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    I haven’t bought a new dev machine in … eight years. Reconditioned, ex-corporate, Lenovo ThinkPads are where it’s at for me.

    Currently I’m running a W540 - high-res screen, 16GiB RAM (up to 32GiB), 500GiB SSD dual-booting Ubuntu (for play) and FreeBSD (for work). Cost me AUD$400 less the SSD. Prior to that, for several years, I was running FreeBSD on an X220 that I purchased for around AUD$300.

    https://duncan.bayne.id.au/photos/Working-_Hacking-_Making/x220_at_fresho.jpg

    My three children run Ubuntu on ThinkPad X250s. Having identical hardware and OSs makes management easy. Also purchased refurbed ex-corporate; most recently an 8GiB / 128GiB X250 for AUD$345 including shipping. Lightning fast with Ubuntu, and they can do all their kid stuff: Minecraft, Starbound, Spotify, Wesnoth, DOSBox (for retro games), etc.

    I might break the habit, though, with my next dev machine. Since the COVID-19 pandemic I’m looking at buying a new desktop (or maybe rackmount?) system and just using a laptop as a client when I’m not at my desk. If I do, though, it’ll be another refurbished X-series.

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      My three children run Ubuntu on ThinkPad X250s

      Wow, you really spoil your kids; mine are on a T410 and T420. =) Works great for Minecraft, TIC-80, and SNES/Playstation emulation, and they don’t have to use a chiclet keyboard. The kid with the T420 has to put up with a 16:9 aspect ratio, but … life is never perfect.

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        They used to run older X-series (our eldest, for example, had my old X220). But I standardised on current-generation power adaptors and docking stations for convenience (so we can share equipment). One of the reasons I’m looking at the X-series again for myself after the W is that the W requires 170W power adaptors o_O

        Our family tradition is that, when you turn three, you get your big boy / big girl’s bed, and you get your first ThinkPad with Ubuntu.

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          Standardizing on power adapters is also part of why I won’t buy the newer ones with the chonky rectangles. I must have ten or twelve of the barrel jack adapters in various places around the house. =)

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            You can get barrel -> rectangle adaptors I believe. If you don’t have docking stations to consider, that might be an option.

            The only reason I upgraded from my old X220 to a W540 is that I was doing a lot of work on trains at the time, and the 768px screen was a bit of a liability.

            I’m seriously tempted to switch back to an X200. They’re old, now, but I still think they represent the pinnacle of X-series design: old IBM-style ThinkPad keyboard, ThinkLight, no trackpad (only TrackPoint). Would make a fine client for a desktop / server, especially with a newer screen panel and CoreBoot.

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              I’m seriously tempted to switch back to an X200.

              I used to have an X200 and I’d suggest considering the X301 instead; full-size classic keyboard, just as light, same 1440x900 resolution but slightly larger, and the palm rest is done with rubberized carbon fiber instead of plastic. Back in the day it also had a bonus of having two battery bays, but sadly these days you can’t buy a battery for the second bay unless you want to take a chance on a cheap one that will likely balloon up and crack your chassis from the inside. The main downside is that it requires a special 1.8-inch SSD.

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                Ooh, thanks for letting me know - that looks perfect. Found this article while Googling the 301, too: http://panacek.net/post/x301-rebuild/

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        I haven’t bought a new dev machine in … eight years.

        I typically buy a new desktop computer every 5 years, so try to find a sweet spot in terms of good components that’ll be sufficiently performant for that long and allow for a bit of upgradability (usually a new GPU a few years in).

        I’m presently at 7 years on this machine. CPUs haven’t gotten majorly faster compared to previous cycles, so I’ve found it difficult to justify the expense for only a 2-3x speedup. The Ryzens look like they might be worth it though.

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          Ryzen is absolutely worth it. The increase in core count is amazing for certain workloads (including compiling, if you’re into that)

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            My main work use of more cores would be benchmarking to optimise some multi-core locking, as I’m limited to the 4 real cores I currently have. Might also be use for gaming, while a few other applications are running.

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              I’m generally a fan of re-use but I totally agree. Not every workload or work pattern needs a monster machine, but I think many of us who do software environment on the regular could probably benefit from one.

              One question I’ve been pondering though is “Does my LAPTOP need to be something beefy?”

              I’ve been experimenting along these lines with my PineBook Pro for the last few months and for me and my use cases thus far the answer is a resounding no.

              I have my monster beast machine on my desktop, but for a laptop I am loving something that’s light and very energy efficient. It does 90% of what I need 90% of the time, and that’s plenty enough for me for a laptop :)

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                Oooh! What’s your experience of the PineBook Pro been? I’m tossing up between one of those and a refurbished X-series ThinkPad as a next machine. My main sticking point is the lack of FreeBSD support; I’ve only recently switched back from Ubuntu as my work OS, and would hate to have to switch back again.

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                  Hiya! Expect to see a write-up posted here from me today or tomorrow, but real quick:

                  I know there is a FreeBSD port underway but… RealTalk - if you plan to actually USE the laptop for productive work you should either A) suck it up and plan to use the already specially tuned Manjaro or Debian Linux images OR B) plan some sincere time for kernel hacking and tuning. The Pinebook Pro has a ‘big/little’ CPU combo that’s not something you see in the X86 world. If your kernel isn’t tuned specifically for that, performance will be utter crap.

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                    Thanks :) Yeah I’d assumed (a) - which isn’t a deal-breaker mind you, especially if I’m using it essentially as a client for a FreeBSD desktop / server.

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                  I agree, I did a significant amount of development on a Lenovo IdeaPad with a super light wm and vim. I didn’t need anything more for what I was working on. Now my day job is a different story… I regularly make all 12 cores hurt.

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              I too look for reconditioned ex-corporate, Lenovo ThinkPads and have been using a i7 X230 for a while, I was so impressed with it that on the day after it arrived I ordered another from the same re-conditioner, except I asked them to add the maximum RAM it would support and a bigger SSD so I could use it in a professional capacity.

              The only reason I might upgrade now is to a machine that plays Minecraft as I find that game a great relaxing exercise akin to colouring or reading a book.

              If you don’t mind a quick question: Would you say a X250 would suffice, or should I be looking at something newer?

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                The X250 is just fine for Minecraft - in fact it played perfectly well on my old X220. It’d make a perfectly acceptable development system, actually, unless you were doing a lot of work with containers at which point 16GiB might become an issue.

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                Where do you buy used in Australia?

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                  I haven’t bought a new dev machine in … eight years

                  My main machine is over 10 years old, though I recently added RAM and a new gfx card.

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                    Amazing story. During the last 12 months me and my wife got used laptops.

                    We got 2 laptops (A Lenovo Ideapad and Acer Nitro/VX series), mine with a better processor but her with a way better GPU(she does some rendering for his work/jobs) and we paid as much as 2/3 of what we would pay on her notebook alone. Both already equiped with 240GB ssds and 1TB HDs.

                    Also, i had a FX-9370 on my desk and that thing was power hungry. Sold it to a friend by a modest price cause he wanted to play old games and do some console emulation.

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                    HardenedBSD’s entire build infrastructure is 100% refurbished/used hardware.

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                      I got a used ThinkPad E585 a few weeks ago; works like a charm. It’s not what I would have gotten exactly (I’d prefer a small form factor), but it was the only thing available, and it doesn’t really matter too much. It’s plenty functional and less than half the price I’d have paid new.

                      A bit of an off-topic related story:

                      It’s not just hardware I try to buy second-hand; often times you can get furniture or other electronics just as good as new, although you need to be a bit lucky.

                      A few years ago I moved from England to New Zealand; when I moved from the Netherlands to England I just rented a van and drove there (a bit of a hassle, but doable) but this is obviously a bit trickier when moving to quite literally the other side of the world.

