For many, getting a decent PC can be too expensive. Especially if they are looking to do anything more than light office work or internet browsing. Modern gaming demands expensive graphics cards and video/photo editing workstations need high end CPU's. It's only natural that people turn to the used PC market.

We will discuss the pros and cons of a second-hand computer, and share a few tips to avoid common pitfalls.


Let's start off by being positive, shall we. Used PC's can be a great way to get yourself on the PC ladder. You can find yourself amazing bargains on places like Ebay and Facebook marketplace.

PC enthusiasts like to upgrade their gear (a lot), meaning there is never a shortage of equipment available, be it individual parts or complete setups which include all the peripherals you'll need to get you started.

Another perk of the used PC market is the software that is already installed on the system. From games and operating systems, to office software and other specialist programs; these can all add to the overall value of the system but don't really get considered in the final price of a second-hand machine.

If you do your research you can get yourself a real steal.


I started positive, but unfortunately, the cons list is going to be slightly longer.

Although you can find bargains, you are just as likely to be sold a right old turkey. You need to know your stuff and be able to ask the right questions to the seller. If you are looking for a used PC as your first system, you are unlikely to have the experience to do this effectively.

Some people will use this lack of experience to take your hard earned cash Scammers will sometimes include fake components, such as graphics cards (which are all too easy to source cheaply on and use them to artificially inflate the sale price. These are really hard to spot until you have got the system home and realise that CS:GO is only running at 30FPS on low settings!

Speaking of FPS, you will see a lot of adverts boasting "THIS WILL RUN ANY GAME AT 100+ FPS". Sounds good, right? What they fail to mention is what settings they are running and what the resolution is. It's fairly easy to run a game @ 720p on low setting and get decent frame rates. What happens if you run a game at 1080p/1440p/4K? Not so great. Always check this with the seller.

Another frequent problem is sellers just bloating the price due and trying their luck. I came across the below on Facebook Marketplace recently:

The asking price for this system was £1200. Shocking! Let me show you why. Here is a breakdown of what these components would cost NEW:

GTX 1060 6GB: £200

AMD FX 8320: £60

16GB RAM: £70

120GB SSD: £20

1TB HDD: £35

60HZ Monitor: £150*

* no mention of screen size or resolution. I'm being generous with £150.

I have to make some assumptions on the following components as there is no detail in the advert, just a very blurry picture.

CASE: £75

PSU: £75



TOTAL: £785

You don't need to be a mathematical genius to see that the seller was way off with their valuation. Remember, the prices above are for new parts (except the FX 8320, as it was launched in 2012 and is not sold anymore), not used. I have also been quite generous with my assumptions.

If you are thinking of buying used - make sure you do your research. A quick search on Google will tell you how much each part costs. If there is no detail, ask the seller or avoid the listing completely.

Let's now think about the seller themselves. How do they come across? Is the advert professional and contain lots of detail? Are the photos clear? This usually shows you that they are knowledgeable and have pride in what they are selling. This, in turn, can give you a clue about how the system has been treated. Someone who cares about their system will make sure it is running sweet.

Other questions to ask a seller:

Are there any issues? You should be made aware of any damage etc

Has the CPU or GPU ever been overclocked? This can lead to damage if not done carefully.

Has the system been cleaned regularly? Dust is a PC's worst enemy and can do harm if not cleaned out.

Has the OS been kept up to date? Crucial for security updates and protecting against potential breaches.

The final thing to consider is the probable lack of warranty. New PC's and components are covered by manufacturer's warranty (usually between 1 and 3 years). Used systems will likely not have this, so will need to factor in possible repair costs when you consider making an offer.

If you have a tight budget, perhaps you can build your own PC? See here for my guide to building a decent gaming PC for less than £500.


If you are interested in buying a used PC, we would be happy to help you make the right choice.

Get in touch to see how we can help.