my computer, so I'm sold. But like the article says, it's a seller's market.
PureSilver 5th March 2010, 11:24 Quote
I always sell my systems for parts when I've finished with them; that's one of the biggest advantages of building your own computer. For reference, see how much your nasty Dell prebuilt is worth as components when it comes to upgrade time. I'm not sure I'd buy s/h electronic parts, though - I've bought peripherals like webcams, but the thought of s/h motherboards and processors fills me with dread, basically.

On the other hand, I am in the market for a s/h Lian-Li A01...
CardJoe 5th March 2010, 11:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
What is it about 2nd hand parts that you hate joe?

Me? Nothing. I get Bindi to select my parts and build my PC for me. You should ask Antony though - I always get blamed for everything :(
yakyb 5th March 2010, 12:27 Quote
i have often touted the idea of selling my stuff but have never gotten round to it what do you guys think i would get for my media centre?


q6600
asus p35
4gb Ram
320GB hdd
x1950pro
case could vary
DVDrw

edit also whilst i'm asking

3600x2
k9agm2 (690G based mobo)
varing Hdd sizes
variing cases
4GB Ram
DVDrw
Arkanrais 5th March 2010, 12:27 Quote
I just bought a $160 case for around $100 yesterday from an online auction site. hopefully it'll get here soon so I can finish off a system build.
I bought a GTX260 last year for around $210 when they were retailing at over $340 (I think), and it's been running perfectly and overclocks well. The guy selling it had downgraded to a passive 9600 GT cause the gtx was too loud. The card sounds like a vacuum cleaner, but once it boots into windows and the fan speed profile kicks in, it quiets right down.

I've done the gamble on a few " $1 reserve possibly not working" hardware, and it's payed off quite a few times. I only go for those when strapped for cash though.
tonyd223 5th March 2010, 13:15 Quote
got an attic full of stuff - really should get around to throwing stuff out or recycling via ebay, how's this for funny - got

ATI 9800 agp
7800GT
X1950xtx

my graphics history I suppose...
Combatus 5th March 2010, 17:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
i have often touted the idea of selling my stuff but have never gotten round to it what do you guys think i would get for my media centre?


q6600
asus p35
4gb Ram
320GB hdd
x1950pro
case could vary
DVDrw

edit also whilst i'm asking

3600x2
k9agm2 (690G based mobo)
varing Hdd sizes
variing cases
4GB Ram
DVDrw

Pop a price checking post up in our market place forums. Plenty of helpful people around give you some idea of what to ask for.
yakyb 5th March 2010, 17:46 Quote
done ,
wuyanxu 5th March 2010, 18:36 Quote
only bought second hand stuff from Bit-tech forums, never had any problems.

if you only bought from Bit-tech forums, you won't have any problems :) they are reliable people out there.
NethLyn 5th March 2010, 18:38 Quote
Whole build before this one was almost all secondhand from 4 different sources across two forums - 939mobo, all the RAM and Athlon CPU, my final AGP card, in fact only the drives, PSU and case were bought new. That was back in 2005 and it gave me three solid years for next to nothing compared to the real cost.

So my next GPU is going to be secondhand, taking advantage of the race for the 5770, but once again buying from a friend instead of taking pot luck on eBay - I know exactly what I'm buying, whether you get the item as stated on the listing is always a crap shoot but I've never had any duff parts, for that I'm grateful.
mjm25 5th March 2010, 19:23 Quote
i bought my qx6800 from ebay back in the day... the seller had no feedback so it was a massive gamble. something told me to go for it and i got it for £299 quid. DING! saved me 700 quid right there. yum.
DragunovHUN 5th March 2010, 19:28 Quote
If it's expensive AND sensitive hardware i always buy it new. Other than that i have no problems with used. I sell lots of old hardware though.
Xtrafresh 6th March 2010, 02:36 Quote
I have had great experiences so far in buying off V&A which is the marketplace section of Dutch techsite tweakers.net.

I think about 80-90% of my computer budget is spent there, and I also sell ooff all of my unused hardware there. There have been a few minor hiccups, but in all it's saved me a LOT of money and gave me access to upgrades i could otherwise never get my hands on.
Cupboard 6th March 2010, 10:58 Quote
I love buying second hand, if you can cope with staying a bit behind the bleeding edge, you can get loads of bargains as the people ahead of you upgrade.

The only bit of my PC that was bought new was the hard drive, and that was because it was cheap.
BaronVonDuncs 8th March 2010, 17:42 Quote
How do you get access to the bit tech marketplace to look at the 2nd hand stuff thats available? Nothing in the FAQ about it that I could see.
Omnituens 9th March 2010, 15:29 Quote
I got an Asus striker board off ebay.

Turned up witout the CPU gaurd in place and at lest 3 pins bent, and seller refused to take it back.