                      I had a full set of furniture and all sorts of other “stuff” to get rid of, and this was surprisingly hard. The only thing I managed to sell without much effort was my sleeping sofa for £250, everything else was either given away or “sold” for symbolic prices to friends or strangers. Turns out op-shops don’t want a lot of stuff either. My perfectly functional desk without any damage? “We got desks coming out of our arses”. Eventually I just put stuff outside my apartment block with a “free stuff” sign, and much managed to disappear like that.

                      The year old £1.200 mattress I got with my ex-girlfriend? Managed to get £50 for it, and that was a close call and just a day before I moved; would have had to chuck it otherwise, which would be a damn shame as it’s a great mattress. I did have to chuck quite a few things though.

                      Still, when I got in New Zealand I really needed a desk, office chair, and computer screen to do work, and wasn’t able to find most stuff on Facebook, TradeMe, or the various op-shops I visited. I ended up just buying it new after a few weeks. The only thing I managed to find second-hand was a bicycle and guitar. So, I don’t know where all the stuff that no one wants goes 🤷‍♂️

                      Aside to have some programming stuff in my story: Kiwiland is a great location if you’re working on time-related stuff, as you’ll spot bugs much faster if you’re in UTC +13 than if you’re in UTC +0 :-)

                      The upshot of all of this is that all my belongings now fit in a single ~20kg suitcase, which is rather nice and gives me a lot of freedom (it would be less if I didn’t have all my camping gear). I got rid of quite a few mementos and such which was somewhat painful, but three years later I find I don’t really miss them. The only non-functional thing I kept is my grandfather’s watch.

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                        The year old £1.200 mattress I got

                        Haha, trying to move to Ireland before the end of the year and this really speaks to me.

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                        I’m usually the first one to advocate to repurpose old stuff and not buy all the shiny things, but.. no, never.

                        As a developer there is one thing I need, that is a reliable, fast machine. I’ve had to fight an underpowered i5 laptop for the last years, doing mostly C++ builds - it sucked. I would’ve gladly traded it in for a Ryzen desktop box half its price. And that doesn’t even take into account that it could fail and leave me waiting for a replacement. Business support is a thing and if there’s one thing where employers should not skimp on money for developers (and actually everyone working with a computer, if it’s too slow for Excel you fucked up as the one buying it) - it’s the computer.

                        Imagine this, you’re paying your developer a salary of upwards 50k per year, with other expenses that might as well be 100k, over three years thats 300k - but saving 500 for their main piece of hardware if it only costs 2-3k total? That’s something I simply do not understand. Maybe buy less fruit and soft drinks for the office.

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                          Imagine this, you’re paying your developer a salary of upwards 50k per year, with other expenses that might as well be 100k, over three years thats 300k - but saving 500 for their main piece of hardware if it only costs 2-3k total? That’s something I simply do not understand.

                          For me it has absolutely nothing to do with money. Even if the new hardware was cheaper than the old, I still wouldn’t want it, because the newer models are just significantly worse. Worse keyboards, shinier displays, fewer ports. A faster CPU can’t make up for those shortcomings. If I need to compile a beefy codebase I’ll do it over SSH.

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                            In my case that doesn’t matter because my work laptop is at it’s dock all the time anyway. And since we don’t get desktops, I’ll take the fastest CPU I can get. Personal laptop yes maybe, I do have my battlestation, so having a light laptop is more important then having a fast one.

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                              If that works for you, that’s cool. I think I haven’t bought a new laptop for private use since 2004 (if I exclude the eeePC, but that’s different), so I don’t think I’m unreasonable.

                              But I can’t remember having a job where I had reasonable access to do something like this over SSH, and I only ever got the top of the line machine I could put to good use once, all the other times it was constrained by budget, maybe I’m just a little bitter. I don’t want to count how many hours I’ve lost to just waiting for a local build in the last few years.

                              With the working from home thing I suppose beefy desktop machine + laptop would have made a lot more sense and I thought about it this year. Instead of getting a new laptop getting some sort of desktop box for building and keeping the laptop, if that works).

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                              Oh I absolutely think you should match hardware to the performance levels you are expecting. It’s just that we’re at a point now where 5 year old hardware is just fine for my use cases. And as I see from the other replies, even older hardware works for lots of people. As @technomancy put it, it’s also not always about money. It can be also about ports/connectivity, availability (Dell and Lenovo shippinng certain models in more than 1 month at the time I was looking), stability (Linux support) etc.

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                                Yes, if what you do is not constrained by older hardware it’s a decent idea, if you can live with a probability of breakage and non-instant replacement. Maybe keep some machine around where you could migrate to in a day if yours is out of commission for weeks…

                                But in the last 7 years I usually worked with stuff that taxed either CPU, RAM, or disk space to the maximum at least once a week.

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                                  if you can live with a probability of breakage and non-instant replacement

                                  This is indeed one thing to keep track off and having a spare is required if you depend on the hardware. But I also have to say that new hardware is nowhere near exempt from that (see for instance flaky Apple keyboards and the Lenovo Thunderbolt Firmware bricking).

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                              I went with used/refurbished hardware from a vendor I know and trust for a while now, lapstore.de, and I could not be happier with my choice

                              Does anyone know if a similar vendor located in the USA? I’ve been using ebay to source old servers and have run into some quality problems. I’d prefer to work with a vendor that does decent refurbishing work.

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                                I have the same question. This thread got me looking for a used thinkpad, but most of the sites that pop up when looking for “ex-corporate refurbished” are not in the US. I have a new thinkpad due to arrive at the beginning of December, though I’d gladly cancel it for a used one if the price is right.

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                                Back in 2014 I was running a small security consultancy, and we’d just refreshed a load of laptops for pentesting. We bought brand new top of the range Macbook Pros for everyone (this was just before Apple threw QA and upgradeability completely out of the window).

                                I’m still using those laptops (and their predecessors) now. I see no reason to change. When MacOS finally reaches a point of no value for upgrades I’ll look at other alternative OSes. I still run OpenBSD on an X230 Thinkpad. I still have early NUCs lying around running Linux and FreeBSD. If I need something with a bit more oomph, I can spin up a DigitalOcean box for specific tasks.

                                I’ll probably still use the X230 into the second half of this decade, same goes for the macbooks. As long as the hardware survives I don’t see a reason to replace it.

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                                  I have used mostly used hardware, but mostly Intel stuff is available, and Spectre vulnurability made used computer far less worthy. I’ll buy brand new AMD products when my computer feels unbearably slow for work (getting there gradually since the ever coming “fixes” for the Intel shortcuts. Visual Studio startup became unbearably slow on the same machine in the last 3 years.)

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                                    I look forward to the current crop of T14s Thinkpads with AMD CPUs to become available on the refurbished market. That will be my upgrade.

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                                      A friend got a T14 as a work notebook, and is pretty dissatisfied with it.

                                      • bad build quality
                                      • bad drivers/software support
                                      • terrible light detection logic for adaptive screen backlight (lights up in a dark room, the sensor detects the screen light, thinks it is lighter in the environment, so it needs to increase the backlight… until it is at max )
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                                        terrible light detection logic for adaptive screen backlight (lights up in a dark room, the sensor detects the screen light, thinks it is lighter in the environment, so it needs to increase the backlight… until it is at max )

                                        I had an ancient Sony laptop that suffered from this exact problem! It is the position of the light sensor – which means it isn’t even easily fixable. That cycle is brutal and consistent.

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                                          That’s good to know. Is it an AMD model? I also aim at the T14s, the slimmer version.

                                          That’s also one thing I like and outlined in the article: waiting for refurbished models gives Linux distributions and Kernel devs time to fix these issues.

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                                            Friend here. This is the most boring laptop I ever had. Except when the charger said that it was charging but the battery actually discharged. Of course you can’t remove the battery without voiding the warranty, so you have to “disconnect” it in the BIOS menu. Just buy a Latitude. I can answer specific questions if interested.

