Test: is it worth purchasing a second-hand laptop?

Laptops can be expensive right? The question is, is it worth purchasing a second hand one? Well, I decided to purchase one and put it to the test. This article will cover my recommendations, what you need to know and most importantly of all the test.

Before making a purchase

It is important to research into what you are purchasing, for example, Many second-hand laptops don’t come with hard drives. This is a perfectly normal thing for a seller to do, it’s usually done to protect the seller’s data. If the laptop doesn’t come with a hard drive, it’s very likely that the laptop won’t come with an operating system unless the laptop comes with an installation disk. On the other hand, if the laptop does come with a hard drive and an operating system it is important to know which one you are purchasing. If you are purchasing a laptop with Windows XP or Vista, you need to know that Microsoft has discontinued support for these systems. This means that they will no longer get any essential security updates. Many software vendors have also stopped support for these systems meaning that the latest versions of the programs can’t be installed.


My Purchase

The internet is full of interesting websites that sell second-hand laptops, I decided to look on eBay. There were loads to choose from my and my budget for the entire project was £250, that’s for the laptop itself and any parts. Below is the laptop that I decided to purchase:


  • CPU: Intel Core i3 2310M 2.10GHz x2
  • RAM: No Ram included
  • Storage: No Storage device included
  • OS: No OS included

Price: £90 – sold as spares and repair

Please Note!

If you do not feel confident opening up a laptop or computer, please take it to a PC repair shop! The software (Operating System) and components purchased for this laptop may not work on yours! It is important to research compatibility. Purchasing laptops that are labelled as faulty or spares and repairs can be very risky if you don’t have enough information about the product.

As you can tell, the above laptop was sold as spares and repair. Like I mentioned above, it can be risky buying laptops for spares and repairs, However, the auction did state that the laptop was in full working order with the exception of the RAM and hard drive being removed by the seller. The seller has also included a 3-month warranty. So having spent £90 on the laptop, I needed to acquire a storage device, RAM and an operating system. I decided to purchase a hard drive. Normally in these situations, I would recommend an SSD since they can improve speeds. However, the laptop will be used for tasks which require a lot of storage space. Since the laptop is second hand, I did consider to purchase the required components second-hand too, however, hard drives are so cheap these days that I decided to purchase a new 1TB hard drive instead. However the RAM was purchased second-hand, it was an 8GB stick. Last, of all, I purchased Windows 10 Home for £74.

Money Spent on making the laptop work:

  • Hard drive: (Toshiba 1TB): £42
  • RAM (Kingston 8GB): £34.99
  • OS (Windows 10 Home): £74

Total spent: £240.99

I spent £240.99 all together on this laptop. Which is a lot cheaper compared to new laptops of similar spec. There were laptops available at a cheaper price with a hard drive and RAM included, but they had a small amount of storage space and a low amount of RAM.

Tips for purchasing a second-hand laptop

  • If purchasing a spares and repairs laptop, make sure you are confident enough to purchase it and that the seller accepts returns.
  • Make sure that a power adapter is included
  • Make sure that the operating system is still supported
  • It’s always good if the seller has a good feedback rating
  • If unsure, ask the seller or forums
  • If you don’t feel confident rebuilding a laptop or computer buy one in working order!

After 1 Week of usage

In order to make the test fair, I used this laptop as my main PC for a week. In fact, I’m writing this very article on this laptop. While conducting basic tasks such as browsing the internet, playing basic games and basic PhotoShop I had no performance issues. In fact, considering the fact that it has an old processor I was quite surprised at the speed of the laptop. I was able to use Photoshop and conduct more demanding tasks too.

So I have any issues?

Some might say that buying a second-hand laptop can give you more problems then it’s worth and that can be true! That is the exact reason that you need to be careful when purchasing second-hand goods. A good thing to look out for is whether the laptop or computer comes with a warranty. This can be a lifesaver when something goes wrong. If you don’t feel confident rebuilding a laptop or computer buy one in working order! I have been building and re-building computers for years if you are new to this, please be aware that you may face a lot more issues, which might lead to spending more money.

So to answer this question, No I did not have any issues with this laptop. However, that’s not to say that I won’t face issues if I decide to buy another second-hand PC.

The outcome of the test

I am very happy with the purchase. The laptop will be used as a test PC for testing various operating systems. However since it doesn’t have a new processor, it will struggle with the more demanding tasks. The Core i3 wasn’t intended for the heavier tasks in the first place and comparing it to other processors that were on the market during it’s time you can see that similar processors have a better overall benchmark.

CPU Benchmark:

Available here: http://cpuboss.com/cpu/Intel-Core-i3-2310M

When purchasing a PC, it is very important to consider what you will be using it for. Heavier tasks such as photo editing, programming or even gaming require more resources. You can find my test results below: