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Buying refurbished PC's

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Posted (edited)

I've been using Thinkpads for a few years too,  Notes,  I think the first was an X61 with WinXP, so perhaps not as long as you.

I recently ( Feb this year) bought an 'A' grade T430 with Win7 pro x64 on it. I went to a supplier I'd bought from before. It was an i7 3520 with 8GB of RAm and a 1TB drive.

 After getting it I dismantled it, fitted a 256GB mSATA SSD (a chip, not a normal drive), upgraded to 16GB and replaced the 1366 res screen with a 1600 res one. All bought from eBay.

And that's the thing with the Lenovo Thinkpads, they're built like tanks with a metal subchassis and all the screws are set screws. You can find instructions of all these procedures, including pdf maintenance manuals on-line.

On Friday I bought a quad core i7 3632 CPU for it (+ some thermal paste) which I installed today. It goes very nicely now.

Providing one goes for a good supplier with a proper return policy (even for used hardware) buying 2nd hand shouldn't be a problem.

Edited by JohnG
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23 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

Thanks.

I've been using ThinkPads for decades. I like the smaller footprint of the older models for on-stage better than the new ones, which is why I'm thinking refurbished.

I've seen them as low as $100 and up from there. The model I'm retiring is an R30.

Notes

New ones are much smaller than those old clunkers.  Yes your 17 year old machine has a "square" screen, but there is also the thickness component.  

If that thing was actually usable for 17 years, that is a small miracle.  Current model life expectency isn't even a fraction of that.

The T430 feels about twice the size of a T490.  

Unless I was the original owner I wouldn't look at anything older than a T440.   That is already a 5 year old laptop, which is end of life time frame for many users.  

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I just bought a T500 with Win7 installed for $160 in "A" condition from one of NewEgg's premier sellers. One year parts and labor guarantee, 90 days free return if defective, and if it works but I simply don't like it, I pay 15% restocking.

Win7 is good because it's never going to go on the Internet. Everything but Windows necessary apps will be removed, Encore notation app will be added. Lyrics only will appear on WordPad, MP3s will play on Media Player, and music notation will appear on Encore. That's all the machine has to do.

My other 2002 Think Pad still works, but since I dropped it the hinge broke and replacing the hinge isn't cost effective because they don't make that part anymore. It's loose and if the screen is wiggled, horizontal lines appear across the display. I think if I didn't drop it, my other R30 would probably still be working.

For on-stage I don't care about the weight or the thickness. Carrying the computer is one of the lightest things I schlep to the gig. The speakers are 40 pounds each, plus a full 12 space rack (full of synth modules, PA mixer, + FX), 2 guitars, one sax, two wind synths, one Buchla Thunder MIDI controller, mics, cables, and stands. Weight bearing exercise without paying gym membership.

I've had nothing but good, reliable, life spans from ThinkPads so that's all I buy.

On stage I have two ThinkPads up and running at all times. Both are equipped to display either lyrics or music and play mp3 files at the same time. It's easier using two though.

The redundancy is more important. Twice since I went computer in 2002 I've had an on-stage failure (1) a hard drive started making noise. I moved the USB connection to the second computer and ran the rest of the night on one computer. The show must go on, and the client or audience never knew there was a problem. (2) A CMOS battery died and I didn't know I could manually set the clock and keep going so I ran all night on one computer.  After the tech replaced the battery (charged me $5 and showed me how to do it) it went back in service.

I gig for a living, and do one-nighters, which are notoriously hard on gear. To have the ThinkPads last that long is a testament to their durability.

Plus I like the "Eraser Head" pointer much better than the glide strip. It took some getting used to, but I can move the cursor, scroll, and click left and right without ever leaving my fingers from the 'home' position on the keyboard. That saves a lot of time and movement. Plus when standing up and rocking back and forth on stage, the glide strip is much harder to control than the eraser head.

---<related>---

I saw a video tour of the International Space Station. When they got to the computers that regulate all their life support systems, air, water, pressure and what-have-you, they had two redundant ThinkPad computers. Their reliability is legendary.

If this thread is still alive or if I can find it when the computer arrives, I'll give a report. It might help another person.

