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Used Notebook Buying Guide

1. Should You Buy a Used Notebook?

2. What price should you pay for a used notebook?

3. What type of notebook should you buy?

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Used Notebook Buying Guide - Page 3

What type of used notebook should you buy?

The brand of notebook is a very important factor. You will have a much happier experience with your used notebook if you buy a brand name used computer. Why? Because the larger computer companies provide much better support (parts, software, drivers, and technical support) than a smaller computer company.
We are often asked what brands of notebooks we recommend. We recommend you concentrate your used notebook hunt on Dell, Sony, Toshiba, and IBM. I would also feel pretty comfortable buying a used HP, Compaq, Gateway or Micron notebook.

Does this mean you shouldn't buy other company's used notebooks? No, but I certainly would pay less than I would for any of the above brands.

General Buying Rule. Buy a name brand used notebook

Buy a notebook that can run the software you want to use

Your notebook needs to be powerful enough to run the software that you want to use. If you want to use Windows 2000, Windows XP or run Adobe PhotoShop you need to buy a notebook that can at least meet the minimum requirements to run that software. To find out the minimum requirements to run software, visit the software manufacturer's Web site.

We also recommend that you buy a used notebook with at least the speed of a Pentium III 1 GHz or faster. If you just want to word process, by all means choose a less powerful notebook. (You can find a notebook CPU speed comparison in our Laptop Buying Guide.)

Other important notebook hardware features including system RAM, video resolution, and hard drive capacity are also discussed in our Laptop Buying Guide.

Hint: Unless you want to load software from floppy disks, buy a used notebook with a CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, or DVD-RW drive. An external CD/CD-RW/DVD drive is also a good choice.

General Buying Rule. Buy a notebook that can run the software you want to use.

Final Thoughts

-- Remember that a used notebook is not necessarily the best solution. While a new notebook will cost more than a used one, it could actually save you money with its 3 year warranty, newer parts, and newer software.
-- A notebook older than 3 years old can only be expected to efficiently run an operating system and software that was available when it was manufactured.
-- Always compare the features of a used notebook to an affordable new notebook. Think about how long you expect to keep the notebook and how long it will be able to run the software you want to use. You may be surprised that the newer notebook with the higher price will actually save you money in the long run.
-- If you aren't comfortable with buying a used notebook --- then don't do it.

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