Help Me Laptop! Should I Buy a New or Refurbished Laptop?

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In the search for the perfect gaming laptop, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Forum member tanner775 has narrowed their search down to the Alienware 17 R4. However, with only a $2,000 line of credit, tanner775 has to choose between getting a brand-spanking-new system and a refurbished system. One thing tanner isn't compromising on is the display; they're adamant that whatever system they choose, it must have a QHD (2560 x 1440) 120-Hertz Nvidia G-Sync panel.

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The new laptop tanner is eyeing costs $1,899.98 and has a
2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor; 16GB of RAM; a 128GB M.2 SATA SSD with a 1TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive; an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GTX GPU with 8GB of VRAM; and a 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 display. If the notebook is configured with the QHD G-Sync display, the price jumps to $2,149.98, which is a bit over budget. However, tanner will also get the integrated Tobii eye-tracking technology, which opens up some interesting functionality,

The refurbished version of the Alienware 17 R4 that tanner's considering costs $1,938 and has some serious power, with an overclockable 2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU ; 8GB of RAM; a 1TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive; an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM; and the QHD G-Sync screen. Both notebooks are great choices, but like most of us, tanner is worried about the quality of refurbished gear.

MORE: The Best Laptops for Every Need

According to our Refurbished Laptop Buying Guide, tanner shouldn't have anything to worry about if they did their homework, and it looks like they did. The model tanner's checking out at Dell Outlet is the current version of the Alienware 17 and is listed as "certified refurbished." According to the Dell Outlet Info Center page, certified refurbished means that the laptop might have been used or powered on by another customer and could have a scratch or two. Before Dell resells these laptops, the systems are totally wiped and retested to make sure they match the original factory specifications. 

Similar to their new brethren, laptops purchased from Dell Outlet come with a one-year limited warranty. However, since the Alienware 17 is a top-tier Dell product, it gets a year of Dell's Premium support, which includes 24/7 on-site support after remote diagnosis, international support and assistance with more mundane software issues.

With all of that to consider, I'm going to recommend that tanner775 choose the refurbished Alienware 17 R4. It's got more powerful specs than the new system, including the QHD display; has the same warranty; and is actually cheaper than the brand-spanking-new system. The money tanner saves can be used to buy a game or two for their new system.

Credit: Jeremy Lips/Laptop Mag

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  • Eddie G. Says:

    As far as I'm concerned? I won't pay full retail for any hardware I may want to purchase, but will always go the route of refurb. I have the requisite skills to upgrade, repair, install & remove, any component from a laptop or desktop so there's no need for any kind of warranty. I service what I own, and would not think twice about buying anything refurbished. Matter of fact? Almost all my gear is refurbished. I've even recently found a site that specializes in refurbished items. its called ITRenewDirect and they have really GOOD stuff for really CHEAP prices! Its where all my T420's and T430 laptops will be going if ever they need servicing beyond my capabilities! As for this guy? I guess it's because I'm not a gamer that I can't support the decision to spend that much on a laptop. This is also one of the reasons why I won't buy Apple products, they're just too dang expensive! I'm not spending what equates to a mortgage payment on a piece of hardware that's going to become obsolete. That defies logic. So Instead I'll continue to buy my tech on the cheap, and upgrade it to the ultimate levels and keep it around for a very long time! (For instance I'm replying to this article on a Lenovo Thinkpad T410!....from what?....2011?....and it's still runs and works just as if it was built yesterday! Did I have to replace some parts?...yes....did I have to find a new display when the original one went bad? Yes. But I also had the pleasure of upgrading the RAM to 16GB...installing an SSD drive and replacing the keyboard for a new one. Now?...its one of my favorite machines! And all for the original price of? (Y'all sitting down for this?!) $150 total. Yeah....Tanner775?...can go ahead and spend that kind of money if he wants to....I'm perfectly fine here in "RefurbLand"!...LoL!

  • Allan Levy Says:

    I do not trust refurbs and buy dells on Ebay, I get a 45 day right to return. I save a lot of money that way. I would not buy a refurb above for almost $2000. I would buy new or older

  • omegatalon Says:

    Buying a refurbished notebook without warranty is a big gamble as it can die at any moment; you should check stores that offer monthly payments as Amazon has this provided you pay within a year.

  • Adam - SysTech Computers Says:

    Bu aa refurbished ThinkPad with a 3rd generation i5-3xxx.

  • Cristobal Says:

    I recently bought a refurbished Win 10 laptop from Lenovo, and it was cancelled on me without notice. When I did reach the customer service people, they were pleasant, but there was no equivalent deal, only Chromebooks at that price point. It was not a big deal for me, I just lost out on a deal that was hard to believe in the first place. But it seems refurbished is always a more risky option. I'll pay more for the service that comes along with a brand-new off-the-shelf-product

  • John Waaser Says:

    Even on the low end, I bought a Joy Systems refurbished HP Elitebook 2560P a couple of years ago for under $200. I run an entire publishing empire from it, and am still using it. I had a 2.1 GHz Core i3 processor with 4 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD, and a high definition 12.5" screen and military spec hardware. It is perfect for my needs. I have upgraded since to a 2570P with a Core i5 Processor at 2.8 GB, with a 256 GB SSD, and I am about to upgrade that to 10 GB RAM, but it was not refurbished and has some large faults, so I am not ready to switch over to it yet. This old beater has been excellent, and the only thing I have had to do to it was to replace the keyboard a couple of months ago. I mistakenly bought a keyboard that was not laid out like the factory one, and I HATE IT! I will have to spend more money to get a duplicate of the factory keyboard. But I love this computer. I have a dual-Xeon server at home, and this is easily as much computer as that is! I recommend refurbs to everyone now!

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