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Looking to buy a used computer, how to avoid being scammed?

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July 1, 2013 7:33:35 PM

*UPDATE* It looks like the deal fell through, the seller never responded to the emails I sent and the listing is getting pretty old. Thank you all very much for all your input. Looks like I'm either going to do some tune-up on the old one or keep poking around for a deal on a new/used one.

Hi there. I am new to tomshardware so I hope I am posting in the correct place.

I am looking to buy this great deal of a computer off of Craigslist. It's a CyberPowerPC Ultra 2098 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) for $300. I am going to arrange a time to come by the seller's house and make sure everything works and I'm not getting a lemon.

What I'm looking for in particular is diagnostic (for lack of a better term) programs or benchmarks to make sure everything is working properly (I'll just bring them in on a flash drive). So far I'm going to try SpeedFan to see how well cooled it is but I'm not sure what else I should come equipped with. If anyone can think of other programs that would help me ensure this is a good buy I would appreciate it if you would put them down. Thank you.

More about : buy computer avoid scammed

July 1, 2013 8:01:06 PM

If the seller will let you fire it up, just make sure all the listed hardware is still present (Run dxdiag.exe and check in device manager) and that it can execute something like prime95, AIDA64, or even just use the Windows Experience checker for a quick check.

All that said, CyberPowerPC is kind of a rip off, and buying one used is even stranger. They often use very low-quality power supplies, cheap ram(not really a bad thing), and put low end video cards (6670 really doesn't qualify as a gaming card, but is fine for general use and very light games)

For $300 you are getting an amazing deal, and that would make me rather suspicious right off the bat. Seems like the current owner is trying to get out from under it.
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July 1, 2013 8:01:47 PM

The first clue I would look for is booting into windows first time. If it hangs or friezes going into windows its a faulty power supply, usually.
The rest of what you ask is a bit difficult. Try cpuz to check everything is what it is supposed to be, Idealy You would run 3dmarc or something for 20 mins to check stability of everything, but its a big download.
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July 1, 2013 8:05:44 PM

Eximo said:
If the seller will let you fire it up, just make sure all the listed hardware is still present (Run dxdiag.exe and check in device manager) and that it can execute something like prime95, AIDA64, or even just use the Windows Experience checker for a quick check.

All that said, CyberPowerPC is kind of a rip off, and buying one used is even stranger. They often use very low-quality power supplies, cheap ram(not really a bad thing), and put low end video cards (6670 really doesn't qualify as a gaming card, but is fine for general use and very light games)

For $300 you are getting an amazing deal, and that would make me rather suspicious right off the bat. Seems like the current owner is trying to get out from under it.


It does seem a bit off. And if he won't let you start it....just walk away.
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July 1, 2013 8:44:28 PM

Eximo said:
If the seller will let you fire it up, just make sure all the listed hardware is still present (Run dxdiag.exe and check in device manager) and that it can execute something like prime95, AIDA64, or even just use the Windows Experience checker for a quick check.

All that said, CyberPowerPC is kind of a rip off, and buying one used is even stranger. They often use very low-quality power supplies, cheap ram(not really a bad thing), and put low end video cards (6670 really doesn't qualify as a gaming card, but is fine for general use and very light games)

For $300 you are getting an amazing deal, and that would make me rather suspicious right off the bat. Seems like the current owner is trying to get out from under it.


Thank you for the reply. I am also very wary of a scam. It sounds a bit too good to be true. It's coming from a affluent area, if that means anything lol. My old computer (which I hope to replace with this one) was also a CyberPower and despite being cheap it did serve me very well, I've used it very heavily since 2009 or so with no problems until now (dead PSU I think).

Anyway, this one I'm hoping to buy is much better than what I used to have (core2duo CPU, 4gb RAM, radeon 5450 GFX card, vista OS) and this is about the best I can get within my small budget.
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July 1, 2013 9:06:01 PM

Matt G said:
Eximo said:
If the seller will let you fire it up, just make sure all the listed hardware is still present (Run dxdiag.exe and check in device manager) and that it can execute something like prime95, AIDA64, or even just use the Windows Experience checker for a quick check.

All that said, CyberPowerPC is kind of a rip off, and buying one used is even stranger. They often use very low-quality power supplies, cheap ram(not really a bad thing), and put low end video cards (6670 really doesn't qualify as a gaming card, but is fine for general use and very light games)

For $300 you are getting an amazing deal, and that would make me rather suspicious right off the bat. Seems like the current owner is trying to get out from under it.


