Which Used PC Parts You Can Buy (And Which You Definitely Shouldn’t)

Intel CPU boxes on wooden background

PC hardware is getting prohibitively expensive. Mainstream graphics card prices have crossed the $1,000 mark, DDR5 memory and motherboards aren’t exactly “budget,” and even decent monitors and other peripherals cost a pretty penny. Fortunately, you can always explore the world of used PC parts. Just ensure you know which used PC parts are worth purchasing and which you should stay away from.

CPU (Processor)

Verdict: can buy

The CPU, or processor, is arguably, the most important component of your PC. Luckily, a used CPU is also among the safest used PC components you can buy.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Used Cpu
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Damaging a processor, even with years of sustained use, is pretty rare. As long as the CPU you’re buying wasn’t used in a cooling-starved case and constantly overclocked, running a few Cinebench benchmarks will help you verify its condition. You can always find great deals on previous-gen high-end CPUs that are still under warranty. However, you should always test and buy used PC parts in person so that you can inspect them for physical defects and functional issues.

GPU (Graphics Card)

Verdict: can buy

Whether building a new gaming PC or only upgrading your graphics card, the GPU would often take up the majority of your budget. Thankfully, replacing a GPU is far simpler than switching CPUs, as you only need a compatible PCIe socket and enough room in your case.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Used Gpu
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Buying a used GPU can sometimes be tricky, though. The GPU may have been used in cryptocurrency mining or other constant-use scenarios, which can significantly affect its lifespan.

If possible, run a few tests on the card before buying it. You can stress test the GPU with Furmark to unearth any thermal or power issues with the card. Buying a used graphics card may need more due diligence than other PC components, but it’s worth the savings.

Also helpful: our Graphics Card Buying Guide can help you determine the best GPU.


Verdict: can buy

Used memory (RAM) is another safe component to buy. RAM sticks have little chance of failing. This is why manufacturers offer 10-year warranties on their memory sticks. As long as you’re buying the right type of memory (DDR3 vs. DDR4 vs. DDR5) and, ideally, the right frequency, you’re golden.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Used Ram
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Run a quick test to check RAM health with Windows Memory Diagnostic, MemTest86, or other software. Physically testing the RAM sticks is also easy: plug them in one by one into the seller’s system, and check whether they’re detected properly and the system boots to the desktop.

CPU Cooler

Verdict: can buy

As long as there hasn’t been any physical damage, an air cooler will work for a long time. On the other hand, liquid coolers or AIOs have more sophisticated components and a much higher probability of things going wrong. The risk of liquid leakage or pump failure is real and can ruin much more than the AIO. Choosing the right CPU cooler also depends on your CPU’s thermals and your PC’s aesthetics.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Used Cpu Cooler
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Modern AIOs have significantly reduced failure rates, and air and liquid coolers are backed with warranties of two to five years, depending on the manufacturer. With age, CPU coolers may develop higher noise levels and less efficient cooling capacity, but you can always use the tests discussed above to check for CPU overheating during a stress test. If the cooler isn’t up to snuff, you’ll learn that fairly easily.

Tip: use an AIO cooler to supercharge an NVIDIA graphics card and improve your PC’s performance.

Monitor and Other Peripherals

Verdict: can buy

Buying a monitor can be a stressful experience, and gaming monitors are especially pricey. Luckily, you can save a lot of money by buying a used monitor. Just check a used monitor for dead pixels, damaged LED, burn-in (in the case of OLEDs), and other visible signs of damage, before you purchase.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Used Monitor
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Other peripherals, like keyboards, mice, and headphones, are fairly simple to buy in the used market. Just confirm that all switches, LEDs, and features are working as advertised so that you can save more money on peripherals.

Cases, Fans, and More

Verdict: can buy

You can buy used cases, fans, vertical GPU mounts, SSD heatsinks, and the like confidently, as these parts don’t have components that can fail. Parts like these may not seem costly to buy new, but they can quickly add up when they are considered together.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Used Case
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Good to know: think through the considerations for buying a PC case before you make any purchases.

Storage Drives

Verdict: don’t buy

Used storage drives are something you should never buy. Hard drives have magnetic platters that are prone to developing mechanical issues and bad sectors the longer they’re used. Even though SSDs don’t have moving parts, they can still develop issues due to limited write cycles.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Storage
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This can make buying used storage a lousy idea, as it threatens the integrity of the data you’re storing on these drives. Even if you’re only using them to store non-critical data, the hassle of losing this data isn’t worth the minuscule cost savings.

Power Supply (PSU)

Verdict: don’t buy

The power supply unit (PSU) provides clean and efficient power to each of your precious PC components. However, attempting to save money with a used PSU can cost you thousands in the long term.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Psu
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PSUs can degrade over time, with their internals failing to deliver the same power quality to your CPU, GPU, motherboard, and more. If your PC demands a sudden spike in power, a used PSU may not be able to keep up and could destroy itself and other system components. This can quickly become expensive if you fry your entire computer.

Also helpful: look for common signs of a dying power supply when testing used parts.


Verdict: don’t buy

Avoid buying a used motherboard at all cost. The motherboard connects every other component of your PC, and any major faults that go unnoticed during the purchase can result in catastrophic failures. Issues like faulty VRMs can affect CPU performance, and bent pins on the CPU socket can render your CPU unusable.

Pc Parts You Can Buy Motherboard
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At times, you will need an older, compatible motherboard to make your old CPU work. While that’s unavoidable, you should try not to save costs on a motherboard, considering it has various components that could develop faults after years of daily use. If you’re dead set on buying a used motherboard, spend enough time examining it physically.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy used PC parts?

You can find listings for used PC parts through nearly any marketplace. Platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist are the most common places to find good deals on used PC parts. You can even check out Amazon, Newegg, and Micro Center for certified used and refurbished components.

Is it safe to buy a used PC?

Buying one or two used components is far better than purchasing an entire used PC, as there are chances that the seller bought a pre-built PC that is now out of the limited SI (system integrator) warranty. On the other hand, buying used components can give you a better chance of finding parts still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re eyeing a great deal on a used PC, check whether the system was a pre-built or custom-built PC. The latter will be a much better deal.

Do PC parts degrade if not used?

PC parts can degrade even when they aren’t used. Capacitors, lubricants, and cooling paste all wear down over time. Parts can also rust or collect dust. All of this impacts their functionality.

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Tanveer Singh
Tanveer Singh

Tanveer hunts far and wide for PC Hardware, Windows, and Gaming ideas to write about. An MBA in Marketing and the owner of a PC building business, he has written extensively on Technology, Gaming, and Marketing. When not scouring the web, he can be found binging on The Office, running for his life in GTFO, or wrecking karts in Smash Karts.

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