The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Used PC Desktops and All-in-Ones

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The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Used PC Desktops and All-in-Ones

Many people cannot live without their computers. These devices are used for work, entertainment, and communicating with friends and family. When it is time to buy a new computer, shoppers must choose between a laptop and a desktop.

A laptop is a good choice for people who need to be able to carry their computers from one location to another, but there are tasks that require a larger screen. While some laptops have large screens, they also weigh more than most people are willing to cart from one home to work and back again. For this reason, PC desktops and all-in-ones are the ideal choice. These computers are placed on desks or tables and used in fixed locations. When shopping for this kind of computer, the shopper should take the time to learn the differences between each type of desktop, determine what features are required, and then look for a device that fits in his or her price range. In order to stretch the budget and get more value for money, many shoppers opt to purchase used PC desktops and all-in-ones rather than buy new ones. eBay can currently claim to have the widest selection of used desktop and all-in-one computers.

Types of Desktop Computers

Most people can differentiate between a laptop and a desktop computer, but many people do not know that there are actually several different types of desktop computers. Unlike laptops, these computers are designed to stay in one place rather than for carrying around.. The main types of desktop PCs are listed and described in the table below.




Large tower that houses components away from the monitor; easy to repair and upgrade; most common type of desktop


Smaller tower that houses components away from the monitor; harder to repair due to size; ideal for people who need to save space


Monitor and hardware are housed in one unit; difficult to repair; fewer components to deal with; takes up much less space


Specialised type of full-size desktop; may be much larger as it contains multiple drives and components housed separately from the monitor

The keyboard and mouse of all desktop PCs are separate from the other components. These peripherals can be easily exchanged and upgraded as needed. While the full-size, compact, and gaming desktops all house the drives, cards, and other components in a unit, or tower, separate from the monitor, the all-in-ones put everything, including peripherals together in a single device.

Desktops vs. All-in-Ones

Desktops and all-in-ones are designed to perform the same tasks and operate in much the same way. Shoppers must determine which is the better option. Though the all-in-one is much smaller, it is still much larger than a laptop and cannot easily be transported to different locations. Thus, shoppers who have determined that they need a desktop or all-in-one computer already know that they need a computer that they can use at the desk.

Desktop PCs have a separated tower and monitor. Because these components are separate, they take up more space than the all-in-one computer. People who have large desks or have room under the desk to hide the tower can do well with these. Additionally, desktops are less expensive than their all-in-one counterparts because they are easier to make and repair. However, all-in-one desktops are much more compact and leave the user with plenty of room on the desk, as well there being fewer wires and cables to contend with.

Since with an all-in-one computer, the monitor and all components are in a single unit, these devices are harder to repair. The components inside are often smaller, and taking the computer apart to perform upgrades and repairs can be tricky. With a separate tower, the housing is easily removed and components can be changed and upgraded as needed. Often the user can do this by himself. With an all-in-one computer, the user often must take the computer to a technician to make the required changes and adjustments.

Computer Specifications to Consider

When shopping for any computer, it is important for people to consider their needs. Different computers offer different features and capabilities. Buying a computer that is lacking certain necessary features ends up costing the user more money in the end. While some computers may seem like a good deal because of the price, it is important for shoppers to consider the specifications of the computer before making a decision.


The processor is often the first specification that the manufacturer lists when describing a computer. This is the heart of the computer, and the type of processor affects how the entire computer operates. People who use computers for gaming or running multiple applications simultaneously need faster and more powerful processors. Those who use their computers for casual Internet browsing, word processing, and other smaller tasks do not need to invest in a faster processor. The two types of processors that shoppers can choose from when looking at PCs are AMD and Intel, both with varying speeds.

Memory or RAM

The memory or the RAM is the type of memory that is available for the programmes to use. As with the processor, people who run multiple programmes or play games on their computers need a larger amount of memory and also faster memory. This affects how long it takes for programmes to load. To determine how much memory a computer needs, shoppers should check the system requirements for the programmes they intend to use. Buying too much memory can add to the overall price, but not enough memory can greatly affect the performance of the computer.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is the storage space on the computer. For most people, even casual users, the larger the hard drive, the better. People who like to download and watch movies or listen to music need space on their computers to store all these media files. Additionally, the space is needed for storing programs, documents, pictures, and other files. Hard drives range in size from several gigabytes (GB) to a few terabytes (TB). When buying an older, used computer, shoppers may notice that the hard drive is considerably smaller than most new computers. Fortunately, external hard drives are available to provide extra storage space, if necessary.

