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 Buying a Refurbished Laptop 
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Post Buying a Refurbished Laptop
Buying a Refurbished Laptop
by: David Perlmutter

When considering buying a used laptop, the first thing to do is to determine what you want to use the laptop for?

* word processing

Requires minimal CPU, since you cannot type faster than a very old Pentium 90.

* e-mail

Requires a minimal CPU, minimal RAM and the connection speed does not matter, unless you are sending or receiving very large files (photos).

* browsing web pages

Requires minimal CPU, 64MB RAM performs ok, but 128MB better. The speed you are connecting to the Internet is more important than the speed of the CPU. 56K modems are slow and DSL or cable are at least ten times faster).

* moving from home to work

Most laptops weigh around seven pounds. If this is important check out the weight. Laptops with a smaller display, typically 12.1" weigh less than four pounds.

* gaming

You should review the Minimum Systems Requirements of the games you play the most. Some games require a very fast CPU (2 GHz, lots of RAM (maybe 2GB) and a specialized graphics chip.

* music

Music does not require much in the way of computing resources. The amount of storage depends upon how many songs you have. The average song takes about 5MB, so 300 songs would be 1.5GB. Most people do not listen regularly to more than 300 songs?

* on-line shopping

This in essence is just like browsing the web. You should have at least 128MB. The CPU is not as important as your connection speed (56K modem is much slower than DSL or Cable).

* a database application or personal finance

Simple database applications like Goldmine or other sales applications do not usally need much in the way of CPU or Hard Drive space. Again check the Minimum Systems Requirments of your application. A very complex or large database (like Quickbooks) might need a large hard drive and a very fast CPU.

Determine what applications you need for your computing environment. They will not come with the laptop, as refurbished laptops often only include the Operating System (OS). If they don't include an installed OS, then be prepared to install it yourself. This is not for those that don't know what they are doing, so research what is involved before buying one without an OS.

Once you understand what you really need, you need to determine your budget.

Most old laptops do not have working batteries. If you need a battery, shop around to figure out how much they cost. You should know that on older laptops, batteries don't last more than an hour or two, so purchasing a new battery for the purpose of longer battery life may not be worth the expense. And by all means, stick with a name brand … IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Compaq-HP.

If you are new to computers and you want to browse the World Wide Web, you will need to obtain the services of an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

There are basically two types of Internet access options: broadband (cable modem, DSL, satellite) and lowband (dial-up). Broadband is the preferred type since download speeds can range from 128kbs to 6000kbs. The faster the better, of course. But, if your budget is tight, dial-up works just fine for typical browsing and e-mail usage.

Your choice of ISP will be dependent upon two things: budget and location. If the budget allows and you don't mind paying upwards of $50/month, you can purchase a broadband connection. However, even if money were no object, your physical location will determine what types of services are available to you. Broadband is not available everywhere (with the exception of satellite). If you have a telephone line, you can always choose dial-up. AOL's bread and butter is dial-up users. Do your research to determine what is available in your area and compare costs.

And for you gamers out there, you definitely need a reliable broadband connection. Gaming over a lowband connection can be a frustrating experience and sometimes even impossible. You will need to check out the minimum systems requirement for the games you are interested in using to make sure the CPU speed and the RAM and graphic chip requirements will suppor the games you wish to play.

Once you have figured out your budget and your needs and the requirements of y0ur laptop it is time to search for the laptop of your desires.

Some people choose to search at If you be sure to check out the seller to be sure you will have a smooth transaction.

Many don't want the hassle of bidding, so will use their favorite search engine: or or for the terms used laptops or refurbished laptop.

If you do you are likely to come across my business … If you see anything you like at our website or any of the other refurbished laptop vendors call. Most of the vendors have 800 numbers, so it does not cost anything to call. If you happen to call us you will be pleasantly surprised that someone will answer the phone, as it rarely goes to call forward.

An important thing to come in mind is how will the vendor treat you should there be a problem. If you don't like their attitude or they don't pick up the phone shop elsewhere. Price is important, but if you have a problem and spent the least amount of money possible the vendor may not have any resources available to help you after you have purchased and spent your money.

If all the above seems like too much of a hassle, then buy a new computer. It will cost around $800+ (out the door) but will come with a new battery and a one year warranty, although some new ones seem to have only 90 day warranties. It will also have the latest Windows XP system and an 800 number to call the vendor, should their be a problem. I'd call the 800# first before buying to get an idea what kind of support they will provide.

About The Author

David Perlmutter started in 1996. His first laptop, a Compaq Plus was purchased over 20 years ago, the 2nd year they were manufactured (called luggables at the time). If you told him ten years ago he would have sold 20,000+ laptops to over 12,000 people, he would have laughed hysterically. When not spending time with his family he enjoys the chance to walk in the grass on the golf course.

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This article was posted by permission.

Fri Aug 03, 2007 4:25 pm
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