Note: Discussion is more than welcome, but the primary intent of this thread is to create more of an ongoing blog-style postings where I share my adventures in learning about the used tech market and how to flip PCs. Thanks for stopping by and reading/posting either way.
Before the spring of last year, I wouldn’t have considered myself more than a casual enthusiast at best. While I had a fair understanding of the basics, messing around with hardware always seemed to scare me more than software ever did. Around March of 2021, I was finally able to upgrade my decade old gaming PC (1st gen “8-core” bulldozer/GTX660/Win7) to something from the current decade* (10900KF/Z490Unify/970EVO+/64GB/cough1060-6GB*).
To research parts for the new build, I had to catch myself up with about a decades worth of tech, but with the amount of quality content that is now on youtube, tech was surprisingly more accessible than it had ever been before. Problem was, I didn’t have the tools nor the workspace to build myself a PC, so I was left with seeking out a local builder to assemble my growing pile of computer parts. I managed to find one through a friend of a sibling of a friend type of deal, but despite the flawless build and okay Windows install, I had misunderstood him when we initially discussed the price.
What I thought was going to be $175 for the build and windows install plus key cost (which did sound a tad low, but not questionably so), turned out that he wanted $175 for the build AND an additional $175 for the windows install. Plus the full cost of a Windows key and the total bill was $450. Needless to say, I still have a very strong sour taste in my mouth from that event. But honestly it was exactly the motivation I needed to finally decide to learn how to work on tech myself, partly so that I’ll never get hosed like that again, but also to try and help others and maybe save some tech from a landfill along the way.
Fast forward to the beginning of the new year, and after being inspired by various tech youtubers (Including Brian from TechYES), I decided to try and see how successful I could be at the used parts game. First step was to create an office/workshop space where I could feel comfortable enough to get actual work done. Thankfully I had been working on this since the previous summer and after a new office PC I can say that it is pretty much exactly where I want it to be.
I started out by “adopting” a few discarded laptops and helping with data recovery for a couple of friends & family. One of the first ones I fixed up was a fully-functioning 2016 Asus X540SA pentium laptop that was likely abandoned because of a noise, but that noise was very obviously from the fan and not the hard drive. $11.65 later, including shipping, and the mildly-annoying-at-best fan noise was gone. Another $37 for a 240GB BX500 and it is now running as good as it ever will.
After a few months of attempting to buy just about anything at or under a hundred bucks and then adding SSDs to make them usable, I had amassed a whopping four ~$150 budget laptops, but also an ever growing pile of “broken” ones. I’ve also started to collect old desktops, components and monitors, but not really anything that could be used to flip a budget gaming PC. Clearly this isn’t where the money is at, but maybe still worthwhile down the road for other reasons. Ifixit has been a real savior throughout it all, as I’m now convinced that there is very little you can’t fix (at least at a component level) with a Pro toolkit and google.
But these things require both time and patience, especially in rural areas where the used market only gets lukewarm at its hottest. Then about a week ago the deal I had been waiting for finally popped up on the local marketplace. It was a large assortment of PC parts including five storage drives, several cases, two DDR4 memory kits, two decent low-end PSUs, a GT1030, and almost 20 case fans which where mostly corsair and/or RGB.
Ask was $350 total, but I knocked 'em down to $275 for everything. Not a steal by any means, but I believe there’s enough there to add some value and profit into a few builds. Turns out that only one of the cases is good enough for a flip, but it’s all good for now, since it will let me focus on what I am now affectionately calling the Budget Banger #1:
The angle is going to be that the build is “drop-in” upgradeable on both the CPU and GPU, but it also checks off certain boxes like 12th gen core processor, nvidia, and the always important and necessary RGB. The rest of the new parts should all be here by Wednesday at the latest, so hopefully I can have it up and benchmarking by the end of the weekend. I am interested to see how well it can handle console emulation software like PCSX2 and Duckstation, as well as as select few older AAA titles. Until then, thanks again for reading/browsing and I hope you at least found this somewhat mildly amusing and maybe even interested enough to follow along with what’s to come.