Getting a used PC is a great way to save money and get a great deal. Another benefit to buying a used PC is they can make great starting points for a machine one plans to upgrade. Now, the machines on this list aren’t merely “used,” They’re “certified refurbished.” This means that several standards must be adhered to including that the products lack any visible defects from a distance of 12″, have been thoroughly cleaned, and they’ve undergone a full diagnostic test to ensure all of their components work. If you’d like to learn more about the precise standards used, you can read more on this page.
Another great benefit of certified refurbished products is their 90-day warranty. While the vast swath of purchasers gets high-quality products at a far reduced price, a small percentage of users may find that their machine is not up to snuff. Of course, having 90 days to test a product is more than enough (especially with PCs) to suss out any major issues, with one exception.
The one exception and necessity to impart upon all who purchase a used PC is that the hard disk drive could fail. To be crystal clear, this only refers to actual hard disks with moving parts, not SSDs. While for most people, their HDD won’t fail, the chances are higher with a used machine. Since the risk is higher, there are two ways to mitigate this: 1. Rigorous backing up. 2. Replacing the drive. The first option will likely require purchasing an external drive, though there is a service called BackBlaze which backs up your entire PC for only a few dollars a month. Another option may be to do much of your work in the cloud (Google Docs, for instance). Option 2, replacing the drive, may require a pricey installation process, but if you want to try it yourself, it can usually be done with only a Phillips screwdriver and a YouTube tutorial.
All that out of the way certified refurbished PCs can really save one a ton of money. Here are the 10 best refurbished computers from lowest to highest price.
1. HP 8300 Elite
Processor i5-3470 | Passmark 6636 | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Graphics Card / Passmark Integrated | Hard Drive 500GB HDD | Weight 17.1lbs |
Now, this is a hard-driving bargain! This HP 8300 elite may be on the barebones side, but it’s hard to argue with its great performance at such a low price. Boasting a spacious hard drive, decently fast processor, and enough RAM for most multitasking, there’s really nothing this PC can’t do in terms of student or office use. Another great benefit of this PC is that it’s a great starting point to build yourself a really nice machine on the cheap. One could pick this thing up, switch out the HDD for a nice SSD and have a great, powerful PC for less than $300 that runs as fast as much pricier PCs.
This is a great deal for those who want a simple machine that can do all of the basics at a snappy pace. As mentioned in the intro, it is key, however, to be careful and respectful of the fact that it has an old hard drive. Beyond this, however, this is a great deal.
- Decent workstation for normal use
- Hard drive has solid capacity
- Great value for the price
- Good starting point to build a PC
- Some units are nicked and bruised
- Hard drives may fail; best to replace them if you will have sensitive data on yours
- No graphics card for gaming
- No built-in WiFi
2. Dell Optiplex
Processor i5-2400 | Passmark 5911 | RAM 16GB DDR3 | Graphics Card / Passmark Integrated | Hard Drive 120GB SSD + 2TB SSD | Weight 19lbs |
While this Optiplex model isn’t quite as great of a deal as the first model, it really is beyond ready to go. Boasting an SSD that’s big enough for the OS, and a two terabyte drive for data, it’s got plenty of room. Unfortunately, due to the size of the SSD, the data concerns addressed above are still relevant. Beyond this, however, this PC’s inclusion of 16GB of RAM means it’s great for many tasks, including 1080P video editing. The processor is slightly weaker than the first model on our list, but it’s plenty powerful for most use cases. This PC also will allow one to throw in a graphics card, meaning one could throw in a GTX 1050 ($144 on Amazon) and have yourself a very solid video editing and video gaming machine.
- Windows 10 Pro for max configuration and control when using Windows
- Great dual hard drive set up for fast OS and plenty of data storage
- DVD-RW drive
- Includes Wi-Fi USB dongle
- Only has USB 2.0 ports
- No graphics card for gaming
3. HP Elite Mini 8300 (Editor’s Choice)
Processor i7-3770 | Passmark 9308 | RAM 16GB DDR3 | Graphics Card / Passmark Radeon 6350 / 208 | Hard Drive 240GB SSD + 2TB | Weight 16.7lbs |
This mini PC is truly the most well-rounded pick for non-gamers on our list. Boasting a whip-fast i7 processor, tons of RAM, an SSD that’s big enough for some data and the OS, and a dedicated 2TB data drive, there’s literally nothing one will be missing here. It’s solid for editing 1080P or 4K (though for serious editor’s, a graphics card would be nice). The one negative here is that this PC just won’t do for gaming. It can’t be upgraded either because it’s a mini. Still, for many, this is one of the best picks on the list. Unless you need to game, this PC is powerful for pretty much every application and will run smooth as butter. It’s the editor’s choice because it’s snappy, cheap, and for student or office use, this is just an extremely solid value with zero compromises. One could easily spend twice as much on a new computer and not get quite these specs. It’s a real knock out.
