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The Gaming PC Refurbishing Experiment


UltraMega
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As some of you have already seen me rant about in the discord, I've recently started experimenting with building new PCs with used parts for resale, for profit. Here is some documentation of my experience so far. 

 

Why do this?

The most obvious reason would be to try and make a profit, but there are other benefits. For one, it can be done from home. Two, it's recycling, which can be a big deal for PC components which leave a lot of toxic waste in impoverished countries. But mostly for me as a PC building nerd, it's just a fun thing to do. Personally, I am a huge advocate of PC recycling

 

The logic:

GPU prices are whack right now. No one feels happy about paying the original MSRP for a 3000 series card two years after launch. In addition, inflation and the breaking of Moore's Law is leading to a rise in CPU prices. Dialing back one or two generation on a CPU can still leave you above PS5/XBSX level performance by a wide margin.

 

GPUs are about 30% cheaper used. GPUs have a low failure rate among PC parts, almost always outliving their warranties. 

 

CPUs can be as much as 50% cheaper when going back 1-3 generations. CPU failure is the least common hardware failure for desktops, almost always outliving their warranties

 

Motherboards can go either way. Good used deals can be found, but they're slim. 20% savings. Buying new or used can both be effective and reasonable. 

 

The remaining components should all be purchased new, and there is little to nothing to gain from buying them used. 

 

 

Most Important Savings on Parts:

 

CPU: 3700X with stock fan. 1 bent pin - $143 used 

I saw this CPU listed for about $20 less than any other listing that came with the stock cooler. The AMD prism Wrath cooler looks quite nice and has RGB, so I wanted to get a CPU that came with it. I felt confident that I could repair the bent pin, and I was right; however I feel the seller took pictures that hid the severity of the bend as it was a full 90 degree bend, though I was still able to repair it. The saving from going with a bent pin CPU was probably not worth it as I only saved about $20.

 

GPUASUS Dual GeForce RTX 3070 OC

This was my biggest personal hang up. This GPU was a good price, at $375 total after tax and shipping, but it was loud. I had to redo the thermal paste and despite my high-quality thermal grizzly paste as a replacement, the GPU was still quite loud, though not as loud as it was before the thermal paste refresh. I feel this was the weakest link in terms of customer quality/satisfaction as they find the fan noise too much.

 

 

Parts to buy New:

 

Case DeepCool MATREXX 40 3FS

Ram Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 3600 (PC4-28800) C18 AMD Optimized

SSD Kingston NV2 1TB M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe Internal SSD Up to 3500 MB/s SNV2S/1000G

PSU Thermaltake Smart RGB 700W 80+ 256-Color RGB Fan ATX 12V 2.3

 

 

All and all it cost me about $800 in parts, and another $3 for a windows key via gamers outlet.

 

Listed the PC on Craigslist for $950, listed on ebay for a buy it now price of $980 plus $60 shipping on top. ($1040)

 

I sold the PC in after via Craigslist having it listed for 3-4 days. The buyer was serious and well informed on the idea of saving with a used GPU. Buyer had bought an early covid PC with a decent 9th gen i5 CPU but very weak GPU due to shortages. For whatever reason, he decided to upgrade his whole PC instead of just his GPU to get something to keep up with the new COD game. I gave the customer an invoice, warranty, and told him to call me if he had any problems. I have not heard from him so far. There was also a lot of views/watchers on ebay, I suspect it could have sold there too. 

 

What I would do different

I would have made sure to get a 3 fan GPU. While some people may be OK with a louder GPU fan sound, eliminating that issue would be a final closed loop in the reselling process to ensure there is virtually no chance for a return.

 

Pay closer attention to the RGB capabilities of the case and incorporate case RGB id possible. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edit:

 

This one sold pretty quick. Made about $120 profit off this one. 

Edited by UltraMega
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  • 2 months later...

So I just sold the second PC I built for this experiment. Almost kinda sad to see it go, I really liked this one and thought about keeping it for myself. 

 

Cost $1050 

Sold for $1200

 

3900x

32GB 3600mhz CL16

GeForce 3070

750w Thermatake PSU

A520 motherboard I forget the model number

 

Would have sold it sooner but a friend of mine had planned on buying it, but his finances got delayed so I relisted it and it sold locally after being listed for about two week. 

 

So now I'm 2 for 2 or building PCs with some used parts and selling them for profit. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by UltraMega

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Hey, this is a really cool idea but unfortunately it takes money to make money.

 

Both the systems turned out great: nice and clean, nice RGB, Wraith cooler looks great (but unfortunately you can't really OC on it).

 

I would do this myself, and have money I could use to do it with, excepting that any money I make has to be reported to Social Security and they deduct it from my payment. So if I don't do something that makes me over $900 a month (substantially more) there is no incentive to work. It's really stupid. I could always do it on my wife's eBay account...

