Saturday, November 17, 2012

How to Make Money Buying & Selling Computers on Craigslist

Here are some of my tips on making money buying and selling computers on Craigslist and also on eBay. First of all there is no easy get rich quick scheme, it takes a lot of work and some time. You should know a little something about computers as well but it was stuff that I easily learned by searching Google.
  1. First things first start searching Craigslist for cheap computers and parts. Primarily search for people that are getting rid of their parts collections.
  2. Put ads in the wanted section for computer parts.
  3. Put an ad in the barter section for computers as well. I would make sure I had a list of things to barter.
  4. When buying computer parts especially older parts don't pay more than a $1 per part unless there are some know good parts like fast cpu's or big memory sticks. My rule of thumb is not to pay more than what stuff goes for on eBay or There were many times that I was able to buy large lots of parts for about $50. 
  5. Now that you have lots of parts separate your parts. This is important becasue some parts are worth more individually on eBay than they are on a computer system.
  6. If an item is bad don't trash it. There are usually local computer recyclers that will pay you per pound for your computer scrap. When gold was up I got as much as $4.50 a pound for motherboards. One MB weighs about 1.5 pounds so do the math. Even bad memory and video cards get you about $2.00 a pound depending on gold prices.
  7. Some items are worth more in scrap value like older ceramic CPU's and anything coated in a lot of gold like old Pentium Pro CPU's. I sold fours of those old CPU's on eBay for $175.00, four gold coated processors!
  8. I would only build computer systems with motherboards that have a 533mhz bus speed or faster. On occasion I would build a 400mhz system but only if it had a fast processor and lots of memory.
  9. When I got a good system, I would install one of the many Linux operating system on it for free. There is no sense in installing older Windows operating system illegally. My Linux operating system of choice is Linux Mint.
  10. I would sell most systems for around $50 to $100 depending on how many goodies it had and how big the hard drive was.
  11. Always keep your scrap metals as well. I went to the scrap yard every few months and got around $50 for the old computer cases and aluminum parts I would separate out myself.
  12. When I was done selling computers I made good money and learned a lot about building desktop computers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ubuntu Studio 11.04

I just recently downloaded and installed Ubuntu Studio 11.04 and I am really impressed in the software and how well the operating system runs. I think it runs very fast on my Pentium 4 machines. I have some learning to do on all the the free creative software that is available for it. Here are some pictures of the new build.

3.0ghz HT with Ubuntu Studio

3.0ghz HT, new MSI mobo and Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio 11.04 Screen Shot

Friday, January 20, 2012

Computer Build of the Month, Jan 2012

I just recently completed a pc build that I through together from a bunch of good extra parts I had and I am thoroughly impressed with the results. It isn't the fastest machine I have ever built but it very nice and stable. Here is what is in my build:

  • AMD Sempron 140, 2.7GHz AM3 CPU
  • 2 GB of DDR2 800mhz
  • MSI Motherboard #K9N6P6M2
  • 120 GB Hard Drive
  • Radeon 5450 HD Graphics Card, 512MB
  • Linux Mint operating system
  • Passmark CPU Rating: 764
  • Blowfish CPU Test: 13.35 seconds
 This system is stable, fast and consumes a lot less power than your standard 65 - 95 watt cpu. The Sempron 140 is rated at 45 watts which is preferred for green energy applications. This CPU is also a great candidate for overclocking and unlocking one of its cores. My current MSI motherboard will not support core unlocking for this processor.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pentium 4 HT - Hyper Threading CPU

I stand corrected on one of my previous posts about buying and using Pentium 4 processors. I so far have tested two different P4 HT computers and I was blown away by their performance. I have heard that when you review the processors on P4 HT machines that two cpu's show up and that is absolutely right. Those processors do more than just show up as two cpu's they perform like it too!

I install Linux Mint 11 on the computers I currently build and I use the system profiler to check system components and run the CPU Blowfish benchmark test. These cpu's perform like a dual core system. Here are some of my results:

  • Intel Duo Core E2140 runs the Blowfish test at 10.75 seconds.
  • Intel Pentium 4, HT 3.2GHz run the Blowfish test at 11.45 seconds.
  • Intel Pentium 4, HT 3.0GHz run the Blowfish test at 11.66 seconds.

As you can see the P4 HT's perform almost as fast as the early Duo Core processors. So my recommendation is not to get rid of your HT's yet, they should provide lots of years of good service still.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rules for Buying a Used Computer on Craigslist

I have been teaching myself how to build computers for the past 8 months now and I have been learning quite a bit. I read as much as I can about the theory and operation of computer hardware and then I get to actually go and build computers form spare and refurbished parts. I also check out Craigslist a lot for cheap desktops and it kills me at what I find for sale on Craigslist.

I need to remind myself that most people are not in touch with reality when they go to sell their computer that they paid $750 for over 10 years ago. Most people don't know that Pentium 4 computers are not worth $200 unless they have a new $150 video card in them. Computers and their parts have dropped significantly in the past 5 years and it is no longer necessary to buy a basic computer for $750 anymore. Here are some guidelines on prices that are worth paying for older computers.

