I NEVER Recommend Buying These PC Components Used

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The used market can be a goldmine, but only if you're smart...

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  • I would never go to the used market for a graphics card, power supply, storage, or an AiO cooler.
  • It is OK to consider the used market for a CPU, motherboard, air cooler, or PC case.
  • Whenever buying a used component, always make sure to thoroughly inspect and test it.

The used market has a bit of a sketchy reputation among gamers, and maybe rightly so. There are several components that you absolutely SHOULD NOT buy from a second-hand marketplace, but then there are a few components that I recommend you definitely check out used.

Let’s go through them one by one to see where you can save some money.

Never Buy These PC Components Used

Graphics Card

While a graphics card is the most crucial component of a PC, it is also the most expensive, so it makes sense why gamers would want to consider the used route while looking to buy a GPU.

However, that might be a bad idea. A graphics card goes through a lot of heating and cooling cycles over its lifespan and has moving parts in the form of fans. In addition to that, there are thermal pads and a thermal compound inside the card which is prone to drying up or cracking with extensive use.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Mining
Mining GPUs on sale

Due to their high demand, many mainstream GPUs have been used in cryptocurrency mining rigs, where they are used in extremely unfavorable situations. Moreover, overclocking is another factor that can affect the lifespan of the card.

Unless you are extremely sure about the usage history of a graphics card, it is best to avoid the used market for this one.

Power Supply

If we rank PC components by order of their importance to a PC’s lifespan, the power supply will be at the top of the list. Many novice and even seasoned PC builders tend to skimp on the power supply to allocate more of their budget to other shiny components.

PSU INTERNAL (Image By Tech4Gamers)
PSU internals (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Going with a used power supply is an extremely bad idea since older power supplies do not have modern protections like over-current and over-voltage trips, and they might even have bad capacitors or internal components. You will be putting all of your shiny new components at risk, too.

Get a new power supply from a reputable manufacturer, with a warranty and a decent efficiency rating. This is not up for debate.

Storage

Looking to save some money by going with a used hard drive or SSD? Think again. A hard drive is one of the most fragile components of the PC, thanks to its sensitive moving parts. Moreover, the platters tend to deteriorate over time, leading to bad sectors, which means that a used hard drive can fail at any time, resulting in the loss of your data.

An SSD, on the other hand, does not really have the same physical concerns, but it still has a finite amount of write cycles that are used up as the drive is used. Buying a used SSD means that you are getting NAND cells that have already been partially used, so it really does not make a lot of sense.

AiO Coolers

Wherever there are moving parts, there is wear and tear. An AiO cooler has a pump as well as fans which are prone to wear and tear over time. A pump is one of the more common components that can fail in a PC, so it’s best to just stay away from used AiO coolers.

AIO pump failure

You also don’t really know what the condition and quantity is of the coolant inside the loop.

Save Some Money By Going The Used Route

CPU

A CPU is one of the most durable components in a modern PC. Basically, a processor operates under the rule of “if it works, it works”. This is why you regularly see gaming PCs in 2024 with processors from Intel’s 2nd and 3rd Gen, and even from AMD’s FX series.

AMD Ryzen 7 7700X
AMD Ryzen 7 7700X (Image by Tech4Gamers)

It is extremely rare for a CPU to have any sort of silicon degradation thanks to the high Tjmax of most modern CPUs. Unless you find a physical defect (like a broken pin) on the used CPU, it is probably alright to consider its purchase.

Motherboard

While motherboards do have a relatively high failure rate compared to other components, they are relatively stable in the used market once they are established as “working”. It is also rare for a motherboard to have physical defects, but be sure to check for bent pins in an LGA socket.

Air Cooler

An air cooler is one of the safest components to buy on the used market. It’s basically just a heap of metal, so it can’t really degrade electronically. Just make sure that the fan doesn’t have any sort of unnatural sound and the heatpipes are intact, and you’re good to go.

Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4 air cooler

Buying some components on the used market is not really as terrifying as some people make it out to be. If you do your research, and choose the correct components, there is a good chance of landing a pretty nice deal on the second-hand market.

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