 

Anyway, I like this idea a lot.

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On 28/01/2023 at 11:39, neurotix said:

Hey, this is a really cool idea but unfortunately it takes money to make money.

 

Both the systems turned out great: nice and clean, nice RGB, Wraith cooler looks great (but unfortunately you can't really OC on it).

 

I would do this myself, and have money I could use to do it with, excepting that any money I make has to be reported to Social Security and they deduct it from my payment. So if I don't do something that makes me over $900 a month (substantially more) there is no incentive to work. It's really stupid. I could always do it on my wife's eBay account...

 

Anyway, I like this idea a lot.

 

Can always just do cash payment. That said, ebay provides tax documents for you so it's easy to keep track of. 

Edited by UltraMega

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6 minutes ago, UltraMega said:

 

Can always just do cash payments. 

Lol true enough. Check your pm's.

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SSD/NVME: Samsung 850 Evo
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  • UltraMega changed the title to The Gaming PC Refurbishing Experiment

Minor update, I built a PC for a buddy of mine with the same logic as the last two I built. This one is just at cost. First time trying a blower style 3070 GPU and, well, this GPU might need to be sent back. 

First PC had a dual fan 3070 and the noise was not ideal. After that, I went with a 3 fan 3070 that I got for about the same price as the dual fan one, but it was much quieter. This blower one... I got it because the prices on used GPUs seem to actually be going up and I didn't want to pay more for a 3070 than I did a few week/months ago for the last two but it's looking like it may not have been worth the savings as this GPU is quite loud. The fan also sounds like it has some minor vibration at high speeds which makes it even louder. 

 

I will try repasting it but I don't expect it to do much good. 

So TLDR, don't get a blower style 3070. 

 

 

Anyone with a 3070 looking to sell? Will buy for $350. 

Edited by UltraMega

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  • 3 weeks later...

5700x processor is sitting in a good position for budget builds right now.  There is definitely a market for building computers and selling them, especially the slightly older stock that still runs well, used or otherwise.  I find it interesting that a lot of people are willing to pay for the 'slightly better' stuff because they aren't hurting for money and want to feel good about their purchase.  Even though they won't benefit from the increased performance.  I'm probably guilty of that too, but I keep stuff for a long time, so my spending is TOTALLY justified. 

 

A long time ago I was looking at starting a business building computers.  One guy in the industry told me, if you can make money off anything else, do that instead.  The hardware industry is so cutthroat that it's hard to make any money.  He told me he'd seen online stores selling stuff cheaper than it cost to get, because they were turning around and selling user data to make up the difference.  Things may have changed a lot in the 30 years since then, now we generally have fewer hardware resellers in the business.  I think if you can build to order, it's still a good business, but if your sitting on stock when manufactures slash their prices, it's hard to get rid of inventory.  If Artesian Builds showed anything, it's that there are a lot of people willing to order a PC and wait for it to be built.  If Gamer's Nexus prebuilt reviews show anything, it's that there's a lot of crap on the market that isn't well built.

 

I must be getting old, I don't like building computers anymore.  I miss the days of my metal side panels, non-RGB systems where wires could run anywhere.  The PSU shroud on my Meshify 2 case caused a fair bit of headache trying to run the 3x PCIE cables to my GPU.  In part, because the ASrock Steel Legend includes a GPU support bracket, and those power cable holes came out right underneath the support bracket.  The PCIE connectors barely squeaked through, and only at the perfect angle with 4 pins split apart from the others.  That issue alone easily added 30 minutes to an hour to my build.  I regret the meshify 2.  I prefer cheap cases that don't engineer solutions to non-existent problems.

 

P.S.  RGB is a plague

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1 hour ago, Kaz said:

P.S.  RGB is a plague

This is the PC I just built for my buddy 🤣

TEMP_20230222_161241_HDR.jpg

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Not a bad looking system. 

You should see the RGB setup on my system...  It's got this crazy flat panel, that has; pixels, they can be any color, and even go together to show a picture!  Yep, that's what I wanna look at.  🤣

My case?  Oh, that's dark, only 1 red light that shows if the system is on.  Wouldn't want to distract from those awesome panels.  When I built my friends system, I remember doing a fair bit of work to hide the RGB wires for 6 different fans.

 

Maybe I need to start making tempered glass systems with non-modular power supplies where I just run the wires everywhere and show off my spaghetti.  I'm convinced wire chaos is a real thing.  When wires look at each other, they instantly become tangled. 

 

Embrace the madness....

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  • 3 weeks later...

Next refurb:

 

CPU: 3700X 

GPU: GeForce RTX3080 10GB

Ram: 32GB 3600mhz CL18 

Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING

Storage: 1TB Kingston NV2 3500mhz SSD

Power Supply: Thermaltake 750w

 

$900 in parts, will try to sell it for $1050. 

