Did dude steal a Dell?
October 10, 2009 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Is this computer hot?

A friend of mine found a good deal (person to person) for a Dell Windows Vista laptop. He's wondering if the deal is good because the computer is hot. Is there any easy way to get a fair idea? (He's a newbie, I'm a Mac.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Best answer: If it's a dell machine, then it has a unique service tag - usually a 7-character code. You could start by getting that tag, and talking to Dell... If the original user registered with them, they'll be able to tell you who that is.
posted by frwagon at 7:25 PM on October 10, 2009

Response by poster: It's an Inspiron, not sure of the rest off the top of my head.

Where is the service tag? On the bottom?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:29 PM on October 10, 2009

Computers are cheap. I could build you one from parts off Newegg for three hundred bucks that would do a capable job for office work and browsing the Internet.

Chances are the computer's just old and thus cheap.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:44 PM on October 10, 2009

Best answer: How good a deal is it? New laptops are pretty cheap these days.
posted by meta_eli at 8:38 PM on October 10, 2009

Comparing it to other similar computers on Craig's List should give you an idea if the price is suspiciously low. You'd be surprised how cheap an older computer can be.

Is the seller's behavior suspicious in any way? That would be a big tipoff. If you've ever shopped for a used car and come across one with a suspicious title, you'll know what I mean - not being able to answer normal questions, having a strange story about how they came to own the thing or why they're selling it, stuff like that.
posted by zinfandel at 9:39 PM on October 10, 2009

Sorry, I didn't read the question quite right - it seems like maybe you've already determined that the price is very low. Why not just ask the seller why that is and trust your bullshit detector? Maybe it belongs to an ex (lover, roommate or friend) who owes him money and he just wants to be done with it all.
posted by zinfandel at 9:46 PM on October 10, 2009

Seconding sonic meat machine. Unless it's a very high spec computer for a crazily low price (say, anything with Core i7 for under $500), it could just be a result of the crash in PC prices (especially notebooks) over the past few years - I'm always shocked when I go back to check them out.
posted by wackybrit at 8:04 AM on October 11, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, for all of these. The service tag suggestion seems the obvious thing to check.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:48 PM on October 11, 2009

If you're comparing the Dell price to what you paid for your Mac, I can see why you think it's stolen.

That's just how the non-Apple world is, much cheaper ;-)
posted by sideshow at 4:26 PM on October 12, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah, I knew Macs held their value much longer, I just didn't realize how much that was!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:32 PM on October 12, 2009

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