Any sleeper laptops around, older computers now at good prices used?


  1. Posts : 354
    Windows 10 v. 21H1, Build 19043.1348
       #1

    Any sleeper laptops around, older computers now at good prices used?


    I'm itching to step up in processing power, with my 2 presently active laptops now being 6 and 7 years old respectively. But, I don't want to break the bank. I'm more than happy to go used. I've had a lot of good luck with used HP laptops (selective on models) so I'm partial to them, but would consider others like Lenovo and Dell.

    Looking across the landscape of used laptop systems, it's mind boggling... all the different models and their variations. I don't even know where to begin. To give a starting point, I'm thinking about $300~$400 for a system with a motherboard having USB 3.0, Thunderbolt (optional, but if version 3 that would be great), and a processor equivalent to Intel i5 2.5Ghz or better. The amount of ram or size of SSD aren't important, as that's always easily upgraded. The other important consideration is the graphics card. That is, unless there's a Thunderbolt connector enabling an eGPU. It doesn't need to be 4K, but have a very good pixel density.

    Given all this, what would be some recommended older laptops (brand/model) to look out for?
      My Computers


  2. Posts : 24,545
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #2

    cytherian said:
    ...Looking across the landscape of used laptop systems, it's mind boggling... all the different models and their variations. I don't even know where to begin. To give a starting point, I'm thinking about $300~$400 for a system with a motherboard having USB 3.0, Thunderbolt (optional, but if version 3 that would be great), and a processor equivalent to Intel i5 2.5Ghz or better....
    Not all i5's are equal. The generation can make a big difference too. An i5 6th gen can be more powerful than an original gen i5, even if it has a lower clock speed.

    I have bought quite a few second hand laptops over the years. I've tended to gravitate towards the Dell Latitude range, mainly because their Latitude range is built for business use (so should be more robust) and that Dell's support provide service manuals with full dismantling instructions.

    My most powerful laptop to date is a Dell Latitude E7270 with touchscreen and a 6th gen i7. Examples in your price range can be found on eBay.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw...E7270&_sacat=0

    If not Dell, then at least stick to the major brands. And do check out their support site too before deciding, you'll want to make sure drivers and manuals are freely available. Good support is as important as a good machine, if not more so.

    Hope that helps narrow down your choice.
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 354
    Windows 10 v. 21H1, Build 19043.1348
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Bree said:
    Not all i5's are equal. The generation can make a big difference too. An i5 6th gen can be more powerful than an original gen i5, even if it has a lower clock speed.
    I have bought quite a few second hand laptops over the years. I've tended to gravitate towards the Dell Latitude range, mainly because their Latitude range is built for business use (so should be more robust) and that Dell's support provide service manuals with full dismantling instructions.
    My most powerful laptop to date is a Dell Latitude E7270 with touchscreen and a 6th gen i7. Examples in your price range can be found on eBay.
    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw...E7270&_sacat=0
    If not Dell, then at least stick to the major brands. And do check out their support site too before deciding, you'll want to make sure drivers and manuals are freely available. Good support is as important as a good machine, if not more so.
    Hope that helps narrow down your choice.
    Thanks, Bree! I've not owned a Dell in many years. Sounds like a good idea to give them a try once more. Looks like E7470 is the 14" size.
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 12,417
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro
       #4

    I got 2 Dell Latitudes in 2019, a 12.5" [portability during my chemo therapy] and a 13.3", good prices at 149USD and 159USD from TigerDirectB2B [Business to Business]. They were certified refurbished and carried a 1-year warranty. They have been good machines, definitely good value for the cost with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD and 256GB SSD. Since the COVID issues of 2020 the prices of such machines have nearly doubled, a lot of it probably due to the having-to-work-at-home thing [supply and demand].
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 354
    Windows 10 v. 21H1, Build 19043.1348
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Sounds like you had really good timing there.

    On a related note, regarding Dell laptops... The days of putting the Windows OEM license key on the case are long gone. As I understand it, when Windows 10 is installed the digital license is copied into the BIOS. So, is it safe to assume that if the drive was replaced (e.g. HDD to SSD), Windows will automatically authenticate after reinstalling? You don't have to manually enter a key?
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 12,417
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro
       #6

    Actually the stickers pretty much went away with Windows 8 for all OEM machines. I have gotten the Product Keys from Microsoft as part of a program I was in but not a sticker for them. I don't know about Windows writing to the BIOS, most OEMs do the coding of the BIOS which ties the key to the computer making it non-transferable. The Retail version can be transferred to a Replacement machine but not both at the same time. I think the System Builder has a different process but haven't used that since Win7. Upgrading from Win8 to Win10 can pick up the key from the BIOS then provide the Digital Licensing.
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 11,172
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #7

    Hi there
    Like all these things it depends on what you want to do with them.

    Personally for W10 machines these days and if you don't need portability I'd go for a used small office Stand alone Server.

    You can get some brilliant used small servers (you usually need to supply an OS and populate with HDD's and memory -- used ones will probably have Memory and a CPU already present) for between 200 - 500 USD / EUR. Servers are hugely more reliable than domestic laptops -- the main drawback is that booting will often take longer as servers aren't meant to be booted several times a day etc. They do a lot of pre-checking and all sorts of other things on startup.

    I'm probably in a minority of 1 here but I've found used servers so long as you know what you are doing a much better value for money than used laptops. Of course if you want a portable system then I agree servers are a non-issue.

    Amazing though how rarely people think of used servers -- I'm talking here about small stand alone office servers - not things like racks and blades which are used in server farms etc.

    If you need extreme gaming then again not particularly a good idea but if you want to run a myriad of VM's, file share, video stream, host web sites, etc etc even an older used server can blow away often a much newer desktop !!!.

    I rescued one from a Tip a while ago (pre COVID-19 days gosh doesn't that seem like a long time ago !!) for ZERO money -- it had 2 XEON processors and 32 GB RAM in it. Tidied (cleaned) it up and inserted some HDD's and 2 lots of SSD's -- absolutely brilliant piece of kit. Been running 24/7 for around 2 years now !!!!. It had a built in Graphics and audio capability too although one can always add decent GPU's if you really want to.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 354
    Windows 10 v. 21H1, Build 19043.1348
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Thanks for the tip, Jimbo.
    I do agree that a server (Workstation) can be a wonderful value, depending upon the venue upon which you obtain it. I had corresponded with someone over on Reddit about server deals a while back and he'd gotten a pair of them super cheap via CraigsList, a locale based selling site. A small company had gone out of business and they were having a "fire sale." Serendipity on timing, he managed to spot it.

    One day I plan to have a workstation setup but right now I need to keep small & portable. My future plan would be to have a workstation operating as a server for multimedia. Favorite movies & music. And also for doing intensive video editing.

    Actually wandered around online and it seems that HP Elitebooks are also very well regarded. An IT guy I chatted with said he spent a lot of time with different brands of laptops... Elitebooks were the most reliable. While Dell tends to have more rugged casings, the Latitude machines had periodic problems.
      My Computers


 

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