The idea of buying a “refurbished” variant of the best gaming PC – or really used electronics – sounds inherently risky, doesn’t it? And yet, the global market for cheap gaming PCs and refurbished PCs in particular is growing rapidly and is projected to reach a total value of a staggering eight billion dollars by 2031 as consumers seek better value for money and the world increasingly faces such a problem faced is urgent need to reduce e-waste.
However, buying refurbished PCs or components isn’t as risky as it used to be; A sizable number of major PC manufacturers are offering refurbished systems at solid discounts, and major electronics retailers are now selling refurbished components and systems as well. Here we’ll break down the pros and cons of grabbing a refurbished kit, and what to look out for if you decide to do so.
What are you getting?
Obviously, the main benefit of a refurbished gaming PC (or a single component) is the price reduction that comes with it. This is especially true for entire systems, which are generally cheaper than buying a full set of refurbished components and assembling them yourself.
But what exactly is a “refurbished” product? It can mean a lot of things, and there’s no real way to tell what item it is that you’re trying to buy. In some cases it was simply a product return or a canceled order that cannot be resold at full price, or it may have been slightly damaged or non-functional.
Before it is sold as refurbished, any reputable seller will perform rigorous testing to ensure the PC or component works like new barring minor cosmetic imperfections (which should be listed in the product description). Note that some sellers use other terms to refer to refurbished kits, e.g. B. “renewed” or “recertified”.
Things to watch out for
The most important thing to look for when buying a refurbished PC is this: does it have a warranty? If not, hands off. A lack of warranty — even a 30- or 90-day warranty — can be a sign that you’re being ripped off by a dodgy refurbisher, so be sure to read the fine print before you buy.
Ideally, you’ll get a full guarantee, but 90 days should suffice; If a component has been poorly (or not at all) refurbished, it is very likely to fail before this time is up. However, you should not be careless; If you buy refurbished products, you should test them thoroughly upon receipt, ideally using benchmarking software that will push the hardware to its limits – such as: Prime95 for CPUs or Uniengine Heaven for GPUs.
Be sure to look for “Factory Refurbished” or sometimes “OEM Refurbished” in the product description of individual components, especially when browsing the second-hand markets for the best graphics cards and the best CPUs for gaming. This means the hardware has been “refurbished” by the original manufacturer, making it a far more trustworthy purchase than a third-party refurbished kit. Obviously this isn’t the case for most gaming PCs as the components within come from multiple manufacturers but still buy from the company that originally assembled the system if possible.
Additionally, any budding PC builder considering purchasing refurbished parts should make sure to consider which components are the safest to buy. PSUs are a big no-go as a dodgy PSU could burn out your other components, but factory restored CPUs and GPUs are generally a safe bet. Drives are usually fine too. Motherboards shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but check if the original box is included or not; There might be accessories included that you don’t want to be without.
When it comes to external hardware like monitors and keyboards, buy with caution. Refurbished gaming monitors were likely returned by the original buyer due to a dead pixel or other graphics issue, while other peripherals may be fine provided you get them from the original manufacturer. Corsair operates a solid renovated gear shop (opens in new tab)that includes things like keyboards, headsets, and a full gaming PC.
Where should I buy?
As mentioned above, the safest place to buy refurbished electronics is always from the original manufacturer. However, not all manufacturers sell refurbished kits, so you may need to look further afield to find a refurbished gaming PC at a good price – especially if you’re looking for an Alienware gaming PC, for example.
Avoid generic marketplaces like Amazon and eBay; This is a good way to end up with a system that doesn’t work, and getting a refund can be a difficult process. Electronics retailers can be reputable, such as Newegg in the US and LaptopsDirect in the UK.
There are also a variety of companies that work exclusively with refurbished electronics, such as StoneRefurb. Proceed with caution here, however; It’s best to do a little research on the seller first, even if it’s just a quick Google search to see if they’re legit. Trustpilot is a handy tool for this, providing you with external consumer opinions about the company. If you can’t find the vendor there, run for the hills!
Do you prefer your slot machines to be portable? Check out the latest cheap deals on gaming laptopsas well as the top performers in the field in our best gaming laptop to lead.