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                                              Uh, I hate my work-provided latitude. Gets all puffed up and spiny if I even look like I’m gonna open IntelliJ. meanwhile my old bucket t420 doesn’t break a sweat.

                                              … though it is windows vs Linux so maybe it’s about that.

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                                              Thinkpad x395 here, which is more or less the same boards as the T14s but with prior generation CPU. (T495s and x395 were the same).

                                              I’m very satisfied with my laptop, which I’m using full time. I don’t use Windows much (mainly Arch Linux), but when I do, I haven’t experienced bad drivers mentioned by the parent.

                                              No auto brightness adjustment on this model (that I am aware of).

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                                          re Spectre: Have you considered running multiple machines? It takes pretty sensitive equipment to pull information off powerline disturbances.

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                                            On the work machine I need to access webpages (unless I want to re-type long passages of text sometimes), and the mitigations are needed when untrusted code is executed (that is webpages nowadays)

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                                              I’m not sure I’d actually recommend it, but RDP / remote X11 let you run a web browser one one machine and display the output on another, with copy-and-paste working between the browser and the other stuff.

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                                                Buying a brand new machine and licenses is cheaper than the lost productivity

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                                                  I think Synergy might be a better solution for this since it only shares the pointer and clipboard instead of having to send the entire browser window across the wire.

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                                              Visual Studio’s startup getting slow is not because of Spectre, but because of the software itself. A “fix” that worked for me is unplugging all hard drives, including internal ones, and only keeping SSD/NVME drives connected. For some reason, Windows likes to wait on all drives even if they’re not at all related to the task at hand. Another is disabling windows defender, at every boot. It routinely uses 90% CPU.

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                                                Thanks for the info, but meh… I’d rather not do that :( Defender is already disabled (mostly), as it is mostly just a resource hog or rather an additional attack vector (as many AV software are)

                                                This is pathetic, Microsoft should get their act together.

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                                              I’m glad this addresses the “No warranty” concern. This has honestly scared me away from buying used hardware in the past.

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                                                I’ve been using second-hand laptops for a long time now, but usually, the main problem is battery-life or power supply. I once bought a Thinkpad x41, and it would still work, if the power suply hadn’t started melting. And buying a new battery for my x230 cost me nearly half as much as I paied for the device in the first place, even though the battery is actually worse.

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                                                  This is why I finally caved and bought an MNT Reform as my first new hardware purchase in over a decade. I’d rather buy used, but the ability to toss in off-the-shelf LiFe cells should extend the lifespan significantly.

                                                  Otherwise I probably would have took the plunge on buying from 51nb, that Shenzhen hacker collective that upgrades the CPU and LCD of classic Thinkpads: https://geoff.greer.fm/2017/07/16/thinkpad-x62/

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                                                  I literally have never bought a new computer.

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                                                    Any recommendations for high-quality sellers of refurbished Thinkpads in the US aside from those found on Amazon and Newegg? To me, the barrier to entry is finding a reputable seller to purchase from.

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                                                      I have used networking hardware; my flat is large and difficult for WLANS, so I got hold of two extra Mikrotik routers to use as APs. Routers are typically built for longevity, with CPU frequencies of 100MHz instead of 3GHz, so used hardware makes a great deal of sense. I didn’t strictly buy those, though, they fell of someone’s lorry. Some company replaced them with higher-capacity APs, and some of the old APs found their way to me over beer one evening.

                                                      My colo server might also be seen as used, although it wasn’t bought either. Hetzner offers old servers for rent using an reverse-auction-like scheme, with many snowflake configurations and often at great prices.

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                                                        I have built a whole desktop from used parts. It’s not the fastest machine, but it costed peanuts and was a fun project. Works like a charm after half a year. Granted, with laptops wear and tear is probably much more of a concern.