Managed to pins back in place though, steady hand a fine pin did the trick. Tested it and flogged it to a friend, so recouped some of the loss.

Will be avoiding second hand hardware from now on, unless I personally know the seller (LAN party, friend etc).
13eightyfour 9th March 2010, 15:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaronVonDuncs
How do you get access to the bit tech marketplace to look at the 2nd hand stuff thats available? Nothing in the FAQ about it that I could see.

iirc you need 75 posts and to have been registered for 30 days
knuck 9th March 2010, 19:43 Quote
I hate selling something.. I'd rather keep it, even if it's to collect dust or even better, give it away to someone I know. The last PC part I sold was a first generation Phenom 9500 (2.2Ghz) which sucked balls. I am glad I sold it as it paid for half of my current X3 720 :)
mrplow 11th March 2010, 17:44 Quote
My whole PC, apart from a pair of big HDs, is built from second hand parts. I upgrade it occasionally when I find a bargain [second hand] part on a forum (here, or somewhere like DVDF/AVF). I'm glad there are enough people who buy new bleeding edge equipment all the time and then sell me their perfectly good 'leftovers' :)

Keep it up, people!

(fwiw I'm running a 4200 X2 939 and a radeon 4770 atm, which is perfectly adequate for me but probably sounds pitifully slow to most of you)
The_Beast 11th March 2010, 18:03 Quote
I only buy parts from forums and I've never had a problem with any of the parts


I would buy a case from ebay
Fizzban 12th March 2010, 09:59 Quote
I've bought second hand memory, a processor and a hard drive before now and they have all been fine. Although I got those from CEX who test everything before they sell it.

However I have also bought a second hand laptop on Ebay and after 2 or 3 months the hard drive died. Makes the most amazing crunching noises when you try to boot from it lol. Easy enough to fix though so I'm not too bothered.
Instagib 14th March 2010, 22:00 Quote
I've bought 3 Asus striker 2 formula boards from ebay. The first, admittedly, i killed when i overtightened the heatsink mounts and cracked the board. But the second was DOA as the numpty i bought it off sent it by 2nd class post and used only a cereal packet for protection. At which point i wished said numpty's farther had used protection.
And the third has a dud memory slot. But it works okay with only one channel. Or it would if my 2nd hand E8400 hadn't packed up. In fairness to the E8400, it was it's time... RIP

In all seriousness the amount of down time my rig has had is ridiculous. I should of learnt to stay away from the 2nd hand market but i've had some amazing bargains too. Like my XFX 285 GTX XXX which was £250 a year or so ago and hasn't given so much as a squeek of protest to my harsh treatment. Special mention for the E8400; bought also a year ago for £80 and lived it's life at 3.8Ghz for most of that. Like i said, it was it's time.
Xir 16th March 2010, 14:17 Quote
Quote:
With relatively high failure rates (I'm sure we've all had plenty of stuff die out of warranty, I know I have)

I've had one Graphicscard die on me...thats all in about 15 years and 5 computers time ;-)
Fizzban 18th March 2010, 11:36 Quote
In the blog there is a link to the bit-tech marketplace, but when I try to go there it says I don't have permission. How many posts do I need to be able to visit there?
PureSilver 18th March 2010, 13:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
In the blog there is a link to the bit-tech marketplace, but when I try to go there it says I don't have permission. How many posts do I need to be able to visit there?

You need 75+ posts, and I think two weeks of membership.
Fizzban 18th March 2010, 13:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PureSilver
You need 75+ posts, and I think two weeks of membership.

Thanks muchly. +1 rep
Fizzban 29th March 2010, 11:46 Quote
Hmm, well I've been a member over 2 weeks now and I've got 100+ posts and I still can't enter the marketplace. The link (in the blog) just tells me I'm not permitted :(
Teelzebub 29th March 2010, 11:48 Quote
I thought it was 75 post and a month .
Fizzban 29th March 2010, 11:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PureSilver
You need 75+ posts, and I think two weeks of membership.

I was going by this
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumsrush
I thought it was 75 post and a month .

If it's a month then I shall wait patiently..again
PureSilver 29th March 2010, 11:54 Quote
Damn, I really earned my rep there...

Sorry about that. It is in the FAQs somewhere...
October 29th March 2010, 17:26 Quote
I have nothing wrong with buying second hand for some stuff, just bought an X-Fi for cheeps (cheers Bumsrush!) and as soon as I can get to the bank I'll be paying for two hdds and a TV tuner card. That's all through Bit-Tech though, would be a lot more wary of ebay for stuff like that... And some things I definitely like to have new and shiny :D Wish I had enough old parts to be able to sell stuff...

Interesting you mention the V2000 Joe, my housemate bought one of those on ebay almost four years ago, I think he paid £80/£90 for it. It's sitting outside my door right now, beast of a case
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