Buying a PC on a budget

My friend has been told her PC will cost more than it's worth to fix.

She is on a tight budget of £200. Is it possible for her to find a refurbished desktop or laptop for this amount?

What basic questions should she be asking? I've told her memory, processor, hard drive, operating system, after sales support.

She wants a printer, monitor and mouse all in. Is this being a little optimistic at £200? Don't want to disappoint her but she needs to be realistic. Where should I help her look for reliable refurbished machines and are there any specific buying questions when going for the secondhand option?
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hippocampusAuthor Commented:

Yes that may be true but I do think that asking the right questions when approaching your local computer shop can help, surely? That's why I've posted for some advice. My friend is not a charity case, but she doesn't have enough money to go for a budget laptop or PC from one of the bigger chains. It's a shame because I know that even £350 or so will get you a decent basic machine.

My question is all about how to ask the right things when exploring the refurbished option. That is her only option. I'd still appreciate some help on what questions to ask. Thanks.
You can get a refurbished Dell Inspiron 530 desktop without monitor for 150-200. Just don't get one of the systems with a Celeron, the Dual cores that are the same price are faster.!-1418874326!1202160143134
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hippocampusAuthor Commented:
Thanks, am checking link out. Still planning to call round a couple of local stores so any pointers welcome
hippocampusAuthor Commented:
Okay, here's what the two local stores have come up with...which one looks best anyone? Both £180. One with printer but without monitor. One with monitor but without printer. Feedback much appreciated. It's all down to how and where you can get hold of budget peripherals I suppose...


Winfast Motherboard
Sempron 2800+
512mb Ram
80gb Hardrive
Aopen DVD Writer
Lan Onboard
Geforce 5200 Graphics 128mb
32 Bit Sound Card
6 USB Ports
Windows XP Home
 Epson DX4450 All In One Printer Scanner

Base Unit
Intel Celeron 2.4
512m DDR
80G Hard Disk
15" CRT Monitor    

Used inkjet printers are not recommended, unless they have print head and cartridge in one unit (you'll have to get new cartridges anyway, but having clogged-up print heads may cost you quite a bit more). The net worth of the printer here is approaching zero -in my opinion... A monitor is a bit more useful, actually.... but a 15" CRT isn't worth much either.

What is the user assumed to do with the system? The specs above are quite all right, more than enough, really, for "office work". Perhaps she should shop for a used LCD and an even cheaper system, that can be upgraded later.

Also, you may want to look at used laptops. Some outfits get new ones every other year and if they sell the old ones through a decent reseller, you could get a real bargain. HP/Compaq, IBM/Lenovo and Dell units should be useful for a couple years more in home use.

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hippocampusAuthor Commented:
rid thanks. Am emailing her this comment, as it's great advice
hippocampusAuthor Commented:
A good bit of guidance for my friend's budget PC conundrum thanks :-)
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