When The Going Gets Tough, I Build PCs!

Upside Down Economy

As a kid I used to think that everything in Australia was upside down – and then I came to live in Argentina and discovered that not only is everything upside down, but it’s back to front. For reasons that would be far too complicated to explain, used cars are now more expensive than new ones. In fact, the second-hand market is booming, not only because of import restrictions but also the need to cut back and repair. When inflation nudges towards hyperinflation and prices rise every week and sometimes every day, priorities change. Feeding one’s family and paying essential bills become the priority, so spending thousands on new tech equipment such as computers is relegated to the lower division.

Argentina is not a backward country, far from it, but many humble businesses such as locksmiths, hardware stores, and others of that ilk are still using fifteen-year-old computers and operating systems that have long been superseded. I still have customers that use Windows XP – not that many, I grant you – and plenty that still use Windows 7 (non-activated) for their day-to-day activities. The actual computers are usually stuck under a back office desk (which also serves as a dining table), gathering dust over several years and largely ignored. This, in spite of the fact that these machines are used for day-to-day tasks such as stock, invoicing, and many other essential tasks. I’ve now become quite accustomed to crawling into dark spaces and dragging out unloved, prehistoric relics from the early days of Windows, even as far back as Pentium 4.

Reconditioned Computers For Office Use

The majority of my customers are not interested in high-level gaming machines and simply want a PC that connects to the Internet, will browse relatively quickly, and carry out simple office tasks, so I’m often asked to supply such machines and have been doing so for quite a few years. But today, that market sector in Argentina is even more important for the reasons already stated. Currently, my starting point for reconditioned machines is 8GB DDR3 memory, usually combined with an AMD APU (integrated graphics), an SSD, a new PSU, and a decent used computer case. Fortunately, used computer cases are easy to come by for about $15, and if I have to travel to get hold of a bargain, so be it. I also have numerous contacts who specialise in used computer components and only last week managed to acquire two good combos – Gigabyte AM3 motherboard with Nvidia graphics, Athlon II 250/MSI FM2 motherboard, 4GB RAM, AMD A4 4000 APU, and a couple of black cases in excellent condition.

Coincidentally, while I was building these, a lady contacted me to remind me that I had suggested to her that she buy a reconditioned machine from me some months ago, but I didn’t have any in stock. The unfortunate lady is struggling with a monstrously pathetic netbook with 1GB of RAM and an integrated 64GB SSD, so her needs are obvious.


My market research tells me that I can supply a reconditioned base machine (without a monitor, keyboard, or mouse) for much less than a new AM4 or Intel equivalent computer. In fact, my price would be around a third to half the price of a similar new PC. On the other hand, I have seen major resellers advertising DDR3 machines as new, when clearly they cannot be so because any AM3 board available today will always be used/second hand. Speaking of which, I have built up a good level of trust with my customers, most of whom are well aware of the tricks that are played in the market and so I value that trust enormously.

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