Author Topic: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?  (Read 1762 times)

alsoknownasDean

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Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« on: January 14, 2018, 04:49:26 AM »
My old MacBook's starting to show signs of it's age, so I'm keeping an eye on what to do once it goes to the big Apple Store in the sky.

Given it's nine years old and performance is still adequate for my needs, obviously I don't need a lot. However, that got me thinking.

I'll be likely reverting to a PC desktop next (probably Linux, but I'm open to Windows 10), and of course I don't want to go crazy spending truckloads of cash for a simple machine that won't be doing anything hugely intensive.

I could go and build a nice machine using lower-end desktop hardware (either an Intel i3 or the Pentium G series CPUs or the AMD equivalent, or even the cheap boards with the built in Celeron J3455) or buying an Intel NUC and adding bits to it.

For a fair bit less cash, one could pick up a used ex-business desktop that would run an Intel Core i5 or i7 from the Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge era (2012-13). Pop an SSD in one of those (maybe a bit more RAM too) and it'd still fly with either Windows 10 or Linux.

There's a bit of an interesting Mustachian conundrum that results. Buying the used desktop means that you're saving something from becoming e-waste by repurposing hardware, at the cost of higher power consumption. Buying the lower-end new hardware means you've got something that'll use less power (and of course be new with all that entails), but you're buying something new rather than recycling a perfectly good machine, and it's more expensive to buy.

What would a Mustachian do? I've over-simplified this obviously, but it's food for thought :)

Ocelot

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 07:42:19 PM »
All depends what you're planning on doing with it. If it's nothing too intensive, it's amazing what modern low-mid end parts are capable of. I'd consider a smart i3 build to be probably the best value and def more futureproof than an aging higherend option. Get a little more RAM than you think you'll need and an SSD (the one luxury that is absolutely worth it) and you'll be happy for a good few years.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 05:48:45 AM »
All depends what you're planning on doing with it. If it's nothing too intensive, it's amazing what modern low-mid end parts are capable of. I'd consider a smart i3 build to be probably the best value and def more futureproof than an aging higherend option. Get a little more RAM than you think you'll need and an SSD (the one luxury that is absolutely worth it) and you'll be happy for a good few years.

I'll have a look and price out an i3 (or lower end Ryzen) build. Maybe it's less expensive than I think, especially over the long term. :)

I've seen plenty of machines like these around on eBay for under $200 (Aussie dollars), although in that case it'd need extra RAM added:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Acer-Veriton-X4610G-i5-2400-3-1GHz-4GB-500GB-DVDRW-Win-7-PC/173127017931?hash=item284f2ca5cb:g:SbUAAOSwhiZabpJ9

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/HP-8200-Elite-Core-i5-2400-3-1GHz-4G-250G-HDD-W7P-COA-NO-OS/263134281880?_trkparms=aid%3D555017%26algo%3DPL.CASSINI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20170810094027%26meid%3Dcc54d359c3a44d91b5e39d26f2d3d6c9%26pid%3D100855%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26%26itm%3D263134281880&_trksid=p2349526.c100855.m4779

I wonder which is better environmentally, one brand new machine that's used for six-eight years, or using refurbished/used older hardware, but replacing more regularly?

ooeei

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 06:42:16 AM »
All depends what you're planning on doing with it. If it's nothing too intensive, it's amazing what modern low-mid end parts are capable of. I'd consider a smart i3 build to be probably the best value and def more futureproof than an aging higherend option. Get a little more RAM than you think you'll need and an SSD (the one luxury that is absolutely worth it) and you'll be happy for a good few years.

I'll have a look and price out an i3 (or lower end Ryzen) build. Maybe it's less expensive than I think, especially over the long term. :)

I've seen plenty of machines like these around on eBay for under $200 (Aussie dollars), although in that case it'd need extra RAM added:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Acer-Veriton-X4610G-i5-2400-3-1GHz-4GB-500GB-DVDRW-Win-7-PC/173127017931?hash=item284f2ca5cb:g:SbUAAOSwhiZabpJ9

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/HP-8200-Elite-Core-i5-2400-3-1GHz-4G-250G-HDD-W7P-COA-NO-OS/263134281880?_trkparms=aid%3D555017%26algo%3DPL.CASSINI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20170810094027%26meid%3Dcc54d359c3a44d91b5e39d26f2d3d6c9%26pid%3D100855%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26%26itm%3D263134281880&_trksid=p2349526.c100855.m4779

I wonder which is better environmentally, one brand new machine that's used for six-eight years, or using refurbished/used older hardware, but replacing more regularly?

Re-using existing stuff is almost certainly better environmentally, but it's a bit of a crapshoot how long it will last.

Good luck with pricing RAM these days, it's crazy expensive.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 06:43:47 AM »
Are you sure you need a computer or could a tablet do the work as well? That might be a cheap alternative.

orangepalm

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 07:38:41 AM »
When it comes to desktop PC's I tend to prefer to stick to lower end new hardware. Like Ocelot says, I find that (unless you want high-end gaming) nowadays the low-end parts aren't really low end at all, as long as you make sure you go SSD and 8+GB RAM.

With laptops, I'm convinced that used high-end, business-grade, gear is a much better buy. After having been burned way too often with consumer grade plastic laptops (looking at you Acer, Lenovo, HP, Dell... I guess everybody!) that die way too young, from now I'll only buy used notebooks with a sturdy, aluminum, frame (like an HP EliteBook).