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                                                          A lot of these sites I see posted or linked to in the comments are for Europe. I saw one in Australia. Are there websites that are a good source of used hardware in the United States? People always say Craig’s List and I’m sorry, but I don’t trust that site.

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                                                            My last 3 phones and my last 3 laptops were hand-me-downs or bought in good condition.

                                                            I agree with OP that the second-hand market for Thinkpads is excellent. My second-hand, seven-year-old x230 is the laptop I enjoy using the most, even if it’s a bit slow nowadays.

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                                                              For most people looking at desktops, I don’t think it’s worth building a desktop anymore when off-lease business desktops exist. They come in a variety of sizes, decent performance (usually i5+Q chipset, basically the enterprise version of the gamer board chipsets) the bigger ones are normal desktop platforms, and they take a midrange GPU and plenty of RAM. Between how easy it is to get off-lease desktops and how excruciating it is to debug whiteboxes, I recommend it when possible. The only reason I built last time was because I wanted a Ryzen.

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                                                                I think the Ryzen and PCIe 4 is a bit of a unique inflection point that hasn’t happened in years. Soon, they will be flooding onto the used market as well. For my tasks (data processing single-digit TBs and compiling large code-bases) the combination of high core count and the new generation of PCIe has a fairly clear ROI as it saves me at least 90 minutes a day of “waiting for the computer”. During those waiting periods, I wasn’t idle, but I wasn’t as productive as I could be – doubly so when stuff went wrong – cycle time matters and this newest generation is the first significant improvement in years.

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                                                                I almost always buy used hardware.

                                                                I never bought a new laptop.

                                                                Sometimes when buying disks I consider buying a new one or small used one instead of heavy used one but only with disks (SSD/HDD/microsd/SD).

                                                                I only buy new hardware when it comes small shit like chargers or cables and when the used one is in very similar price as new or when used one is not available.

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                                                                  I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t appreciate the tone

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                                                                    The ‘editor’ cut down the [/joke] at the end of first sentence but still …

                                                                    I did not mean to made any damage here - removed :)

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                                                                      Now I’m curious what was the joke :)

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                                                                        It was meant to be in this tone:

                                                                        https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Does%20the%20Pope%20shit%20in%20the%20woods%3F

                                                                        Does the Pope shit in the woods?

                                                                        This is a sarcastic answer to a question with an obvious answer of “yes.” Taken as a combination of the similarly-intended ones, “Does a bear shit in the woods?” and “Is the Pope Catholic?”

                                                                        When I am now thinking about it the Does the Pope shit in the woods? fits better here then Bitch, please. English is not my native language so I do not always get the subtle differences. I now get it. The Does the Pope shit in the woods? is rather positive sentence/joke while Bitch, please is rather negative/offending joke.

                                                                        … at least that I understand it.

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                                                                          Hehe, thanks ;)

                                                                          I don’t have anything against either of the forms. I think it’s a little bit sad that some people have, but it’s their right I suppose.

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                                                                  My laptops are from my old office. They were sitting in a closet so I asked if I could take them. Got two for free and the other for a couple hundred. Had to wipe the drives so I put Ubuntu and Debian on them. My only complaint is that the batteries tend to go a bit quickly if not plugged in, but they are most plugged in so it’s not a problem at all.

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                                                                    I like buying used hardware for stuff I mean to play with, such as my x230 which is running Haiku and NetBSD but for work I prefer buying new computers and extended warranty. This is possible because due to privilege and a bit of luck, I ended up in positions where the price of new machines was not a burden on me. Had I been pressed for money or on a not so comfortable situation, I’d probably go with used Thinkpads and a ton of upgrades as time goes on.

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                                                                      I totally get it. I also wrote this article because - out of privilege - I was frequently given the option to spend quite a bit of money and I ended up buying hardware which wasn’t necessarily better. I also tried to mention that I only consider vendors with extended warranty, I wouldn’t necessarily buy used off of ebay.

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                                                                      Agree here. I went from refurbished by Apple to cheap refurb from woot.com to only using hand-me-down hardware.

