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5 Reasons Why a Refurbished Computer Might Be the Best Option for You | Business Hub |®

5 Reasons Why a Refurbished Computer Might Be the Best Option for You

By Kevin Ackerman, Staples® Contributor

From adding a new workspace to your office to upgrading a system that’s seen better days, businesses have many reasons for buying a new computer. But how do you rationalize buying a not-so-new computer? Refurbished laptop and desktop computers can be a great alternative to paying a premium for brand new, top-of-the-line systems.

Here are five reasons why they might be a great fit for your operation.

1. You’re looking to get some additional bang for your buck.

Everyone loves a good deal, and refurbished computers represent some of the best values around, says Sean Nicholson, the worldwide manager for Microsoft’s refurbisher programs. For instance, take schools and non-profit organizations. Always operating under tight budget constraints, these groups tend to snap up reconditioned computers whenever they need a new system. “We estimate that 600,000 refurbished PCs went to the schools in North America last year,” he says. “Cost-efficiency is the fundamental thing, because they just don't have the money."

2. You need to upgrade your PC’s operating system.

With Windows XP no longer being supported by Microsoft, many organizations are faced with the reality of upgrading their computer’s operating system, or else be exposed to hackers and viruses. While buying Windows 7 or 8.1 may be enough to get their computers up to speed, businesses with older computers may need to buy new computers to run the improved software. But instead of paying for a new operating system, it can be smarter to spend money on a whole new system that will come with a current operating system.

That’s exactly what James Rott owner of Tulsa, Okla.–based First Choice Lawn Care did. "The computer that was running my software was probably 10 years old,” he says of his old XP machine. His new computer came with Windows 7 preloaded, and has an array of hardware enhancements to boot. "The storage is so amazing now compared to what it used to be,” he says.

3. You don’t necessarily need a high-powered machine.

Just because you’re looking for a new computer, that doesn’t mean you need the fastest, most cutting-edge system available. That would be like assuming that anyone who needs a new vehicle should get a high-powered sports car. For instance, says Nicholson, touch screens, SSD hard drives, and USB 3.0 ports are currently all popular features on new computers, and if you want them, you’ll have to pay a premium. “You pay that premium because it is not common within the market,” he says.

But according to Tom Drew, owner of Eugene, Ore.–based ATW Manufacturing Company, not everyone needs the speed or power that comes with top-of-the-line computers. “If all you're doing is sitting at home doing emails and surfing the web, you don't need a lot of firepower,” he says. "They’re selling these Intel i7 16 gigabytes of RAM computers for 800, 900 bucks, and using one of those to surf the web is like throwing a thermonuclear device at a fly."

Drew says until recently his business still used Pentium 4 machines to run AutoCAD design programs. But he acknowledges that if you’re looking to do something graphics- and processor-intensive, like video editing, refurbished systems might not have enough computing might for you.

4. You’re looking for a system to connect your business to the cloud.

While video editors might not be advised to buy reconditioned machines, Nicholson says “knowledge workers,” like accountants and data processors, are ideal refurbished computer users. “They are the bread and butter of the refurb market,” he says.

Increasingly, these professionals are turning to the cloud to do their jobs. With remote servers crunching data and sending it back through the web to these machines, the demands on a desktop computer are much less than they would be otherwise. “When you're moving to systems where the real investment is up in the Cloud — that's where you're storing and doing stuff — having a refurbished device and saving yourself money is just a great opportunity,” says Nicholson.

5. You’re looking to for an eco-friendly way to upgrade your business’s computers.

There’s some debate about whether refurbished computers are more eco-friendly than new computers, but when you look at the facts, it’s not even close. Though newer computers may use less power to operate, it takes much more energy to build a new system, and refurbishing an older computer ensures that it won’t end up in a landfill. Nicholson says R2, the largest worldwide standard for facilities around recycling and reusing electronics, helps to make sure repurposed computers have a good ecological footprint.

And that’s important to people like Rott, who not only has a green thumb with his lawn care business, but also has a green heart. "Even in the landscaping business, it always hurts me to take up a mature plant and throw it away if you can recycle it and put it somewhere else,” he says. That’s just another reason he opted to buy a refurbished computer. "It seems like it’s always a better way to approach it, and it made sense for me."

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