So you’ve decided to dive into PC building – perhaps you’ve learned of the advantages of virtual reality and want to build a powerful PC with the capability to play VR games? Perhaps you want to stream games from a console to your TV? Perhaps you even want to use your PC for professional development? I’m here to help you make the right decision to make your next PC build as successful as possible!

For years now, PC-building has been a reliable way to mix things up a bit in the hardware game, and to get some personal satisfaction in the process. Over the last few years, though, the supply of used parts has gotten really, really good. It’s not uncommon to find used parts for an (even new!) machine that are cheaper than newer parts. In this article, we’ll ask: should you go used on the hardware? How do you decide? And what’s involved in the process?

We get asked this question a lot, and frankly, it’s one of the toughest things to decide on. Obviously, not everyone can afford to drop $1,000 on a brand new PC, so if you’re in the market for a new build, there’s a good chance you’ll have to buy used parts. But should you? “It’s tough to say because it depends on so many factors,” said Dave Davis, a managing director at cybersecurity firm Crisis Information Security, Inc. “If you’re not a PC gamer, I’d probably steer clear of used parts, as they are more likely to be older and more susceptible to malware.” However, if you’re like the majority of the gaming population, you’re going to be fine. Read more about what parts do you need to build a pc and let us know what you think.

Depending on your level of experience with electronics, building a PC may be a difficult task. People usually seek to construct PCs in order to obtain the most power and performance for the least amount of money. Is it acceptable to use old components while constructing a computer?

Consider your budget and what you want to do with your PC when deciding whether or not to construct a PC using secondhand components. While certain components, like as motherboards and power supplies, aren’t appropriate to purchase secondhand, others, such as GPUs and RAM, are ideal for constructing your own PC.

Years ago, when money was limited and I wanted something to game on or do some work, I constructed PCs out of second-hand components. Hopefully, putting some of this knowledge to use can assist you in making better choices.

And if you’re still unsure about constructing a computer, check out my other post on the benefits and drawbacks of creating a gaming computer. Even if you aren’t interested in gaming, there is enough of useful information in there for you.

This article will go over everything you need to know about constructing your own PC, including whether or not you should utilize pre-owned components and other important details.

Should You Build a PC With Used Parts? How To Decide

Why should you purchase secondhand computer parts?

Buying secondhand is like going on a treasure hunt. You must seek for the finest bargains at a reasonable price and filter through a lot of unnecessary items until you discover what you need.

The main benefit of purchasing used components is that they are less expensive than new ones, so set a budget for yourself before you start looking.

After all, why pay for a brand-new component if you don’t need it? You can typically locate the exact component you need for a project for a fraction of the price it would cost new if you do some research and persevere.

I’m not going to lie: the thrill of unboxing a brand-new graphics card is indescribable. It does not, however, have to be brand new.

Frequently, you can get desired components like GPUs for up to 70% off from a private seller or website, with no discernible performance difference. You can’t go wrong with a 70% discount on something you need anyhow, can you?

Building PCs is no exception, but some components should always be purchased fresh since they tend to break down more rapidly than others.

The significance of benchmarking or testing computers

A benchmark PC is a low-cost computer that may be used to evaluate used components. If you’re purchasing a GPU, for example, construct the PC except for the GPU and bring it with you when you meet with the vendor.

After that, connect your benchmark PC to the GPU and see whether it works.

Bringing a benchmark PC, especially when purchasing locally, is one of the greatest methods to prevent being cheated. If you say you’re bringing one, scammers will most likely get evasive and stop communicating with you, making it an excellent fraud protection tool. 

Furthermore, utilizing a benchmark PC enables you to verify that any SSDs you’re considering buying are free of malicious malware. A non-working SSD is much worse than one that actively infects your primary PC with viruses or other malicious software.

Breakdown of each component

Some items, like as motherboards, should be purchased fresh. However, if you know what you need and what you’re prepared to compromise for, you can usually obtain a significant discount on additional components. For example, if two kinds of RAM function almost similarly but one is half-price, how would you know which to choose?

If you want to learn more about each component and what they perform, you can read my previous post on the major elements of a computer and their roles.

Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) or Graphics Cards

graphics card with two fans

Even high-end graphics cards are usually acceptable to purchase secondhand. Ideally, you should bring your own benchmark PC to test it out, but with so many offers available online, this isn’t always feasible. Scammers love low-tier GPUs, so steer clear of them if you’re looking to purchase secondhand. 

The biggest issue with GPUs isn’t that they stop working after a while. Rather, they soon become obsolete.

As a result, buying them secondhand – particularly higher-end cards – is acceptable. Upgrading an old PC with a new GPU is one of the greatest methods to immediately increase its performance capability, and a secondhand one from a few years ago would be quite cheap.

The greatest danger of purchasing secondhand is receiving a non-working device or a card that has been used for bitcoin mining. In the second scenario, the device would most likely still be functional, although with lesser performance than anticipated.

