How much can I get for my computer?
August 22, 2010 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I've got a laptop that I purchased in September 2008 that I paid $1,629 for. How much can I ask for it on Craigslist? Realistically? Ideally? Is there anything free I can do to increase its value before I sell it?

Its stats:
Lenovo ThinkPad W500
15.4" WSXGA screen
Windows Vista Business
Intel Core 2 Duo CPU 9600 @ 2.80 GHz
160 GB HD
6 cell lithium ion battery

It also has this thing (if you know what this is called) but it's a smaller, faster HD within the machine that they claimed would allow faster access to the files I use the most. There's 10 GB of that.

It's in decent condition but not pristine. The battery isn't in great shape but could be replaced.
posted by citywolf to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
It's unlikely that you'll be able to get more than a few hundred dollars for this.
posted by null terminated at 1:23 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Clean it. Zero-out and reinstall Windows. Take lots of pictures. Detail the specs (as you did here). Link to reviews of the computer, if any. Unless you're in a rush to sell it, set the price high and then lower it every few days/weeks until you start getting calls.
posted by whiskeyspider at 1:39 PM on August 22, 2010

Best answer: I think whiskeyspider covered most of it but in addition:

1. I would also upgrade any service packs etc, add free antivirus and state clearly that it has the latest version of software (in order to cover those users who are not very comfortable with upgrades and such).

2. If you have any other things lying around like a wireless mouse, a case etc put that in extras bit - sometimes these small things can add value to the package.

3. If you search the web you may find reviews of this model and if it has been featured in any magazine then add something like featured in What Laptop magazine.....etc.

4. Add a line saying why you are selling it such as upgrading/moving etc so it takes care of any apprehension somebody may have about its functionality

Good luck
posted by london302 at 1:54 PM on August 22, 2010


I looked this up on wikipedia and found it described as a non-standard term. Why not list the screen resolution (e.g. 1440x900) instead?
posted by germdisco at 1:56 PM on August 22, 2010

> 11 B/G WLAN

You probably mean 802.11.
posted by germdisco at 1:56 PM on August 22, 2010

For just comparison's sake, you can go to Lenovo today and buy a ThinkPad SL510 for $814 with a Core 2 Duo 2.53 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 15.6" widescreen, 250 GB hard drive, and Windows 7. Therefore I'd say $800 is the absolute ceiling, and $300-500 would be more likely.

I also noted when searching that the W500 was listed as featuring Switchable Graphics, i.e. both an ATI Mobility FireGL V5700 (512 MB) and the usual integrated GMA4500. If that is the case and yours has that option you most definitely want to advertise that because it is something that most laptops don't have and allows for gaming/CAD applications. That page also lists the SSD as 64GB not 10GB, so you should also find out what the exact size is and include that in the listing as well because that's another bonus only found on high end laptops.

As far as increasing the value, you could max out the RAM and include a new battery but I'm not sure you'd break even by doing that.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:58 PM on August 22, 2010

Seconding the $800 price tag.

As far as increasing it's sell-ability, find all the driver and OS disks, manual (or find a PDF online, to print). Reformat everything, reinstall the OS and any updates.

Here's a selling strategy for you. Is there a college or university around? It's back to school season and all. Find out what their freshman computing requirements are (I bet this would pass) and post flyers around with the phrase "meets X University computing requirements".

You might also get a better price on ebay, if you were willing to ship.
posted by fontophilic at 2:48 PM on August 22, 2010

citywolf: "It also has this thing (if you know what this is called) but it's a smaller, faster HD within the machine that they claimed would allow faster access to the files I use the most. There's 10 GB of that."

Probably SSD or Solid State Drive.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:42 PM on August 22, 2010

Look on eBay to see what that unit goes for then look at CL for similar specs.
posted by k8t at 4:09 PM on August 22, 2010

Look at Device Manager (or whatever Vista calls it) and find out exactly what you have. I've never personally seen a laptop with both a regular hard drive plus an SSD, but maybe I live a sheltered life. Cache, maybe? Anyway, you've gotta know what you've really got before you list it, certainly before you sell it. New laptops are, I think, priced pretty nicely these days, they don't have Vista and they are in pristine condition. So you can't use what you paid for it 2 years ago to set a price point. I wouldn't consider paying $800 for any used laptop, unless it mowed my lawn.
posted by sageleaf at 4:26 PM on August 22, 2010

800 is steep for that computer. I would say that closer to the 300-400 is more appropriate. If you have the newest adobe suite loaded onto it, you could probably ask for a little more.
posted by TheBones at 5:29 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Just to be clear, I suggested $800 was an upper bound, not what you should realistically expect anybody to pay for it, which was $300-500.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:11 PM on August 22, 2010

From what I can see on ebay, 400-500 is where you should set your expectations. 800 or more gets me a decent brand new laptop with a warranty.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:19 PM on August 22, 2010

I'd say $200, but I live in a big city.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:37 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I can't imagine you'd get $800; sure, you can buy a similar new computer for $800, but your computer isn't new.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:42 PM on August 22, 2010

I'd say $200, but I live in a big city.

?!?!!? I'll but all the units I can get of a laptop like that at $200 each.

I'm right with the guys above, $400-500.
posted by Chuckles at 11:57 PM on August 22, 2010

Buy. I'll BUY...
posted by Chuckles at 11:58 PM on August 22, 2010

It's Vista. It has a smallish hard drive. Less than 400 or sure.
posted by DarkForest at 5:32 AM on August 23, 2010

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