Optical Drive

The optical drive refers to the CD/DVD-ROM, or burner. Now that much of the content has moved from CDs and DVDs to digital downloads, the optical drive is not as important as it was in the past. Still, many users like to burn their own CDs or home movies, or need to install software from the disks when they do not have access to an Internet connection. Additionally, many newer computers offer the ability to watch Blu-ray discs as well. Many laptops do not come with optical drives, but they are still standard on many desktop PCs. Users must evaluate their needs to determine which type of optical drive they need or if they need one at all.

Video Card

A video card is required for displaying graphics on the screen. For most users, an integrated video card is sufficient. A user who frequently watches high-definition (HD) movies or play 3D games may need something a more powerful video card. If a shopper finds a good price on a used desktop PC that has a less-than-ideal video card, the video card can be easily switched out and upgraded. However, with all-in-one computers, it is more difficult to upgrade the video card. When shopping for a computer, shoppers should consider the card's performance, what version of Direct X software is supported, and how many external ports it has.


In order to connect other devices to a desktop computer, there need to be sufficient ports available. The number of ports reflects the number of devices that can be connected to the computer simultaneously. At the very least, computers should have multiple USB ports available since these are commonly used for connecting an assortment of other devices. Other ports shoppers should look out for are Ethernet, HDMI, eSATA, and Thunderbolt. Additionally, a memory card reader makes it easy to transfer photos from a digital camera to the computer.

Considerations When Buying Used PCs

When shopping for a used PC, there are always several things that shoppers must take into consideration before committing to a purchase. Computer technology is continuously advancing so it is important that the used PC is not so far behind the times that it is effectively obsolete. The user may not get much use out of such an outdated device. Additionally, if the used PC is very old, users should not expect to spend as much on it as they would a new computer. For this reason, shoppers must take extra care when choosing a used PC instead of a new one.

Computer Components

While in many stores shoppers can purchase a desktop computer with all of its components (tower, monitor, keyboard, and mouse), private sellers may only sell the tower. If this is the case, then the shopper must look elsewhere for the other components. This could mean spending more money than originally planned. On the other hand, shoppers can save money if they do not need the other parts. If the user's monitor, keyboard, and mouse are still in good condition, then simply replacing the tower would be a more cost-effective choice. In any case, shoppers need to make sure that they know what they are getting when they purchase a used desktop PC.

Age of the Computer

Because computer technology advances at such a fast rate, the age of the computer is important. Older computers have slower processes and less storage capacity. Because of this, older computers simply cannot run the latest programmes. Additionally, the design of older computers is much larger and bulkier when compared to the contemporary sleeker designs. Shoppers may list when the computer was released or when it was purchased brand new. If not, the shopper should ask the seller about how old it is or determine its age based on its specifications.


Most people shop for used items because they are less expensive than new ones. This means that shoppers should do their research and determine the retail prices of new computers. This enables them to make an accurate comparison. Used computers should be priced much lower than retail price, and if they are not, then shoppers should check to see if there have been any significant upgrades or move on to another computer. Likewise, if a deal seems too good to be true, then it likely is. Shoppers should be wary of computers that are priced too low. They may be missing important components or be non-functional.

How to Find Used PC Desktops and All-in-Ones on eBay

If you are looking for a good deal on a used PC desktop or all-in-one, then eBay has the largest selection to choose from. Because all of the computers are listed by private sellers, you can find a wide range of prices. Additionally, the selection changes all day and every day as computers are sold and new ones are listed. This increases your chances of finding just the computer that you need. In order to find the best deal on a used PC on eBay, you must know how to use all of the features of the site and conduct searches effectively.

Searching for Used PCs

If you already have an idea of the type of computer you want, then enter keywords into the search bar to describe it. Press the search button and wait for the results to be returned to you. Select different options such as the processor type, processor speed, memory, monitor, hard drive, or brand, to narrow down the selections even further. If you find that there are still too many results to sort through, perform an Advanced Search, which allows you to specify which words to include and exclude from the search, as well as set a price range and certain area of eBay to search in.


When shopping for a new computer, people have to determine if they want to purchase a laptop or a desktop. Both types of computers have their advantages, but people who do not travel with their computers or need bigger screens for tasks such as photo and video editing, a desktop computer is a better choice than a laptop. With a desktop computer, users can choose large screens and make small upgrades as needed. Additionally, desktop computers are often much more comfortable to use at a desk than laptops are. When shopping for a desktop computer, shoppers may get confused between the different types and the differences between desktops and all-in-ones. For this reason, shoppers should take the time to familiarise themselves with the different types of computers available, as well as the components and specifications they should look for. If new computers are out of one's price range, then shoppers can save money by looking for used computers. No matter what kind of computer is required, shoppers can find great deals and a large selection on eBay.

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