                                                                      I don’t game much, and I mostly do web dev, so it’s more than enough for me.

                                                                      I feel better not directly pulling from the system which does so much harm in our world.

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                                                                        i prefer to buy new machines and then keep them 10 years and i’ve had a lot of success with mac hardware since it ages very well. If they continued first class OS X support for another 5 year it would be perfect :) I can always throw ubuntu on it though.

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                                                                          Considered ? Kinda. I like new stuff that isn’t overpriced and has 2-3years warranty. So I only bought laptops from lenovo with their linux support. And I’m using a linux “certified” laptop as my daily work machine from another company. For PCs I only buy stuff from alternate apparently.

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                                                                            I bought a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition. I had looked into buying a Linux-capable laptop used, but there is little information on a reliable reseller of used Linux laptops. The OP mentioned that he trusted the vendor. Having a vendor you can trust goes a long way.

                                                                            Buying a Linux laptop adds another risk. I want something that works and don’t want to take a chance that the OS and hardware will not play nice together. Even with XPS 13, I still have random disconnects with bluetooth and not-so-great battery life when compared to MS and Apple computers.

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                                                                              I had a used X220 running Debian for about a year, then it started blue-screening. My X60/X61 are somewhere in a closet, one of the screens went out but I think 1 still works. I still use my used Mac Pro 2010, but it’s kinda outside the support window so keeping OS X up to date is difficult (doable, with cost). I’m using my used MacBook Air 11 now. I built a Ryzen/Linux workstation with new parts, but otherwise I guess I’m a used/refurb Apple buyer.

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                                                                                I have bought used ThinkPads and upgraded them with an SSD. I don’t currently use them a lot. I have thought about buying used phones as well. Sadly, a lot of things require windows and/or a recent Android version.

                                                                                In particular, I want to say that the ThinkPad X201 with Ubuntu is quite amazing. It is a laptop/tablet combo. I have never used the tablet functionality (never got it working properly on Arch Linux), but I gave it to my brother and he actually uses it to take notes, and it seems to work really well.

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                                                                                  I think Steve Jobs was right when he referred to desktop computers as the modern “truck”. They’ll often be needed when you need to get beefy work done when ssh’ing into a dev box far away doesn’t cut it.

                                                                                  I just have a midline “decent” couple year old laptop for portability. but if performance is the goal, I don’t think laptops really cut it for the price.

                                                                                  I have several boxes at home built from recycled parts. I’ve found myself paying about between a tenth and a twentieth of current hardware for elements about a decade old. For desktops running Linux for basic things, it’s ok for me for some things, but I’m looking into building a dual-booting modern desktop within the next few months.

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                                                                                    This year I bought an old Dell R710 from eBay, cost $420AUD, delivered to other side of Australia.

                                                                                    128GB memory with 2x X5650 processors. Pretty useful for compiling Scala ;)

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                                                                                      Dell R710

                                                                                      You have it racked?

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                                                                                        No, I don’t yet. It’s just sitting on a shipping pallet for now.

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                                                                                      I never buy computers, tools and cars new for my personal use. I always buy new for consumables, accessories and for professional purpose.

                                                                                      I have occasionally bought refurb, which can be new old stock, unused.

                                                                                      This often means that I buy a base system that I need to restore, clean, upgrade … This is often cheaper because I can do the necessary work. This is kind of a way of life. This is also why I don’t do it for professional activities.

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                                                                                        I built a home server using only used parts from eBay (except the storage drives). The whole thing cost under $200 and runs dozens of containers just fine.

                                                                                        My second server only uses new drivers and case, all other components are years old (10 year old mobo for ex).

                                                                                        User server grade or enterprise computer parts are unexpectedly good. I feel like only recently have they started making them with obsolescence in mind (forced upgrade cycles), which is a terrible waste of money and is killing the planet.

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                                                                                          I’m in the market for a used graphics card with linux support. Just for the screen connection; I don’t need/want performance or fans.