Insights and incites by Notes

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37 minutes ago, InstrEd said:

Let us know Mesh how it works out for you.

Will definitely post back once I buy it...still looking around. :)

 

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Posted (edited)

The official Dell refurbished store. https://www.dellrefurbished.com/

100 day limited warranty, and 30 day returns.

Wouldn't hurt to browse around and see what deals they have. Free ground ship on clearance items. -> Current clearance deals: https://www.dellrefurbished.com/cheap-computers

I bought a refurb laptop from them in 2005. It still works, but it's an obsolete single core 32-bit P4 maxed out with 2GB RAM and Win XP.

But it does have Sonar 8.5 Producer installed. :D

 

Edited by abacab
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I'm thinking of getting this: https://www.newegg.com/lenovo-thinkcentre-m83-business-desktops-workstations/p/N82E16883998897?Item=N82E16883998897

Will be installing a 1TB Crucial SSD to it as well as CbB (just for my children to play around with). The main use is for general purpose, but wondered if the 8GB of RAM/rest is enough for very minimal DAW usage (playing with a few synths etc..)?

It's sitting in the cart ready to buy  :).

     

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3 hours ago, Mesh said:

I'm thinking of getting this: https://www.newegg.com/lenovo-thinkcentre-m83-business-desktops-workstations/p/N82E16883998897?Item=N82E16883998897

Will be installing a 1TB Crucial SSD to it as well as CbB (just for my children to play around with). The main use is for general purpose, but wondered if the 8GB of RAM/rest is enough for very minimal DAW usage (playing with a few synths etc..)?

It's sitting in the cart ready to buy  :).

     

I think 8GB will be fine, as long as you're not using lots of sample based synths.

I've got plenty of projects that still work fine in 32-bit SPLAT which is limited to 3.5GB RAM.

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Posted (edited)

@ Mesh -

Per Alan Parsons, RAM is everything!

Why settle for only 8 GB?  Memory has gotten very cheap lately.  For dual-channel use, you'd want two sticks of exactly the same RAM.  So, if you're system comes with two 4 GB sticks, then you'll actually be faster than if there's only one 8 GB stick in there.  That said, if you DO have only one stick in there, you just need to get a second matching stick to get the performance boost.

Edited by craigb

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3 minutes ago, craigb said:

@ Mesh -

Per Alan Parsons, RAM is everything!

Why settle for only 8 GB?  Memory has gotten very cheap lately.  For dual-channel use, you'd want two sticks of exactly the same RAM.  So, if you're system comes with two 4 GB sticks, then you'll actually be faster than if there's only one 8 GB stick in there.  That said, if you DO have only one stick in there, you just need to get a second matching stick to get the performance boost.

I can always add more RAM, but it just came with 8GB's. Like you said, RAM is cheap so will add as needed and don't really want to put too much into this PC as it's just a utility PC.

However, Alan is right! :P

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Posted (edited)

I just picked up a Dell mini desktop at a local computer shop for $75.  i5 2nd gen 3.1GHz, 8G DDR3.  no HD, no OS (duh).  I already had a 1T mechanical drive with Win10 installed I can use for it.

I plan to use CdB and video editing software on it for recording at church. 

Edited by Beagle
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Barebones Windows 10 Home will actually install in just 2 GB of RAM (the Amazon AWS "Value" WorkSpace does this), but really, WHY???  I guess you could play solitaire on it - maybe...

We always recommend 8 GB for Windows 10.

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Bottom line is to just watch your Task Manager when you have everything loaded up that you intend to use at the same time.

If you still have memory available, then you don't need more. Simple as that. Extra memory serves no purpose, and will not make your computer any faster.

If you are maxing it out, then you will notice a performance boot by adding memory, because then you won't be swapping any memory to your disk swap file.

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While you're watching look for hard faults - those are bad.  If the computer runs out of actual memory to use, it will switch to "virtual memory" which translates to using the hard drive.  Although SSD's are MUCH faster than the older, spinning disks, they are still much slower than actual RAM.

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This is just an empty comment so abacab has to make a new bottom line. 😁

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