Buying used computers can be confusing and quite an ordeal with the problem of plenty. This article will provide you with a definitive guide for picking the right computer for yourself.
Make sure that the memory modules are accessible in your second hand computer. They are usually placed under the unit and protected by a removable panel. Here’s a way to determine the amount of memory needed:
256 MB: Sufficient for basic office, provided the system activates only one application at a time in used computers.
512 MB to 1 GB: Adequate for running several programs at the same time, photo editing and basic 3D games.
1 GB or more: Recommended for high performance 3D games, heavy graphics work and video editing.
To the extent possible, perform some typing tests on the keyboard you are considering buying. Keep in mind that some keyboards are smaller in size as the manufacturer may have been creative about the size of the keys and their position. Therefore carefully inspect the spacing between keys and functional keys such as Caps, Ctrl, Backspace and Delete. Make sure that their positioning is compatible with the size of your hand and with your typing style.
If you do not plan to run too much graphics work or perform 3D games on used computers, graphics memory shared with the system may suffice. If you have a choice, try to get a motherboard that lets you increase graphics memory up to at least 512 MB. Many high-end models are equipped with a standalone graphics subsystem with its own video memory. In the case of graphics intensive games or work, look for a solution with 128 or 256 MB dedicated memory.
PCI slots, PC Card (or PCMCIA) slots on a desktop computer offer interesting opportunities for expansion of memory and integration of USB ports, additional FireWire, wired or wireless modem, WLANs etc. PC Cards and the corresponding locations can be of three sizes listed as Type I, II or III. Type I cards are normally used for memory, type II for input/output and type III units are meant for mass storage devices and firewalls. Most used computers using the new generation of Centrino include an ExpressCard slot which is gradually replacing the PCMCIA.
Connection ports, particularly USB and FireWire, are essential. You will need at least three USB ports. In addition, if you have older devices such as a parallel printer, ensure that you have the correct corresponding port. If you plan to use a digital camera or iPod along with your used computer, make sure it has a FireWire (IEEE 1394) port. Connecting a monitor or projector – useful for presentations – requires a VGA port. If you want to display video on a TV, choose a motherboard equipped with an output S-Video port.
In the field of desktops, Intel i7 technology is now top of the list. But Dual Core and Core2Duo processors are also more than acceptable in case of used computers. The Dual Core platform appeared in early 2003, which combines a Pentium M processor, a set of components and 855 Pro/Wireless system Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) – all of which are Intel origin. A Dual Core desktop must include these three elements. It also uses the Intel 915 game components and supports PCI Express (PCIe for short) and dual-channel DDR2 533 MHz. With Intel technology, graphics and multitasking are more efficient, while autonomy is increased. You can also expect a reduction in the price of Dual Core models. Although older, they are excellent.