Motherboard

computer motherboard on a wooden table

Used motherboards are notoriously hit-or-miss, so it’s not a good idea to purchase them secondhand. At first sight, a motherboard may seem to be functional, but individual components such as resistors and pins may fail or get damaged.

If you decide to purchase a secondhand motherboard, request a video of it in operation as well as permission to physically examine it for problems such as bent pins, broken resistors, and other indications of wear and tear.

Buying a motherboard online may be a wonderful method to save money, but you have to trust the seller’s reputation. You’re unlikely to have any issues if the vendor has a lengthy and good track record. However, given how fussy motherboards are to begin with, it’s better to get new ones.

CPUs

computer cpu

Used CPUs are safe to purchase since they either function or don’t. In an ideal world, you’d be able to connect it into a benchmark PC, but requesting a video of it in action would suffice.

The only time you should avoid buying a secondhand CPU is if it was previously used in a highly overclocked system.

Purchasing old CPUs is a fantastic method to obtain performance that is near to current standards, which are always evolving. Buying used puts you back a few years, but secondhand CPUs are usually not that old and may survive for decades if you can live with it.

RAM

computer ram or memory modules

RAM is one of the safest used components to purchase, as well as one of the most prevalent. The easiest method to check authenticity is to plug it into a benchmark PC, although this isn’t necessary due to the low cost of RAM.

However, some modern RAM is more costly, so it may be worthwhile to wait for a price reduction. Purchasing secondhand RAM is a particularly cost-effective method to update an older computer, since even modest additions are likely to be dirt-cheap.

SSDs

various ssds

Solid-state drives are similar to CPUs in that they either function or they don’t. Although many SSDs include operating systems (OSs), any vendor should be ready to erase them so you may connect them into your benchmark PC.

Buying used parts from a trustworthy vendor eliminates this possibility, therefore always purchase used parts from a reputable seller to reduce your chance of being scammed.

Another word of warning regarding SSDs: they all have a certain lifetime, and not all of them are equipped with cutting-edge technology like DRAM caches and NVMe.

This means they aren’t as quick as their contemporary counterparts. Furthermore, defective SSDs are difficult to distinguish from working ones without using a benchmark PC.

Units that provide power

desktop computer power supply module

PSUs are, without a doubt, the most essential component of any computer, and their significance cannot be emphasized. Your computer is nothing more than a nice, expensive paperweight without a power supply. 

Used power supplies seem to be an excellent method to save money if they’re in good shape. For example, a new $50 PSU may only provide 450 watts of power, while a used one might provide 600 watts or more.

It all boils down to your willingness to take a risk on secondhand components. Keep in mind, though, that PSUs deteriorate fast after they’re produced, which means they lose their capacity to generate their maximum amount of power soon.

What’s wonderful is that advances in PSU technology haven’t made older units useless, but the likelihood of their integrity deteriorating has increased dramatically. Newer units are more likely to operate on high-end setups with RGB lighting, but there isn’t much of a difference in terms of performance.

A used power supply may work in certain cases, but it won’t have all of the features of a brand-new one. Pre-owned power supplies are better suited to benchmark PCs, home streaming setups, and other applications where they won’t be noticed if they fail.

If you must have a used PSU, keep safety in mind while communicating with the vendor and request to view a video of it in action. 

Purchasing secondhand power supplies online is hazardous since you have no way of knowing what condition the device is in or if it can provide adequate power to your PC.

If you purchase a defective device, it has the potential to destroy your whole system. In summary, when it comes to your power supply, don’t take chances.

Is it possible to construct a PC out of any parts?

someone assembling a computer

PCs typically need a particular set of components to work correctly, and most parts are interchangeable as long as they’re all of high quality.

To construct a computer, you’ll need the following items:

  • Case.
  • Motherboard.
  • Unit for supplying power.
  • CPU.
  • GPU.
  • RAM.
  • Hard Disk Drive vs. Solid State Drive (HDD).
  • Cooling system using a fan or a liquid cooling system.
  • Monitor.
  • Keyboard and mouse

What should you do with old computer parts?

Here are a few alternatives if you find yourself with old PC components and aren’t sure what to do with them:

  • Recycle them – the vast majority of PC components are completely recyclable.
  • Give these to an electronics-obsessed buddy.
  • They may be sold on the internet.

Buying secondhand is better for the environment.

recycling symbol with used computers

Where can I get used parts?

Depending on your region, buying secondhand components may be difficult or simple. Others methods of locating components are more effective than others, and some are rife with con artists. When dealing with people on the internet, always exercise care and common sense.

Facebook Marketplace is a platform that allows you to sell

This is one of the finest sites to search for used parts online since it displays ads in your region and connects you to the vendor immediately. You may see the seller’s previous sales, ratings, and reviews, among other things.

Feel free to pass on a listing if it seems to be underpriced and the seller doesn’t have many (or any) previous sales. You may lose out on a good bargain, but you’re more likely to avoid getting conned.

