If you’re in the market for a computer and don’t have the money to purchase a new one, then you might want to consider purchasing a pre-owned / used computer.

With frequent changes in technology it can become quite difficult to know what to look for when purchasing a used computer.

There are many people who will sell you a computer for $400.00 when in reality it might be worth no more then $50.00, but how would you research this ?

There is a simple guideline I use, for one I look at the software I need to run and look at the system requirements and recommendations. The requirements will generally give you just enough to run the software while the recommendations give you enough to run the software comfortably.

Take Windows Vista’s minimum requirements for example:

Processor – 800 MHz
Memory – 512 MB
Hard Drive – 20 GB with 15 GB available
Graphics – SVGA Compatible Graphics Card
Optical Drive – CD-ROM

A used computer with this configuration should cost you no more then $50.00, however those are the minimum requirements and you’ll find that you’ll quickly become frustrated with the performance. If you want better performance, you can double everything, for example:

Processor – 1.6 GHz
Memory – 1.0 GB
Hard Drive – 40 GB
Graphics – 128 MB NVidia
Optical Drive – DVD-RW

A used computer with this configuration should cost you no more than $150.00 and should run Windows Vista smoothly with no issues or frustration. So is this the configuration you need to look for in a used computer, it depends on your software needs. If all you are going to do is run Windows and get online, check e-mail, save pictures, etc… then its sufficient.

The best way to tell what you need is to look at the software and check the hardware requirements then double them, alternatively you could just buy a Mac :) 

If you find a used computer that you’re thinking about buying and you have the specs and want me to give you an estimate, just leave me a comment and I’ll do my best.