Pentium 4 Computers:

  • Do not buy anything lower than a Pentium 4, 2.4GHz computer. Actually that means do not buy any computer that has a lower CPU rating of 300. Even with a decent video card performance on sites like YouTube will be less than desirable.
  • I would only pay $50 for a P4 tower only if I saw it running, it has a 40GB or larger hard drive, and it has at least 512mb of ram.
  • If you happen to get come across a P4, 3.0GHz or higher you can pay a little more for those but nothing over $75 unless it comes with a graphics card of 128mb or higher.
Pentium Duo or Dual Cores:
  • There are a few dual core Pentiums that Intel came out with. There are Pentium D's, Dual Core's and Core 2 Duo's.
  • These are all pretty good processors but don't over pay only because they are dual cores. Always check current CPU prices and system prices on That is where I get all of my current prices on what to pay and what not to pay.
  • Always check the performance of every CPU you plan on buying used or not at
AMD Athlon XP's:
  • These are older processors but don't write them off quite yet. Athlon XP 1800+ and larger are still capable of getting on the internet when using a Linux operating system.
  • I have an Athlon XP 1700+ & 1800+ running with Linux Mint just fine, not the fastest, but definitely capable on the internet.
AMD Athlon 64's:
  • I like the AMD Athlon 64 processors. I have built a 3500 and two 3800 machines and these when combined with a good graphics card are capable of playing 3D games like Nexuiz and Assault Cube.
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core:
  • I have one of these as well, a x2 3800 and it runs as fast as my $1,000 Dell. I built the X2 3800 for about $80 with an ok graphics card. I could use an upgrade there.
AMD Athlon II X3:
  • This is a fast processor, faster than anything my internet connection can throw my way.
  • I have the X3 450 that is rated at 2802, yes that is almost 4 times faster than the fastest P4.
  • I built my X3 system with kick ass graphics card for $220.
In summary I would only go to Craigslist to buy a cheap machine that you plan on upgrading yourself. It is worth it to me to get a nice looking desktop and get a case, usable hard drive, and power supply for $40. Buy yourself a nice CPU motherboard combo and some memory and you could have a really nice desktop for $100.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Computer System Speed Comparison

Computer Speed Tests for the Average Person

This section is my attempt at showing the differences between processors and how their performance ranks.

Computer Speed Analysis:

CPU Descrip. CPU Speed CPU Cores CPU FSB CPU Cache 64 Bit Mobo FSB Sys RAM Video CPU Rank Benchmark
AMD Athlon X3 3.2 GHz 3 2 GHz 1 mb Yes 1 GHz 4 GB ATI 5450 2715 4.09 sec.
AMD Athlon X2 2.4 GHz 2 1 GHz 1 mb Yes 1 GHz 2 GB ATI X600 1050 9.15 sec.
Intel Dual E2140 1.6 GHz 2 800 MHz 1 mb Yes 1 GHz 1 GB TBD 907 10.75 sec.
AMD Athlon64 3800 2.4 GHz 1 1 GHz 512 mb Yes 1 GHz 2 GB On Board 610 14.99 sec.
AMD Athlon64 3500 2.2 GHz 1 1 GHz 512 mb Yes 1 GHz 2 GB Nvidia 6600 GT 567 16.15 sec.
AMD Sempron 3100 1.8 GHz 1 256 MHz 256 KB No 533 MHz 768 MB ATI X300 450 19.20 sec.
Pentium 4 2.8 GHz 1 533 MHz 512 kb Yes 533 MHz 768 MB ATI X300 415 20.98 sec.
Celeron 2.6 GHz 1 400 MHz 256 kb No 400 MHz 768 MB On Board 295 20.98 sec.

Take a look at the above chart and see how your computer stacks up. All of the machines shown above will get on the internet and surf the web. If you need a budget gaming machine I would stick with machine with CPU ranks above 550. What does this mean for you? Do not overpay for older Pentium 4 machines and before you shell out your hard earned dough on a computer make sure you check your CPU's performance rating.

So What Does this List Mean?

In layman's terms I would never buy a used or refurbished computer slower than a Pentium 4 2.8GHz and even then I would not pay more than $40 -$50 for it and only if it came with a decent amount of memory and good hard drive. My most surprising budget build was the AMD Athlon 64 3500. It was fast enough of a machine to play Nexuiz, a 3D fast paced FPS for Linux. I am sure the 2GB of RAM and Nvidia 6600GT video card helped.

Data Sources: CPU rankings were obtained from, an excellent source of CPU data. The benchmark numbers are actual measurements that I received from performing the CNC Blowfish test on the Linux Mint 11 operating system.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Laptop IDE Hard Drives

I enjoy building desktop PC's but I recently traded for some laptops to see what they were made of. Three of the laptops were antique relics from the 90's and only one of them actually turned on and posted. Through  lot of trades I have finally acquired enough laptop hard drives to trade for something else. Here are a few pictures of them.

Seven Laptop IDE Hard Drives