Facebook Marketplace is a great way to buy and sell used goods. There are definitely great deals to be had. Even we have scooped up some really great buys on tech to resell in the store. However, many times we see items grossly overpriced based on their specs. We also see many items with claims that we know aren’t true based on what they’re selling. So how can the average person tell if it’s a fair price when it comes to computers?
- Gaming PC GPU Model Check
- Verify Make and Model of the PC
- Hard Drive Health via S.M.A.R.T
- Check the CPU and RAM specs
- Ensure Windows is activated
Gaming PC GPU
This is where we see the most problematic claims. If the seller claims a PC as a “Gaming PC”, ask for the GPU make and Model. Every gamer knows what graphics card they have, so the seller should be able to tell you fairly quickly. If they graphics card is listed as Intel 620 or “Embedded Graphics”, it is not a gaming pc. It will not play AAA rated games well if it all. We recommend, at minimum an AMD Radeon 480 or NVidia 1050 ti or above.
Verify Make and Model
Facebook Sellers many times won’t give many details on a machine. If the computer is a name brand, ask for the make and model. Why is this important? It will give an approximate age and allow you research it’s value in other places such as Amazon, NewEgg, or Ebay. They will all differ on price but you should be able to get an approximate value.
Hard Drive Health
One of the most common failures on a PC is the hard drive. The older it is, the more likely a failure is to occur. This is especially true with spinning disk where the speed is measured in RPM. SSD drives don’t have moving parts, but they still fail due to their storage cells degrading. Newer SSD drives have a much longer life than the older models due to changes in the technology. Spinning disks sometimes have a date of manufacture listed on them. Anything older than 5-6 years old is going beyond it’s life expectancy. Dell and HP have built in utilities that will tell you the SMART status instantly. Windows can also report it via the command line.
Ask for the actual Specs
Don’t be satisified with just the processor model of i7, i5, AMD A12, etc. Get the actual model of the CPU. Intel CPUs make this easy. The first number after the model indicates the generation. The smaller the number, the older the CPU is. So and i7-8500 is an 8th generation CPU. That’s around 3 years old. AMD has two series. Athalon and Ryzen. Ryzen follows the Intel model and uses a series indicator. Ryzen 5 1600 is a first generation Ryzen 5 that’s about 4 years old. They are currently at the 3000 series with the 4000 series debuting soon (at the time of this writing).
Ask for the specific amount of memory and which series. Memory should be atleast DDR3. DDR4 is newer and DDR2 is very old. If a computer has less than 4GB of RAM, move on. That’s the minimum we recommend for any machine. Anything with 8GB or up is preferable. Memory speed is also important. Anything less than 1600Mhz probably isn’t going to perform all that well. Overall if it’s DDR3 and 4GB or more, you’re in good shape.
When buying a PC from the marketplace, make sure that windows is activated. Many times good intentioned people will rebuild a system and use the free 30 day trial activation. Every windows 7 and up computer can be upgraded, for free, to windows 10. So there’s no reason for it not to be activated. When you check out the computer, click Start, then the gear icon, and Update & Security. There is an Activation section that should say if Windows is Activated or Not Activated.