Thank you for the reply. I am also very wary of a scam. It sounds a bit too good to be true. It's coming from a affluent area, if that means anything lol. My old computer (which I hope to replace with this one) was also a CyberPower and despite being cheap it did serve me very well, I've used it very heavily since 2009 or so with no problems until now (dead PSU I think).

Anyway, this one I'm hoping to buy is much better than what I used to have (core2duo CPU, 4gb RAM, radeon 5450 GFX card, vista OS) and this is about the best I can get within my small budget.


borrow a psu and check the old pc.. If it works you could put in a q6600 from ebay, a gts450 from scan and a good psu for about $170 total. That would play games better than anything with a 6670 in it.
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July 1, 2013 9:19:45 PM

chriss000 said:
Matt G said:
Eximo said:
If the seller will let you fire it up, just make sure all the listed hardware is still present (Run dxdiag.exe and check in device manager) and that it can execute something like prime95, AIDA64, or even just use the Windows Experience checker for a quick check.

All that said, CyberPowerPC is kind of a rip off, and buying one used is even stranger. They often use very low-quality power supplies, cheap ram(not really a bad thing), and put low end video cards (6670 really doesn't qualify as a gaming card, but is fine for general use and very light games)

For $300 you are getting an amazing deal, and that would make me rather suspicious right off the bat. Seems like the current owner is trying to get out from under it.


Thank you for the reply. I am also very wary of a scam. It sounds a bit too good to be true. It's coming from a affluent area, if that means anything lol. My old computer (which I hope to replace with this one) was also a CyberPower and despite being cheap it did serve me very well, I've used it very heavily since 2009 or so with no problems until now (dead PSU I think).

Anyway, this one I'm hoping to buy is much better than what I used to have (core2duo CPU, 4gb RAM, radeon 5450 GFX card, vista OS) and this is about the best I can get within my small budget.


borrow a psu and check the old pc.. If it works you could put in a q6600 from ebay, a gts450 from scan and a good psu for about $170 total. That would play games better than anything with a 6670 in it.


That is a good idea, and I will probably do that later on. I am going to fix my old one soon and give it to my brother who is in need of a computer. I still need one of my own, though, so this is a perfect opportunity.
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July 1, 2013 9:25:29 PM

Matt G said:
chriss000 said:
Matt G said:
Eximo said:
If the seller will let you fire it up, just make sure all the listed hardware is still present (Run dxdiag.exe and check in device manager) and that it can execute something like prime95, AIDA64, or even just use the Windows Experience checker for a quick check.

All that said, CyberPowerPC is kind of a rip off, and buying one used is even stranger. They often use very low-quality power supplies, cheap ram(not really a bad thing), and put low end video cards (6670 really doesn't qualify as a gaming card, but is fine for general use and very light games)

For $300 you are getting an amazing deal, and that would make me rather suspicious right off the bat. Seems like the current owner is trying to get out from under it.


Thank you for the reply. I am also very wary of a scam. It sounds a bit too good to be true. It's coming from a affluent area, if that means anything lol. My old computer (which I hope to replace with this one) was also a CyberPower and despite being cheap it did serve me very well, I've used it very heavily since 2009 or so with no problems until now (dead PSU I think).

Anyway, this one I'm hoping to buy is much better than what I used to have (core2duo CPU, 4gb RAM, radeon 5450 GFX card, vista OS) and this is about the best I can get within my small budget.


borrow a psu and check the old pc.. If it works you could put in a q6600 from ebay, a gts450 from scan and a good psu for about $170 total. That would play games better than anything with a 6670 in it.


That is a good idea, and I will probably do that later on. I am going to fix my old one soon and give it to my brother who is in need of a computer. I still need one of my own, though, so this is a perfect opportunity.


Realise the new pc's power supply wont run a decent graphics card either, hence they come with low power gpu's.
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July 1, 2013 10:03:30 PM

chriss000 said:
Matt G said:
chriss000 said:
Matt G said:
Eximo said:
If the seller will let you fire it up, just make sure all the listed hardware is still present (Run dxdiag.exe and check in device manager) and that it can execute something like prime95, AIDA64, or even just use the Windows Experience checker for a quick check.

