On my modern retro gaming Tropico post, I wrote about how I was playing much older games with lower-end hardware from this generation. I recommended for those on a tight budget to try to find cheap deals on used, but good condition, graphics cards rather than using the integrated ones that come with their processor. Since that post came, I have received a decent amount of email saying they would never buy used because either they only trust out-of-the-box products or they simply do not like the idea of sticking someone else’s stuff in their computer.

Well, I think it is time for us to let our egos aside for a second. Trust me, I used to be a lot like you guys. In my first few months or so of building computers — many years back — I used to always buy new. In fact, I don’t think I actually bought anything used as far as electrical components for a couple of years. I started on the used train after borrowing one of my colleague’s CPU chips since he had already upgraded one of his rigs and my build at that time needed a better processor. Low and behold, that chip worked and my system was better off.

That was when I borrowed from a friend, however. I can definitely see the worry of some of you because you are putting a real piece of someone else’s builds into your own computer. It sounds weird and feels kind of shady. But I promise you, nothing really can go wrong. People cannot “hack” these processors, graphics cards, or RAM. And even if they could, I promise you they have much more efficient ways of using that knowledge than to sell you something used for, what, 50 or 100 bucks?

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The point is, always buying factory-sealed hardware can run down your budget. I have built computers that cost around $1500, but later did quick research on the individual parts and found I could have gotten the same system for roughly $1250. Granted, all those parts are used and obviously will have shorter lifespan (I will not go over the extensive pros and cons of buying new vs. used; that will probably come later on) but look at that immediate savings. I know plenty of readers both here and the main website are on tight budgets and a $250 savings on an already expensive hobby can mean a lot.

I urge you to at least consider buying some parts used. I would save RAM and storage devices for brand new, since I will never trust those being used. But for processors, you can find many good deals from people selling their parts. Graphics cards and PC towers are others you can save plenty of cash on. Besides, if you decide to buy used for some parts and end up saving money, you can always use that extra cash to buy yourself a better piece. In that $1500 build I mentioned, I saved $250. That is a whole graphics cards worth of money. Rather than getting something relatively cheap for my video card, I could spend that $250 on a brand new card (like the newly released GTX 1060!)


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