 

This time the CPU, mobo, and GPU are used. CPU and mobo came from ebay, GPU came from the OCN marketplace. Everything else is new. 

 

 

 

20230318_150624_HDR.jpg

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On 18/03/2023 at 17:36, UltraMega said:

Next refurb:

 

CPU: 3700X 

GPU: GeForce RTX3080 10GB

Ram: 32GB 3600mhz CL18 

Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING

Storage: 1TB Kingston NV2 3500mhz SSD

Power Supply: Thermaltake 750w

 

$900 in parts, will try to sell it for $1050. 

 

This time the CPU, mobo, and GPU are used. CPU and mobo came from ebay, GPU came from the OCN marketplace. Everything else is new. 

 

 

 

20230318_150624_HDR.jpg

20230318_150551_HDR.jpg

20230318_150507_HDR.jpg

Sick one bro.

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MONITOR: Acer Ultrawide 3440x1440 144Hz HDR400 FreeSync Premium
SSD/NVME: Crucial T700 1TB PCIE 5 M.2
PSU: Superflower Leadex VII XG 1300w Gold
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Buyer lined up for later today. Unless something changes, gonna sell it for $1050 and make the same ~$150 as I have with the others. 

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Nice, too bad the profit margin isn't higher or I'd consider doing it myself.

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1 minute ago, neurotix said:

Nice, too bad the profit margin isn't higher or I'd consider doing it myself.

Yea, probably wouldn't do this if I didn't enjoy it. 

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8 minutes ago, UltraMega said:

Yea, probably wouldn't do this if I didn't enjoy it. 

I might do it except for my severe pain issues preventing it. There's also the issue of sourcing parts, if you say bought a "for parts or not working" motherboard or graphics card and repaired them or something like that, you might be able to make better profit.

 

I enjoy building pcs but am really unable to because of pain. My recent upgrades, my wife mostly installed. I put in the M.2 drive, cpu and ram on the new board, and mounted the water block, but she did everything else.

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GPU: MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 4090
MONITOR: Acer Ultrawide 3440x1440 144Hz HDR400 FreeSync Premium
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CPU: i5-7600k 4.5GHz
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1 minute ago, neurotix said:

I might do it except for my severe pain issues preventing it. There's also the issue of sourcing parts, if you say bought a "for parts or not working" motherboard or graphics card and repaired them or something like that, you might be able to make better profit.

 

I enjoy building pcs but am really unable to because of pain. My recent upgrades, my wife mostly installed. I put in the M.2 drive, cpu and ram on the new board, and mounted the water block, but she did everything else.

I'm telling you man, try the NJOY vapes, they're great for transitioning away from cigarettes. 

 

~12 years ago I was the manager of the assembly dept. at Digital Storm and I was making about $10 an hour to build 7-8 PCs a day, so making $150 now to build one feels like a real win even if it's not a great margin. Electronics are typical a low margin game because the market is so competitive. If I look at it more like time and effort, it probably takes me 2 hours to build it (working at a slow pace) so $150 for two hours of physical labor aint bad. If I had a store front, I could do this all day and make good money IMO. 

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1 hour ago, UltraMega said:

I'm telling you man, try the NJOY vapes, they're great for transitioning away from cigarettes. 

 

~12 years ago I was the manager of the assembly dept. at Digital Storm and I was making about $10 an hour to build 7-8 PCs a day, so making $150 now to build one feels like a real win even if it's not a great margin. Electronics are typical a low margin game because the market is so competitive. If I look at it more like time and effort, it probably takes me 2 hours to build it (working at a slow pace) so $150 for two hours of physical labor aint bad. If I had a store front, I could do this all day and make good money IMO. 

$75/hour profit for 2 hours. Seems pretty good to me. Selling locally I gather?

Edited by Sir Beregond
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55 minutes ago, Sir Beregond said:

$75/hour profit for 2 hours. Seems pretty good to me. Selling locally I gather?

Yup, selling locally. I would sell on ebay but so far local has worked out. 

 

There's additional time spent browsing parts online and listing the PC online, but that stuff is very easy. 

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Sold. 

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  • 2 months later...

Next refurb, used CPU, used GPU, all else is new. 

3700x

32GB 3600mhz CL16

2TB 3200mb/s NVME SSD

GeForce 3070 8GB

Gigabyte A520m wifi

ThermalTake 750w PSU

 

Probably going to sell this one for about $950

20230611_013459_HDR.jpg

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Looks good. Good job bro. Here's hoping it sells.

 

Seems like a pretty good 1080p Ultra system, I personally have no idea if a RTX 3070 can handle 1440p or higher, though.

 

Edit: also do you overclock them at all before you sell them? Set PBO settings and set up an Afterburner profile for the GPU? If you did you could probably charge a little extra.