- Solid specs for the price
- Great workstation PC
- Fast SSD and large data drive
- Amazing for student or office use
- Snappy editing of photos
- Graphics card is useless for gaming
4. Asus Gaming Desktop
Processor i5-7400 | Passmark 7423 | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card / Passmark GTX 970 / 8555 | Hard Drive 1TB HDD (7200RPM) | Weight 21.6lbs |
For the gamers, this PC offers a ton of bang for the buck. While one could get a fairly comparable PC new for not too much higher, the GTX 970 is a really solid card. Plus, having a full terabyte means one won’t have to skimp in terms of the data drive. This PC also has quick RAM and should be solid for any student or office use. Having a graphics card also enables one to edit video more seamlessly, but in terms of photo or video editing, the weaker processor here sort of cancels the advantage out. All in all, this is a solid choice for a gamer, but the above PC is better for more diverse uses like editing photos or document creation.
- Great price to performance
- Solid processor
- Great graphics card for playing modern games at medium to ultra settings
- DVD-RW drive
- Great all around performer
- Includes backlit keyboard
- No manuals included
- No SSD
5. HP Elite 8300 (i7 version)
Processor i7 3.4ghz | RAM 16GB | Graphics Card / Passmark Integrated | Hard Drive 512GB SSD | Weight 26lbs |
This version of the HP Elite 8300 is considerably more pricey, but three changes really soup it up in terms of performance and longevity. For one, this PC boasts a much snappier i7 processor. This is a huge advantage, but it’s not as sweet as the addition of a 512GB SSD, which gives one great peace of mind and means replacing the hard drive isn’t a must. The RAM is also boosted up to 16GB and this really changes things in terms of a multitasking, having many applications open at once, and editing videos or photos. Overall, this is an awesome PC with plenty of fast storage and a very fast processor. It’s a beast of a workstation. That said, without a graphics card, it’s no good for gaming.
One reason not to get this PC, however, is that for $10 more you can get the PC below and it does offer some solid perks, though it sacrifices the large SSD- which is a pretty big downside.
- Includes two year warranty
- Four USB 3.0 ports
- Fast processor
- Solid RAM
- Great price for the performance
- No graphics card
- Windows 7 not Windows 10
6. HP Z420
Processor Intel Xeon E5-1650 | Passmark 11779 | RAM 16GB DDR3 | Graphics Card / Passmark Quadro 2000 1GB / 1312 | Hard Drive 240GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Weight 22lbs |
For only $10 more than the above model, one can pick up this really interesting used PC. It boasts equal RAM, a weak but present graphics card, and changes the hard drive structure to a 240GB SSD with a 1TB HDD. This change is great because it adds a lot more data, but it’s not so great because having that many fewer gigabytes on the SSD mean things will be slower once you fill it up (and 240GB goes super fast, considering the OS alone is 100GB or so). One perk of this PC, however, is its Xeon processor. Boasting massive performance, it’s one of the fastest consumer-level processors out there. This is a great PC for student or office use. For video editing, the SSD computer above is preferable. For more general use, however, this PC fits the bill a bit better.
- Excellent workstation PC
- SSD for OS and plenty of data
- Windows 10 Pro for best Windows experience
- 90 day warranty
- USB 3.0 ports
- Graphics card is fine for 1080P editing
- Can’t be used for gaming
7. Dell XPS 8900
Processor i7-6700 | Passmark 10012 | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card / Passmark Radeon R9 370 / 4722 | Hard Drive 2TB (7200RPM) |
If you want a Blu-ray player in your PC and a solid specs, this PC brings the fire. Boasting great RAM, a decent graphics cards capable of playing games at low to medium settings, and a big hard drive, this XPS 8900 has but a few shortcomings. Its biggest flaw is its big, ol’ hard drive, which as mentioned before, is more prone to failure because it’s used. Beyond this, however, this PC offers decent value. If you can squeeze it, the next PC on our list is pricier but brings more bang for the buck. Still, if you only need a computer to say, play OVerwatch, this guy will do you just fine. It’s just a better deal to spend a bit more cash!
