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Looking to replace your current computer? On one hand, this is an exciting time. It’s your chance to have a new experience and accomplish tasks you couldn’t before. On the other hand, your bank account is about to take a hit. It’s the best of times and the worst of times, so to speak. But you don’t have to rush out and order the latest machine. You can buy a used, pre-owned, or refurbished PC. And there are more reasons to consider this approach than you think.        

You Probably Don’t Need So Much Power

Why are you buying a computer? If you just need a way to write class notes and papers, it doesn’t matter if you have the latest CPU and piles of RAM. The same is true if you want something for browsing the web and online banking.

Open up the Task Manager (Windows), Activity Monitor (Mac) or System Monitor (Linux). The vast majority of your PC’s resources will be idle while doing these basic tasks. RAM may be your biggest issue, but even that stops being useful after a certain amount. Sure, if you’re editing videos professionally, you may know exactly which of the latest hardware components you need to improve your workflow. But don’t make the assumption that just because you want to play games, you need to buy a new machine.

You Could Save A Lot Of Money

Buying used or refurbished computers saves you hundreds of dollars. At the low end, you can walk into a thrift store and walk out with a functional PC for around a hundred bucks. That machine may be too old for the latest version of Windows, but with Linux, it may still have many years of life left. Even an older version of Windows, like Windows 7, is fine as long as it still receives security updates. You don’t have to go for hardware quite so outdated, though. Many websites offer computers that are only a few years old. Consider buying the previous generation of laptops from the likes of Dell, HP, and Apple.

Oftentimes, the advancements in current models are cosmetic, such as a higher screen resolution or more battery life. Are they nice to have? Sure. But again, depending on your needs, there’s little reason to pay that new sticker tax. 

You May Start Using Your PCs Longer

You may think that buying a PC when it’s new gives you the maximum life out of a product. And yes, this is technically true. But getting accustomed to using older hardware can condition you to get more years out of your hardware.

How so? You’ll change your behaviour. Over time, you’ll learn what software is most efficient.

You know when to close programs you’re no longer using. And you’ll perhaps transfer more of your data onto an external drive with more space, putting less strain on the one in your PC.

If you’ve taken an older, slower PC back to life once, you know how to speed your computer up again as it starts slowing down. But there are no guarantees. You simply don’t know which components may be on their last leg, and there is no warranty to fall back on. But this point isn’t about the longevity of your hardware. It’s about your change in mindset and expertise.   

You Help To Reduce Environmental Waste

Consumer electronics are a massive source of environmental waste. The plastics used are made of fossil fuels, and many of the components require rare earth materials. These devices take hundreds of years to decompose, and they leach all kinds of toxic substances in the process.

Buying pre-owned machines reduces the number of new machines that get made. Not only that, you extend the amount of time it takes for a computer to end up in a landfill. So if you’re conscious of your environmental footprint, you may want to start shopping used. Just keep an eye on how much power an older hard drive consumes.