LetGo & OfferUp

LetGo and OfferUp are comparable to a more controlled Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace in that they enable people to sell and purchase items online.

These sites aren’t as popular as Facebook, eBay, or Amazon, but they may be a good location to find secondhand PC components if you reside in a large city.

eBay

One of the greatest locations to purchase secondhand PC components is on eBay, which is one of the most popular online marketplaces. Always check for good feedback ratings and reviews before purchasing from a seller on eBay, since it offers a thorough grading system that enables you to filter which buyers you feel comfortable with. 

If a vendor has a history of delivering defective or incomplete goods, consider it a red flag and avoid doing business with them. Sellers with a lengthy and immaculate track record are much less likely to defraud you since their seller profile is far more important to them than making a fast profit.

eBay also offers great customer service and will work with you if a seller fails to meet your expectations.

Amazon

Amazon, like eBay, enables merchants to post goods on their marketplace and send them via their platform. Amazon’s customer service, like eBay’s, is renowned for fast communication and issue resolution in the event of a disagreement.

All of this adds up to Amazon being on par with eBay as an excellent online marketplace for buying secondhand PC components.

How to Avoid Being Scammed

someone holding keyboard keys spelling scammed

Scammers are more technologically sophisticated and smart than ever before, and they’re constantly looking for a method to earn a fast profit at the cost of someone else – in this instance, you!

While it’s difficult to anticipate fraudsters with 100% accuracy, there are a few steps you can do to reduce your chances of being scammed.

Be wary of goods that are drastically underpriced.

A typical con is to advertise a sought-after item, whether new or old, at a considerably lower price than it is really worth. Buyers will believe they have found a desperate seller in need of cash and will proceed with the transaction without hesitation.

When it comes time to meet, however, they dismiss efforts to verify the item’s legitimacy and want it over as soon as possible.

Even if they undercut a little, a reputable vendor would always sell goods for what they are worth. While needy individuals in need of money will always exist, it may be difficult to distinguish them from fraudsters.

If you find a component for considerably less than it’s worth, insist on testing it with a benchmark PC (if feasible) or requesting a video of the part in action (again, if possible). If you’re unsure, pass on the thing.

Be cautious of sporadic communication.

Scammers often fail to communicate quickly, particularly when you request that the component be checked. Scammers can’t have you confirming a component that doesn’t function, so when you inquire about it, they’ll cut off contact.

They may also attempt to meet you in a secluded or dimly lit location. These efforts should be treated with suspicion and reported to the selling platform as soon as possible.

While there may be valid reasons to meet in a private location on occasion, you should always meet individuals in well-lit public places with other people present.

If you’ve scheduled a meeting with someone and they don’t show up, call them and ask when they’ll be there.

Fraudsters may scout out situations before showing up to see if they can get away with it, while careful sellers may do the same to guard against scammers masquerading as buyers.

Meeting in a secluded location, particularly one that is dimly lit, is a formula for catastrophe. At best, you may be taken advantage of, and at worst, you may face a terrible destiny.

Bring a friend.

friends playing computer games together

Another important advice for avoiding scams is to avoid going alone. To meet the vendor, bring a trusted friend, family, or significant other with you.

Your other person’s duty is primarily to discourage vendors who want to defraud you or damage you in any way. A con artist bent on robbing you would be hesitant to assault two individuals. 

Please do not receive mail (from individuals)

While you can only have goods shipped from eBay and Amazon, don’t allow merchants on Facebook Marketplace and LetGo persuade you to accept shipping if they’re within a fair distance.

There is no safeguard against vendors delivering empty boxes or failing to fulfill their obligations.

Examine the feedback (ratings are king!)

In principle, a seller’s rating represents their livelihood since it serves as proof of their integrity and dependability. If a seller has no negative feedback and a lot of positive feedback on a platform, they’re generally safe to purchase from.

These sellers aren’t interested in defrauding you or jeopardizing their seller reputation for a fast cash – it’s not worth it to them.

If a vendor has no history and exhibits the other unusual behaviors listed above, they may be attempting to defraud you. It’s preferable to pass up a good bargain than to be duped and potentially harmed.

Never pay ahead of time.

Scammers often promise to ship an item in exchange for a check or other kind of payment. This goes along with the previous advice about avoiding accepting mail for local goods since you’ll have little recourse if you’re scammed.

Finally, some ideas

In general, buying secondhand PC components for your own PC is safe, but certain parts are preferable when fresh. Always pay attention to seller ratings when purchasing online, and use caution when meeting any seller outside of the site.

If you want to learn more about purchasing a secondhand computer, check out my previous post, which discusses what to look for when contemplating this choice.

If you’re thinking of buying a PC but you don’t want to buy new, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Not only do you have to decide which parts to buy, but also where to put them. Is it better to build the PC yourself or to buy pre-assembled? And what about pre-built PCs themselves: Do they offer good value for money? Today we’re going to answer those questions and more.. Read more about used parts gaming pc build and let us know what you think.

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