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 10:48:36 AM »
Idle power consumption of older generation hardware will be very similar to idle of newer desktop hardware. We’re talking a couple watts here or there difference.

You never know about the kind of abuse the used systems might have had. Things can and do wear out, but the gaming PC my kids use daily is an overclocked system out of the Sandy Bridge era and it still runs great for the most part.

For basic productivity type stuff, the brand new low end is still super nice with enough RAM and an SSD. And that way you have warranties and whatnot.

BDWW

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 11:45:14 AM »
Man, I don't really have any advice about old hardware, I always buy new, but I cannot recommend NUCs enough. The desk real estate saved is amazing even replacing mini-ITX builds.

Quote
Idle power consumption of older generation hardware will be very similar to idle of newer desktop hardware. We’re talking a couple watts here or there difference.

We actually did some calculation in that regard at work, we upped our replacement schedule for some of the older desktops, as the power savings more than paid the remaining depreciation. Of course this is assuming non-idle for ~8 hours a day 200 days a year.

FYI NUCs idle is generally under 10w, while a desktop will draw anywhere from 40-100w*. A NUC under load is generally under 25w.  *More if you have a high end build/video card.

*The desktop machine in front of me is i7-4770, with an Nvidia 1060, and idle via killowatt is right around 105w** 70w.

**Actually that was with my old 290x, the 1060 dropped it quite a bit.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 11:49:52 AM by BDWW »

Ftao93

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2018, 11:55:35 AM »
I like to buy mid to upper-mid range.

That being said, I'm now approaching 'ancient' for a gamer, and a mid-grade machine more than meets my needs. 

usually low end isn't too much cheaper, and I got 7 years out of my last PC.    I'll probably regift this one before another 7 go by, but I don't see why it wouldn't at least meet my needs for 5.  I'm on the stupid thing way too much, but for $200/year I think I did well.

Systems101

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2018, 11:57:40 AM »
When it comes to desktop PC's I tend to prefer to stick to lower end new hardware. Like Ocelot says, I find that (unless you want high-end gaming) nowadays the low-end parts aren't really low end at all, as long as you make sure you go SSD and 8+GB RAM.

With laptops, I'm convinced that used high-end, business-grade, gear is a much better buy. After having been burned way too often with consumer grade plastic laptops (looking at you Acer, Lenovo, HP, Dell... I guess everybody!) that die way too young, from now I'll only buy used notebooks with a sturdy, aluminum, frame (like an HP EliteBook).

A few thoughts here.  First, on laptops, @orangepalm is right on - buy enterprise, even if you have to buy new (though to be pedantic, not all good enterprise ones are aluminum frame, but you DO want an internal frame, not the consumer model "it's attached to the plastic frame" situation)

On the low end desktops, my experience is that as they get cheaper they tend to get *really* noisy.  The nice thing is that if you really go the direction of a lower end system, you are often in the lower power schemes, so you can start to approach a near-zero-noise product if you avoid the major vendors.  I have a family member who recently got a silent machine from https://silentpc.com/ and is practically in love with it... it's admittedly a price premium, but I value the lack of noise, so it's well worth it, in my opinion.  (I have a self-built silent PC)... so this is another point where it comes back to thinking about what you really want from it...


GuitarBrian

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2018, 01:01:39 PM »
I put in a vote for a used 2012/2013 i5 business desktop. They are so cheap! And perfectly acceptable for what you are talking about. I paid $150 for a refurbished one with a genuine Windows 10 pro license. 8gb RAM, 1tb HDD. (I upgraded the boot drive to an SSD for $40) and I've been using it to transcode videos. It is about 50% slower than  moderately high end specs today. That's pretty amazing.

CPU i5 3470 @ 3.2ghz (CPU Benchmark 6660)

If you go to the tech recycle center of a major college. A friend and I went to the University of Iowa near Cedar Rapids and bought basically the same computer without a hard drive for $30... And it came with a really nice 27" monitor. So that may be a good option if you don't want Windows 10.

FI4good

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2018, 01:20:48 PM »
I bought the cheapest mac mini and it's fine for my needs. I was able to transfer my music, iPhone & iPod backups easily.

Sits just behind my TV and plugs into one of the hdmi inputs , a £5 usb mouse and keyboard. 

I like that its small enough to pop in a bag to take with me if i go visit my mum.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Computer hardware, used higher end or new low end?
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2018, 04:02:09 PM »
I too have a 9 year old clamshell macbook with broken bits of plastic on the corners!

The difference is mine has a SSD and an "upgrade" to the maximum 4GB RAM. It is as responsive as a macbook made 5 years later and runs High Sierra without issue. I've considered buying the $7 kit to convert the optical drive into a second hard drive bay, but I don't really need to. If your machine is stock, consider that the above upgrades could be done for $50-60 and might solve your problems for years.

I routinely scavenge desktop computers off people's trash piles or from family and recycle/repurpose them. Usually malware made Windows not work. Other issues to look for:

-Power supplies can be shorted out by roaches. Remove roach toast with a bristle brush and reassemble!
-Hard drives occasionally fail.
-Fans get louder, but rarely fail.
-HPs are junk. Like 2 broken audio plugs on the same box junk.

Other than that, desktop PCs are built to last. My dad is somehow using hardware from 2003, which is slow even on linux. Look around and you'll find a nice quad core for the price of a restaurant dinner.