All that said, CyberPowerPC is kind of a rip off, and buying one used is even stranger. They often use very low-quality power supplies, cheap ram(not really a bad thing), and put low end video cards (6670 really doesn't qualify as a gaming card, but is fine for general use and very light games)

For $300 you are getting an amazing deal, and that would make me rather suspicious right off the bat. Seems like the current owner is trying to get out from under it.


Thank you for the reply. I am also very wary of a scam. It sounds a bit too good to be true. It's coming from a affluent area, if that means anything lol. My old computer (which I hope to replace with this one) was also a CyberPower and despite being cheap it did serve me very well, I've used it very heavily since 2009 or so with no problems until now (dead PSU I think).

Anyway, this one I'm hoping to buy is much better than what I used to have (core2duo CPU, 4gb RAM, radeon 5450 GFX card, vista OS) and this is about the best I can get within my small budget.


borrow a psu and check the old pc.. If it works you could put in a q6600 from ebay, a gts450 from scan and a good psu for about $170 total. That would play games better than anything with a 6670 in it.


That is a good idea, and I will probably do that later on. I am going to fix my old one soon and give it to my brother who is in need of a computer. I still need one of my own, though, so this is a perfect opportunity.


Realise the new pc's power supply wont run a decent graphics card either, hence they come with low power gpu's.


I know, but this is more than good enough for me, my standards aren't that high lol.
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July 1, 2013 10:21:21 PM

In that case, use the power supply that comes with this one in your old one, along with it's graphics card.

Buy yourself a better power supply and graphics card and leave the rest of the system as-is. This way, you clear out the worst pieces from your old one, *and* get more quality pieces for yourself.
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July 1, 2013 10:33:44 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
In that case, use the power supply that comes with this one in your old one, along with it's graphics card.

Buy yourself a better power supply and graphics card and leave the rest of the system as-is. This way, you clear out the worst pieces from your old one, *and* get more quality pieces for yourself.


He only has $300.. for the time being.
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July 2, 2013 3:14:21 AM

As mentioned, see if you can boot it up and then run some stress tests like Prime95 and Furmark from a USB drive to see if its stable.

You will also want to pop the case and have a look inside, no doubt this will be the cleanest its ever been but you want to see if there is anything obviously wrong with it. Listen for any ticking that could be from the HDD, if all the fans spin, stuff like that.

Also ask if he has ever overclocked the rig, if yes then ask if he has overvolted it. That would be ground IMO to lower the price a bit, though as mentioned it is already somewhat of a steal.
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July 2, 2013 7:24:46 AM

Boards are unlocked . Factory o/c 10% purchasable, psu's are xtreme gear or similar unknown untrustworthy tat.
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July 2, 2013 7:29:02 AM

I wouldn't spend $300 on something that will struggle to play games at lowest settings.
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July 2, 2013 7:48:45 AM

tiny voices said:
I wouldn't spend $300 on something that will struggle to play games at lowest settings.


Hardly anybody who can build would, but the poster isnt that sorta person. They want a cheap runner now.
Pc world would go bust if everybody could do it. .
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July 2, 2013 7:52:50 AM

This is the way I see it: SPend $300 on a used computer. Then you will have to, over time, spend $200 to get it to be able to comfortably play modern games. When you could have just saved up and bought a better system in the first place and everything would have been new.
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July 2, 2013 7:55:40 AM

I'd like to see a $300 rig that could play games on low settings :lol: 
For what he is paying, he's getting a decent deal. Upgrade the CPU to an FX-6300, GPU to something like a HD7850 and get a better PSU, you would have yourself a very decent gaming rig without spending all that much.

Then you have yourself most of a system to use as well, would be good for a HTPC or NAS build, or just a family driver machine.
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July 2, 2013 7:59:40 AM

I agree with you, but what I am saying is, a 7850, an fx-6300, and a PSU will total around $300. If you saved and built a $600 rig, you would be getting all new parts with warranties, and parts which you got to select yourself. I understand needing something now, this is just the way I would do it.
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July 2, 2013 8:31:33 AM

