The thing with refurbished computers is that they can be a serious crapshoot. Any computer that comes back to the seller for technical difficulties has to be “refurbished.” A decent amount of time the system is fine, with just, maybe, a soundcard that didn’t work. Sometimes nothing is wrong with it. Other times, though, you get the chipset from hell, and you will have many frustrating problems.
I bought a refurbished desktop from HP about 3 years ago. It was a pavilion something-or-other (9860c?).
I had no problems with it at all for over 2 years.
After that, certain parts began to go bad (but I do treat my systems pretty hard, so I don’t think that 2 years is really that short a time). The secondary case fan power out on the motherboard died. About 6 months later, the motherboard died. I ended up getting an ECS board with an AMD chip for my next board, so I can’t vouch for how the proc would work, but I know due to testing that it did continue to work after the motherboard died. The DVD drive still works… sort of. It will not read CDRs, and sometimes has trouble recognizing CDs when I put them in. Usually ejecting the cd and reinserting it will fix this. More importantly, though, it no longer reads DVD’s fast enough to actually play the movies in realtime.
The CDRW drive still works wonderfully.
The hard drive is still functioning (and I work hard drives really hard.
The soundcard still worked last time I checked (I have on-board sound in my new box)
The monitor worked until I sold it about 6 months ago.
The video card worked until I realized that it was sucky and upgraded it.
Overall, I’d say that it was a decent purchase at the time, but I also got a decent discount on it (beyond the normal refurb discount) because my father works for HP.
Make sure that the warranty for all the parts is at least 3 months. Anything that makes it that long is unlikely to have an otherwise short life. Bottom line: Odds are that a refurbished comp will be a good deal. If you get that one that just sucks it up, though, realize that it’s just the law of averages playing itself out, and don’t let tech support rest until they replace it.