Is it a good idea to buy used parts?

tm8000

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Jan 31, 2018
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Is it a better idea to buy new parts or buy higher spec old ones? Both in terms of performance and durability.
 

Giroro

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Jan 22, 2015
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If a semiconductor is run within it's specs, it can essentially last forever... or they could back before everything switched over to tin solder.
But the problem with used parts is that you never know how they were treated before you got them. If you think the seller might have been pushing a chip past it's limits or overclocking, then I would avoid that seller. Also, ensure that the seller knows how to properly ship and protect their chips from ESD.

What -won't- last forever, is thermal paste and electrolytic capacitors. For this reason I wouldn't buy a GPU that is more than a couple years old (even new) unless it uses higher end capacitors and you are prepared to replace the thermal paste... which is usually trickier than on a CPU. That said, GPUs are crazy expensive right now so in this case I think it could be worth getting an older one with the intention of replacing it when prices go down.
Don't buy a used Power Supply, ever. Don't even buy a "cheap" power supply or recycle a power supply from an old PC. Power supplies have big capacitors that wear out and cheaper ones are often advertised way beyond their actual capacity. The risk to the rest of your PC isn't worth saving $50. I would also be cautious of buying a used hard drive as hard drives can fail after only a couple years of use.

You should have no serious problems reusing an old case though. Very-old cases usually were a little harder to install components into, but anything somewhat modern should be ok. With a used case you might not get USB 3 on the front panel, and the case fans may have worn out or gotten noisy, case fans are not very expensive, but factor in an extra few dollars when comparing value.
 

core0

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Jan 30, 2018
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How old we talking? Also, figure out what the seller did with the processor before you buy, who knows if he ran that thing into the ground.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator
What kind of parts are you talking about here? Motherboards and CPUs? GPUs? Cases and power supplies?

There's two parts I would never buy used - power supplies and hard drives. The reasons being is that you don't know how old power supplies are, and capacitors wear out over time, and your PSU won't be as good as a new one. And as far as hard drives go - the main reason is that people forget to format them when they sell them, and you never know what you might find on them.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator


It's always a good idea to ask the seller what condition these items are in when you're buying them. If they can provide pictures of the items, even better.
 

Giroro

Honorable
Jan 22, 2015
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If a semiconductor is run within it's specs, it can essentially last forever... or they could back before everything switched over to tin solder.
But the problem with used parts is that you never know how they were treated before you got them. If you think the seller might have been pushing a chip past it's limits or overclocking, then I would avoid that seller. Also, ensure that the seller knows how to properly ship and protect their chips from ESD.

What -won't- last forever, is thermal paste and electrolytic capacitors. For this reason I wouldn't buy a GPU that is more than a couple years old (even new) unless it uses higher end capacitors and you are prepared to replace the thermal paste... which is usually trickier than on a CPU. That said, GPUs are crazy expensive right now so in this case I think it could be worth getting an older one with the intention of replacing it when prices go down.
Don't buy a used Power Supply, ever. Don't even buy a "cheap" power supply or recycle a power supply from an old PC. Power supplies have big capacitors that wear out and cheaper ones are often advertised way beyond their actual capacity. The risk to the rest of your PC isn't worth saving $50. I would also be cautious of buying a used hard drive as hard drives can fail after only a couple years of use.

You should have no serious problems reusing an old case though. Very-old cases usually were a little harder to install components into, but anything somewhat modern should be ok. With a used case you might not get USB 3 on the front panel, and the case fans may have worn out or gotten noisy, case fans are not very expensive, but factor in an extra few dollars when comparing value.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator


Yeah I completely agree 100% here. Never, ever buy a used PSU. And the other thing I would say about buying used hard drives is that people just don't forget to completely wipe them before they sell. And you never know what they are going to contain. And I've got quite a few pretty funny stories about that.

I've sold some of my old cases through eBay and I've got a couple more to sell too. Just you know use the usual precaution and check with the seller on the condition of the item before buying. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
 

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