For his $300, lets be clear. He is getting a processor, a retail quality motherboard, a case, a (very cheap) psu, a hard drive, an optical drive, the necessary cables and widgets, an OPERATING SYSTEM, a graphics card, , several gig of ram, a hs&fan and a case fan or two.
He wont need ;
T.I.M.
,An instal disk,
an instruction manual,
half bottle of whisky.,
A big clean flat work space.
A pc tool kit.
build Time.
Windows updates time.
Driver installs time.
bonuses that can occur; office software installed,fotoshop, anti virus
etc paid for.
The only part he will effectively lose is the cheapo psu, and even that will be used for a while.
Its not a terrily expensive way around things. .
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July 2, 2013 8:33:56 AM

chriss000 said:

T.I.M.
,An instal disk,
an instruction manual,
half bottle of whisky.,
A big clean flat work space.
A pc tool kit.
build Time.
Windows updates time.
Driver installs time.
bonuses that can occur; office software installed,fotoshop, anti virus
etc paid for.
The only part he will effectively lose is the cheapo psu, and even that will be used for a while.
Its not a terrily expensive way around things. .


Damn these 'Puters, they compel me to drink :lol: .

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July 2, 2013 8:58:16 AM

manofchalk said:
chriss000 said:

T.I.M.
,An instal disk,
an instruction manual,
half bottle of whisky.,
A big clean flat work space.
A pc tool kit.
build Time.
Windows updates time.
Driver installs time.
bonuses that can occur; office software installed,fotoshop, anti virus
etc paid for.
The only part he will effectively lose is the cheapo psu, and even that will be used for a while.
Its not a terrily expensive way around things. .


Damn these 'Puters, they compel me to drink :lol: .



The recovery period for me after a pc build is over a week; by the time I have my steam games, my cloud saves back, java, xvideo, vidx, chrome, startrek on line, avg, wall papers, its endless! Souping up a runner can save a lot of head aches, esp if it already has an o/s in use. I am no software expert!
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July 2, 2013 9:01:53 AM

chriss000 said:

The recovery period for me after a pc build is over a week; by the time I have my steam games, my cloud saves back, java, xvideo, vidx, chrome, startrek on line, avg, wall papers, its endless! Souping up a runner can save a lot of head aches, esp if it already has an o/s in use. I am no software expert!


One thing that can ease that setup process is ninite.com. Select the installations you want, download the small installer, and it goes and gets all of them. And turns OFF all the extra crap some of them try to install (toolbars, etc).
1 click, come back in 30 minutes, done.
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July 2, 2013 9:09:26 AM

USAFRet said:
chriss000 said:

The recovery period for me after a pc build is over a week; by the time I have my steam games, my cloud saves back, java, xvideo, vidx, chrome, startrek on line, avg, wall papers, its endless! Souping up a runner can save a lot of head aches, esp if it already has an o/s in use. I am no software expert!


One thing that can ease that setup process is ninite.com. Select the installations you want, download the small installer, and it goes and gets all of them. And turns OFF all the extra crap some of them try to install (toolbars, etc).
1 click, come back in 30 minutes, done.


HMMM, I will look into that before my next crash. ;#}
I doubt my 3 meg mobile dongle will sort out 100 gig of games in 30 mins tho; I am a bit low tech here. It plays mmo's all right tho.
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July 2, 2013 9:10:02 AM

Rainmeter skins are a frustrating but very worthwhile endeavor, so very good at setting up a customized desktop. CPU/RAM usage, CPU core temps, MSI Afterburner meters right there on my desktop. No need to open up the software to check.
There have been some pretty amazing desktops made by custom-creating a desktop wallpaper and Rainmeter skins and getting them too mesh aesthetically. If only I could code :D .
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July 2, 2013 9:38:11 AM

manofchalk said:
Rainmeter skins are a frustrating but very worthwhile endeavor, so very good at setting up a customized desktop. CPU/RAM usage, CPU core temps, MSI Afterburner meters right there on my desktop. No need to open up the software to check.
There have been some pretty amazing desktops made by custom-creating a desktop wallpaper and Rainmeter skins and getting them too mesh aesthetically. If only I could code :D .


I have had c2d chips for so long I dont need all that. Cheeses, I dont even have the case closed. I know when it needs a clean up just by the fan speed; its a bit like having an old car for years.
I have almost enough in the biscuit tin for a new build. Its gonna be
a 2nd hand i5 2320 or 2400, a new board,ssd, 4 gig of good ram and a 110£ nvidia gpu of the day. Anything it cant play can get stuffed!
I am not spending another 150£s to play one game a year..
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