- 90 day warranty from manufacturer
- Blu-Ray player
- Fast processor and graphics card
- Large data drive
- Can play modern games at medium to high settings
- Warranty could be longer
8. Dell XPS 8920 (Gamer’s choice)
Processor i7-7700 | Passmark 10810 | RAM 24GB DDR4 | Graphics Card / Passmark AMD Radeon RX 480 – 8GB / 8115 | Hard Drive 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Weight 28.2lbs |
This is a really great, well-rounded computer. It has a whip-fast i7-7700, TONS of RAM (24GB!!!), and a great graphics card that will let one play modern games at medium to high settings. As someone who checked tons of websites and did lots of research to get a very similar gaming PC for $1300, this PC inspires jealousy on my behalf. It’s a hot little deal. The RX 480 is an AMD card, but it’s just as good as what Nvidia’s cooking. Plus, the 256GB SDD and 1TB HDD are really great for having a fast system, and plenty of data. Of course, the normal disclaimer applies: that second hard disk drive isn’t as reliable as a new one, so be careful.
For workstation applications, this PC is a dream. 24GB of RAM is tons and will let you do whatever you need to, and all at once. This PC is the gamer’s choice because for most games, besides the tip of the top, this PC will easily play them, and it’s almost half as expensive as item number 10 on our list. This is just a plain great deal.
- Extremely powerful processor
- DVD burner
- Solid graphics card for playing modern games at high to ultra settings
- Huge amount of RAM for multitasking
- Capable of editing 4K video
- Overkill for some users
- Fans can get loud
9. iMac All-in-One 4K
Processor Quad Core i5 | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Graphics Card / Passmark Intel Iris Pro (Integrated) | Hard Drive 1TB (5400 RPM) | Weight 24lbs | Display 21.5″, 4096 x 2304 IPS |
Many people like to make Mac or PC a divisive issue like Israel vs. Palestine. The truth is that unlike world affairs, Macs are simple. You pay a premium price for a really nice, stable operating system and a great user experience. That said, this Mac is more looks than anything else. While it has an acceptably fast i5 and OK RAM, the display is really the star here. 4K is simply stunning to look at. Unfortunately, this PC really is only suited for student or office applications, web browsing, and document creation because its hard drive is 5400 RPM. If you’re willing to tolerate some clunkiness, this Mac has a stunning display, plenty of space, and is otherwise solid. Unfortunately, this is a fairly extreme case of looks over substance for Macs, but having 4K to work with is really nice for certain office work. This is a great machine for some people, just not anyone who needs a fast hard drive.
Fortunately, backing up Macs is easy with their built-in app Time Machine. One only needs an external hard drive.
- Includes one year warranty from Apple
- Amazing display
- Solid multitasking performance
- Easy to set up Windows on
- Can get Apple Care for additional warranty protection
- 5400RPM is a slow hard drive
- No graphics card for gaming
10. Alienware Aurora R6
Processor i7-7700 | Passmark 10810 | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Graphics Card / Passmark GTX 1080 | Hard Drive 2TB (7200 RPM) | Weight 32.67lbs |
For those who want a monstrous gaming PC with the best of the best, this Alienware offers sound value. Boasting great RAM, a top of the line i7-7700, and pretty much the best graphics card on the market, the GTX 1080, this PC is great as a workstation or gaming computer. Needless to say, with a card like the GTX 1080, one won’t be struggling for additional computing power when it comes to things like outputting to numerous displays, editing photos, videos, or adding in complex graphics. If there’s one criticism of this PC, it’s that it’s profoundly overkill for most users. Still, if you want a top of the line PC at a great price, this is about the cheapest way to put these components in one box, short of building your own.
- Top of the line performance
- Great for playing modern games at high to ultra settings
- 90 day warranty
- Fast workstation
- Great for editing 4K videos
- No optical drive
- Really only for gamers
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