Help me sell my computer.
October 14, 2005 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Help me sell my computer! Er... or at least decide if I want to.

To keep a long story short: I bought a new computer from Future Shop in January, however, since then I have acquired a (borrowed) laptop from my University. Since getting the laptop the desktop has done nothing but gather dust as both my partner and I use the laptop exclusively. One laptop, however, is not enough for two of us. We want to sell the desktop and use the money to buy a (cheap-ish) laptop for her.

We are not worried about loss of computing power. The new laptop would be my partner's and she doesn't need much other than a word-processor, excel, and the internet. She doesn't play games or download music/movies, so that's not an issue. We will be looking to buy a more powerful laptop for me in April, when I have to give the borrowed one back, but that's not something we need to deal with right now.

My problems are many. I don't know if I am making the right choice. I don't know how to sell a computer. I don't even know what to put on the damn poster.

The computer: a Cicero 126 6A-B2 with AMD Athlon 64. I copied that off the box, and don't really know what it means. What else do I need to include on the description so that people who are more savvy that I can tell what sort of equipment this is?
The monitor: NEC 17' Digital Flat Panel (MultiSync LCD1735NXM)
Other: Logitex MxDuo Cordless keyboard and mouse
Crappy speakers
Original boxes

For this (and a printer, which I am not selling) I paid $2400. What should I ask for it? $1100? $1500? $700? $0.99?
posted by arcticwoman to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
You'll need to figure out a little bit more about the computer such as how fast the processor is and how much memory you have and what kind of video card.

Then I would check Craigslist for comparables, and price yours accordingly.
posted by alms at 8:06 PM on October 14, 2005

Response by poster: You'll need to figure out a little bit more about the computer such as how fast the processor is and how much memory you have and what kind of video card.

Ok, but how do I figure that out? I imagine it's on the box somewhere, but what do those details look like? When I look at the specs I see strings of numbers and letters that are a completely foreign language. I don't know which ones are important.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:49 PM on October 14, 2005

the machine can usually tell you too. (macs do, if you click on "About this mac" in the apple menu) There must be a place or an option somewhere to tell you what the processor is and how much memory you have.
posted by amberglow at 9:31 PM on October 14, 2005

If you have Windows, right-click on "My Computer" and then click Properties. The General tab should be selected by default, and it will tell you the amount of memory, and possibly the CPU speed (depending on what version of windows you have)
posted by banished at 10:06 PM on October 14, 2005

Better, I think, would be to post the numbers and gibberish on the side of the box here verbatim, much as you have with the monitor's model number (specs, btw, available here []) and perhaps we'll have a shot at deciphering them for you.

FWIW, an Athlon 64 processor is made by AMD and is roughly equivalent to Intel's Pentium 4 but is 64-bit capable. Which means nothing to most "regular / normal user" people, but could be used as a selling point.

I hate Google. No, I do not want to buy said monitor, I'd like the specs, preferrably from the manufacturer's website. Grrrr.
posted by ZakDaddy at 10:39 PM on October 14, 2005

Oh, and be careful to describe the monitor as 17" (inches) as opposed to 17' (feet) *grin*
posted by ZakDaddy at 10:40 PM on October 14, 2005

One thing you may want to consider is selling the computer and keeping the monitor for use on one of the laptops if it is a fair bit larger. Likewise the keyboard and mouse - I find using a REAL keyboard/mouse combo much, much easier than the cramped little things on a laptop.

But yeah, post the strings of gibberish and we will decode them for you. Specifically you need to know what clock frequency, how much RAM it has, disc size, does it have a CD-RW or DVD ROM or DVD-RW and what is the video card.

One thing you might do is go to Device Manager under Control Panel->System, expand all the trees and take a screenshot.
posted by polyglot at 11:00 PM on October 14, 2005

Cicero does not, after much googling, appear to be a computer company. It appears to be an alias for Future Shop, a sort of Canadian version of Best Buy, which is where I assume you got your computer. Googling for "Cicero 126" turned up no helpful results.

Try looking for an identifier with a more conventional computer company name somewhere on the computer. Dell? HP? Compaq? Gateway? eMachines? Something of that nature.

In any case, a 64-bit processor and a 17-inch LCD are a good place to start in terms of recouping money, so there's some hope there. Even if it sounds at first like you got ripped off by purchasing a medium-to-high-end system at a chain store.

If you can't find any logo/model identifiers on the computer itself, or on the boxes it came in, then you should do as the others here have suggested and at least give us a sense of processor speed/RAM. Alternatively, take some pictures of it and paste them up on Flickr - might be we'd spot something you missed in terms of visual identification.
posted by Ryvar at 2:32 AM on October 15, 2005

Look on eBay and see what similar machines are selling for.
posted by k8t at 4:59 AM on October 15, 2005

If it's a Windows machine, you can find out a lot of information from Belarc System Advisor, a free download.
posted by box at 7:29 AM on October 15, 2005

My guess is that $500 is a more realistic asking price. I know that's going to be a painful thing to hear, but 17-inch LCD monitors are getting really cheap, and the box itself doesn't sound like anything you couldn't get from Dell brand new for $4-600. I'm talking USD. If it still has an applicable warranty, be sure to find the paperwork and offer that along with it. This is often a concern for people buying used computers. What if it breaks down?
posted by scarabic at 9:31 AM on October 15, 2005

It sounds like it might be just a whitebox. Unless you have some serious power under the hood (something like a RAID 0,1 array, or 4 gigs of ram, or a bleeding-edge A64, or dual SLI video cards, which you'd probably know about...), you overpaid for the computer.

