When it comes to PCs, I always try to avoid Used or Seller Refurbished parts because I have no idea if the parts were abused, OC'ed, or modified by the previous owners. If it was from a friend or someone I knew and trusted, I'd be okay. I'm just talking about eBay and marketplace sellers. The core components of any PC are critical. If one thing fails, it cripples everything else (excluding peripheral devices).
I only trust Certified or Manufacturer Refurbished parts because they were repaired by the company, tested for resale, and usually include some type of warranty.
I do, a lot.
But don't go blindly into the deal. It depends and I only buy if I can see the stuff in person.
I bought my Corsair Obsidian 450D Airflow, my actual case back in 2014, as you would expect, brand new it was well over 150€ here. A guy had one that couldn't return to the store and sold it to me for like, 80€. Sweet Deal! Still in the cardbox.
Used parts like CPU's and such, I tend to go to a local store, sometimes after upgrading other peoples computers, they are left with used CPU's. I bought some on the cheap like an Athlon 1ghz plus board and ram back when I was just a kid for under 40€, sweet for my tertiary build.
My Ryujin AIO was refurbished, I bought it for 79€ in a outlet store with warranty.
3x ASUS Lyras, refurbished from Amazon, bought them 3 years ago for 120 pounds. Thats waaay under the asking price for a set of 3.
And much more! If I can save a buck and the guy/store is a honest seller, why not.
I've sold some hardware too, no one complained so far.
I'm looking into building my first pc and I'm trying to figure out how usefuul used parts would be.
Just like it's been mentioned, it comes down to two things. 1) Where are the parts coming from & 2) What parts are you buying?
For example, for where they are coming from - here is what I think:
From friends and family that you know haven't abused it - generally ok.
From Craigslist or Marketplace that you don't really know the internal condition of the item - generally not ok.
From a trusted business that is selling it as open box or refurbished - generally ok.
In terms of what are you buying, think about it like this - If it is a critical part (MB, CPU, GPU, PSU) most likely want to buy new or less risky used. For non-critical parts (RAM, Fans, Cases, extra storage) you can generally open your options a little more to used parts, because if a fan fails or RAM dies - replacement and damage from that is generally much less and much easier.
Of course, every item is different.
I use used parts a lot, but they are MY used parts. I have three desktop PCs, so everything is new at some point, then I just get a new part and shuffle things downward.
I should say I have purchased certain used parts in the past, especially hard to get discontinued items for work. Used memory from a major supplier, where if I'm stuck with something bad, I could say, go to Kingston without a receipt and get a replacement or be sure I'm able to return it after testing. I've gotten used motherboards for work. Used video and hard drives are usually a no-no. Same goes for CPUs that can be overclocked. I get tons of Intel wi-fi cards for our laptops on ebay to replace crap Atheros and Broadcom units. Just be sure whomever you buy if from, you can contest the purchase with your credit card, and returns for defective refunds are ok.
I have used my own used parts in building PCs for friends and family. I hate to say but I still have 8 builds (all working or they did) stored and 3 Mid ATX cases never used. Must be separation anxiety. I have never bought a used or refurbished part other than a couple of hard drives. I have used parts from PCs given to me to rebuild working computers and found them a home. I am not opposed to used parts just have not bought many. The only parts I would steer clear of are the moving ones including drives. SSDs I'm not sure about but anything with a MTF (mean time to failure). Even now with the advent of Win 11 there are going to be a lot of parts that are cast aside that have a lot of kick left in them. Win 10 is done, as of now, in 2025. I just retired a Ryzen 5 1600x. Can we say linux? I would not mind refurbished parts but the discounts do not seem to be enough for the risk. Cases, CPUs, GPUs and PWR Supplies and Memory why not if the price is right.
There is a lot of value in the second hand market, I've bought from the used PC parts market and even sold some of my own.
Buying used PC parts is risky and rewarding at the same time. While you can end up with a well-functioning used part, you might also purchase a faulty part.
Buy from trusted sellers. As a good rule of thumb, always buy from a trusted seller. If you’re buying online, check for reviews and customer ratings to determine the seller’s legitimacy.
Always examine the products. Ensure that you take your time to check its physical appearance before buying a second-hand product. Some products like casings and keyboards are easy to examine based on their physical appearance.
Test the parts. Buying a used PC part without proper testing isn’t the smartest idea. Not only does it increase the chances of disappointment, but it also means you can incur losses should the seller have a no-return policy.
I avoid anything labeled as reconditioned recertified and refurbished.
Saying that on Newegg.com I have had good luck with open box items.
Always check customer reviews as well and the number of reviews.
Pay close attention to the specs of the product for compatibility.
Research trusted PC parts websites and wait for weekends and the week after a major holidays that's when overstock gets pushed out and sales and great buys line up.
As someone with a younger and older sibling, I have been on both sides of the situation family-wise. I have had used parts and when I have built my own a few times, I have let them have whatever they could use. I think used parts from trusted sources are okay, but you should think of your build as a bridge build until you can build the PC you want, or at least can afford. I am sure there are better feelings out there, but building your own PC is rewarding, and even with used parts, can be enjoyable. Plus, you can gain experience for future builds.
In the past, I have built PCs for friends and family, using used parts from my own collection. My desktop PCs keep turning over at varying speeds, so everything is always new at some point, then I just get another part and shuffle things downward. I got experience in buying parts and building a new homemade PC and enjoyed it a lot no matter how to work just self-confidence build and now many friend and colleague rely on me to buying new parts of PC and made a powerful PC. I do not mind using used parts as long as they are of good quality.