The pros and cons of buying refurbished PC parts

Posted by nik on June 8, 2017

Are you considering purchasing refurbished or used PC parts to cut down on the cost of building your own PC? There can certainly be some cost savings there, but refurbished and used PC parts do also have drawbacks that should definitely be considered before buying. In fact, there are some components that you shouldn’t even buy used or even refurbished.

The good

There are some good aspects to buying used or refurbished. For starters, you’ll save a ton of money. In fact, you might even be able to snag premium components — such as the NVIDIA Titan X — for a whole lot less than they would cost brand new. So, going this route might let you create a beefier system within your budget.

There’s also the practicality to it — you might not necessarily need a brand new component when a used or refurbished one works just fine.

But, when it comes down to it, the primary bonus to buying used or refurbished is either saving yourself money or getting premium components for less.

The bad

Of course, there’s some negative aspects to buying used or refurbished, too. You don’t know how rough the previous user was on his system — it’s almost impossible to identify the condition it’s in. You could be buying a used or refurbished part, only to have it die a week later, and maybe even take other components with it.

Generally, when you buy used or refurbished, you don’t have a warranty either. You might get a short 30-day warranty with a refurbished product, but what it covers can be extremely limited. And when you buy used, you don’t get any warranty — the risk is completely on you.

Depending on who you get these parts from, it can always be a gamble. There’s a reason why some stores out there outright refuse to offer returns on opened electrical products or components after purchase.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Some parts are going to be resilient and are worth taking the risk on buying refurbished or used. However, there’s some components that should always be purchased brand new, and from reputable manufacturers, too.


If you’re purchasing a hard drive, this is generally something that should be bought new. There’s a lot of very precise moving parts within hard drives, and as such, they fail all the time. If the previous owner mishandled it or it got roughed up during shipping, it may not even work upon its arrival, and if it does, the chances of it lasting a long time are slim.

SSDs, on the other hand, have absolutely no moving parts. In fact, they’re pretty resilient. And while they can fail just like any other PC component, you’ll no doubt get a lot of life out of it, whether buying refurbished or used. This is one product we wouldn’t bat an eye at not buying new.

Power Supplies

Power supplies should never be purchased used or refurbished. Sure, you might get lucky buying a refurbished power supply from a retailer, but it’s still a gamble when you consider that a malfunctioning power supply can always take other components with it. You do not want to end up with a cheap or low quality power supply. You want to make sure you’re not only buying them new, but getting them from a reputable manufacturer, too.

Motherboards and CPUs

Motherboards are kind of the same way — they’re responsible for being connected to a lot of components. And so, a failure could be pretty devastating if it were to take other components with it. If you’re buying used, you also risk damaging your hardware, since moving connections around from where they were previously can cause static discharge, and you don’t want that.

With actually processors, you should be fine buying refurbished or used. In the event of buying used, just make sure you know that it was working beforehand. If it was working, chances are, it’ll continue to work for a long time — there’s not a whole lot that can go wrong with a CPU. And, you can’t really break them — even in the event of overheating, there’s internal technology that does a emergency shutdown of sorts to protect the CPU. The only thing to look out for when buying used specifically is that you’re not getting something with bent pins. Besides that, buying used or refurbished, you should be completely fine!

Video cards

Unless you find a really good deal, used and refurbished video cards is another one you’re going to want to steer clear of. If you can find a high-end one at a steep discount, it might be tempting to snag it, but in a lot of ways, the video card is similar to the motherboard. There’s a lot of systems going on here, and you really don’t want one to fail on you just because of the inconvenience and frustration. However, if you end up with a failed video card, it’s not really going to hurt anything else. So if you want to risk it, you’re safe in that sense. It’s more of a matter that you have a 50/50 chance of getting some that’s going to last you years or a couple months, maybe less.

Disc reader

When it comes to disc readers, you’re very safe buying refurbished or even used. However, you’re not going to save yourself much money here. Over the years, they have really come down in price. You can get a very good one for less than $100 these days. You can get standard options for even less than that. Unfortunately, even on refurbished models, you’re not going to be seeing many discounts here.


Be cautious when purchasing refurbished or used monitors. More often than not, you’ll find a small issue with it in the form of a dead pixel. Customers return monitors for this reason all the time, and in many cases, the retailer simply puts it back on the shelf. However, if you can find a monitor with a good warranty and/or return policy, this isn’t a bad place to save yourself some money.


All in all, buying refurbished or used computer parts aren’t a bad thing. In fact, if you’re careful, you can save yourself a lot of money. As we listed above, there’s just a few components that you shouldn’t take a risk on, with the major one being your power supply. When you’re buying any components refurbished though, one thing to look out for is to try and a part with a manufacturer warranty, instead of one with the retailer or reseller. If something fails, you can get the manufacturer to warranty it out. It’s usually a fight when it comes to retailer or reseller warranties, though.

Have you bought refurbished or used PC parts before? Let us know your experience in the comments section below!

One thought on “The pros and cons of buying refurbished PC parts”

Kit Hannigan says:
It sure is nice to know that people can get top of the line parts for less if they choose to buy used parts. My son is looking to try his hand at video editing, and he needs a powerful computer to handle this kind of workload. I will be sure to share this tip with him so that he can consider getting used but high-quality parts for his pc build.

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