Refurbished Hardware

Run Linux on Refurbished Mini PCs – Other Factors – Part 6

If you need a fast computer but don’t have much to spend, consider picking up an off-lease refurbished system. These PCs are a few years old and have seen some use, but they are often heavily discounted and offer a lot of bang for your buck.

In our previous articles we examined the various components that make up a mini PC. Let’s finish the series by looking at some other factors that may be important to your purchase decision.

Design & Build Quality

Many of the ex-lease mini PCs from Dell, Lenovo, HP and others offer good construction and design quality. They are often made of higher quality materials than mini PCs targeted at non-corporate customers. Mini PCs from these smaller companies often lack the design quality of models popular with corporate customers using cheap fans, inadequate heat sinks, poor design, wrapped up in plastic cases.

Noise

The way humans perceive noise coming out from the computer case is relative. Some people tend not to notice it and have a minor concern about it, whereas for the others it could be a source of permanent discomfort and intense irritancy. We are huge admirers of silent computers. A noisy computer can be very disruptive to your workflow and spoil its entertainment value.

The only computer that’s truly silent is one without any moving parts. There are fanless mini PCs but they generally struggle with anything but the most basic desktop tasks. Or they are very expensive.

If a computer has things like a fan or mechanical hard drive, it really cannot be described as silent whatever a manufacturer claims. Noise from a mini PC can be difficult to tackle.  Mini PCs can have thermally-sensitive fans which make little noise. And they can employ good design to help improve the airflow. And use an SSD for storage as they are silent.

Ex-lease refurbished mini PCs can be inaudible from 1 metre. For example, we are impressed how whisper quiet the Lenovo M93 performs when under light load. While its fan is audible when the machine is under heavy load, it returns to whisper quiet almost immediately when the load falls. Before buying a machine, it’s worth doing your own research and read reviews of the machine.

Power Consumption

This may be a factor in your buying decision if you’re going to use the mini PC for many hours every day.

We prefer a mini PC using a desktop CPU rather than a laptop CPU. The desktop variety can still be extremely frugal in terms of electricity cost. For example, the HP EliteDesk 800 G2 mini PC idles at 14w, rising only up to 43w under full load.

Warranty

A good warranty is very important when purchasing a refurbished mini PC. While most ex-lease mini PCs should give years of service, it’s still worth having a warranty period. Some sellers offer a year warranty on refurbished mini PCs, others less. You should check the cover you get.

We don’t recommend buying a mini PC from a private seller. You won’t have any recourse if the machine stops working nor any support.

Windows 10

Many refurbished mini PCs include Windows 10, sometimes even the Professional version for minimal or no extra cost. If you’re never used Linux before and want to try it out, a refurbished mini PC offers a great way to start your adventure with Linux. If you decide that this operating system doesn’t meet your requirements, you’ll still have Windows to use.

This is the final part in this series.

Articles in this series
bullet-valid-icon Buying a Refurbished Mini PC - Highlights their advantages. Start here.
bullet-valid-icon CPU - The main central processor in your computer.
bullet-valid-icon Motherboard: Looks at connectivity such as monitor ports, USB, ethernet, and Wi-Fi.
bullet-valid-icon Storage: Another important component. Store Linux, applications and your data.
bullet-valid-icon RAM: Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer memory.
bullet-valid-icon Other factors : Design and build quality, noise, power consumption, and more

Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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