My system now (for price comparison) cost about $900 to put together myself. It was actually more than the system would have cost from Dell, but I really, really like being able to do my own work/repairs on it.

And that system is...
Athlon 64 2ghz (3200+)
1GB of PC2700 RAM
Radeon x800 XL (PCI-E)
High quality case/name brand power supply
MSI nForce4 mobo (don't recall the model #, but its actually turned out to be a piece of shit)

If its not a name brand, you might have more luck selling it to a friend/coworker/another student. I'm very wary of people selling whitebox computers on ebay or the like.
posted by devilsbrigade at 10:48 AM on October 15, 2005

You are in canada, arcticwoman? Then you'll also have to figure out how to translate advice on pricing from people in the US. I'm not sure if simply applying the exchange rate is appropriate.
posted by Good Brain at 10:57 AM on October 15, 2005

You need to look up the specs on it. If you paid CAD2400 for it either you got *really* ripped off and paid more than twice what it's worth, or you bought a fairly high-end machine, in which case it might be worth up to CAD1000 as a starting point. You can pick up brand new (low end) Athlon64 boxes from FutureShop for CAD800 or less.

*What's the chip? Is it an Athlon 64, Athlon 64x2? What's the speed on it?
*How much memory does it have?

To find both of those, right-click on the "My computer" icon and select "Properties." A window should appear that tells you what kind of chip it has, how fast it is, and how much RAM you have.

*How big is the hard drive? Open Windows Explorer and right-click on the C drive, then select properties. The window should tell you how big the hard drive is.

*What kind of video card does it have? Right-click anywhere on the background desktop and select "Properties." Then select "Settings." There should be a line that says something like:
Plug and Play Monitor on NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT

The bit after the blah-de-blah monitor is what kind of video card you have.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:54 AM on October 15, 2005

Cicero is indeed Futureshop's brand for < insert asian assembler here>. Our (craperific) cicero laptop was actually a Sager.

I think the $500 quote is about right. If you don't need the cash, you might consider making your desktop into an entertainment center / hard drive backup / webserver etc.
posted by Popular Ethics at 2:26 PM on October 15, 2005

For this (and a printer, which I am not selling) I paid $2400. What should I ask for it?

As a rule of thumb, you can figure that a computer loses about 30 percent of its value every year. You bought in January, it's October; that means a new computer that is comparable to what you have is probably 25% cheaper. You'll need to provide an additional discount because your computer is used (some uncertainty as to quality) and because it has nine months less warranty. Probably about 40% off original price would be in the ballpark.

So if you paid (say) $400 for the printer, you'd be selling the computer for 60% of $2000.

Hopefully you paid $2000CAD (or whatever) for a high-end computer; otherwise, as pointed out above, there seems a chance that you more-or-less got ripped off. In which case you're going to have to adjust your price downward from the formula above.

And it's definitely worth identifying all the numbers (exact CPU, amount of memory, size of hard drive, etc., because those specifications are what potential buyers are going to ask. (If you have a computer-saavy friend, ask him/her to help.)
posted by WestCoaster at 5:54 PM on October 15, 2005

Response by poster: From the box:
AMD Athlon 64 3200+
PC3200 512MB DDR
160GB 7200RPM 2MB
DVD RW +/- 16x Dual Layer
1.44MB Floppy Drive
FX5500 128MB 64bit T DVI
NIC Integrated 10/100
SND Integrated Sound
(and then it goes into describing the chassis, keyboard, etc)

From “My Computer,” “Properties” and “Desktop Settings:”
Plug and Play Monitor on NVIDIA GeForce FX5500
AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3200+
2.20 GHz, 1.00GB of RAM
posted by arcticwoman at 7:08 PM on October 15, 2005

That's a relatively fast processor, a decent amount of RAM, a slightly pokey old video card, and a normal hard drive. DVDR is a plus, but not a big one.

I'd ask CAD750 for it but expect to get CAD500--600. If you want to get it out the door quickly, ask CAD600 and get CAD500-550.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:49 PM on October 15, 2005

Response by poster: Is that including the monitor?
posted by arcticwoman at 10:54 PM on October 15, 2005


I can get a similar system with monitor, new from FutureShop, for CAD850 or so. You wanna sell your machine quickly, you'll need to beat that by a couple-few hundred IMHO.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:58 PM on October 15, 2005

At FutureShop, you can buy a new Compaq (which is a name brand) computer comparable to what you have for $600CAD, not including the monitor. (Well, actually, with only 512MB DDR, but a slightly faster CPU; trivial.)

Exactly the same monitor that you have is being sold, refurbished, for $260CAD.

ROU_Xenophobe's $850 estimate pretty much nailed it.
posted by WestCoaster at 2:13 PM on October 16, 2005

Found this on the web which may be helpful: How to sell your computer guide. Anyways...
posted by hunter2z at 7:43 AM on September 6, 2006

« Older Recommend an accurate bathroom scale   |   What's the goo in my ear piercings? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.