Edited by neurotix
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MONITOR: Acer Ultrawide 3440x1440 144Hz HDR400 FreeSync Premium
SSD/NVME: Crucial T700 1TB PCIE 5 M.2
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GPU: GT 710
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1 hour ago, neurotix said:

Looks good. Good job bro. Here's hoping it sells.

 

Seems like a pretty good 1080p Ultra system, I personally have no idea if a RTX 3070 can handle 1440p or higher, though.

 

Edit: also do you overclock them at all before you sell them? Set PBO settings and set up an Afterburner profile for the GPU? If you did you could probably charge a little extra.

 

I make sure the ram is at XMP, sometimes turn on PBO but otherwise no, no overclocking. 

 

This recent build I had to buy a heatsink separate from the cpu and I got like the cheapest one Newegg had that was a 120mm, had no reviews but I recognize the brand so I tried it and it actually holds up really well. 

 

I think a 3070 is pretty ideal for 1440p in all but the most demanding titles with the highest settings. This PC will go for less than the last one I did though for sure. 3070 prices have come down a good amount. 

Edited by UltraMega
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CPU: 5800x
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS TUF Gaming B550-Plus
RAM: XMP 3600mhz CL16
GPU: 7900XT
SOUNDCARD: Sound Blaster Z 5.1 home theater
MONITOR: 4K 65 inch TV
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How much did you pay for this build and how much profit will you make? If you don't mind answering.

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CPU: Ryzen 9 7900X3D
MOTHERBOARD: Asus ROG Strix X670E-E Gaming Wifi
RAM: G.skill TridentZ5 7600MHz 36-45-45-45
GPU: MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 4090
MONITOR: Acer Ultrawide 3440x1440 144Hz HDR400 FreeSync Premium
SSD/NVME: Crucial T700 1TB PCIE 5 M.2
PSU: Superflower Leadex VII XG 1300w Gold
CPU COOLER: EK Nucleus AIO black edition 360mm
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CPU: i5-7600k 4.5GHz
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS ROG Strix Z270H Gaming
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CASE: Silverstone Grandia series GD09
SSD/NVME: Samsung 850 Evo
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23 minutes ago, neurotix said:

How much did you pay for this build and how much profit will you make? If you don't mind answering.

Well, this one would cost about $875 in total parts, but I got the case for free. It had shipping damage when I bought it, so I got it refunded, but it was only one of the feet that was damaged and I was able to fix it with super glue. So this one probably actually cost me about $800, and I'll aim to sell it for somewhere between $950 and $1050.

 

This one also has a bigger PSU than it needs though, and that's because I already had it and I just didn't feel like ordering a smaller/cheaper one. 

Edited by UltraMega

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CPU: 5800x
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS TUF Gaming B550-Plus
RAM: XMP 3600mhz CL16
GPU: 7900XT
SOUNDCARD: Sound Blaster Z 5.1 home theater
MONITOR: 4K 65 inch TV
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On 11/06/2023 at 02:50, UltraMega said:

Next refurb, used CPU, used GPU, all else is new. 

3700x

32GB 3600mhz CL16

2TB 3200mb/s NVME SSD

GeForce 3070 8GB

Gigabyte A520m wifi

ThermalTake 750w PSU

 

Probably going to sell this one for about $950

 

Odd config. For what 3700X's go for these days you could easily have done a comparable Zen 3 part I reckon and maybe better than an A520.

 

EDIT: But I don't know what you got your parts for so I could be wrong. I had the wrong price for the 3700X for one. Thought it was $200ish but saw it was more like $110.

Edited by Sir Beregond
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition
RAM: G.Skill Trident Z Neo 32GB DDR4-3600 (@ 3733 CL14)
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS Crosshair VIII Dark Hero
SSD/NVME: x2 Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB
SSD/NVME 2: Crucial MX500 1TB
PSU: Corsair RM1000x
MONITOR: LG 42" C4 OLED
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CPU: E8400, i5-650, i7-870, i7-960, i5-2400, i7-4790k, i9-10900k, i3-13100, i9-13900ks
GPU: many
RAM: Corsair 32GB DDR3-2400 | Oloy Blade 16GB DDR4-3600 | Crucial 16GB DDR5-5600
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS P7P55 WS SC | ASUS Z97 Deluxe | EVGA Z490 Dark | EVGA Z790 Dark Kingpin
SSD/NVME: Samsung 870 Evo 1TB | Inland 1TB Gen 4
PSU: BeQuiet Straight Power 12 1500W
CASE: Cooler Master MasterFrame 700 - bench mode
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 10 LTSC
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CPU: M1 Pro
RAM: 32GB
SSD/NVME: 1TB
OPERATING SYSTEM: MacOS Sonoma
CASE: Space Grey
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