Cheaper PC's are easy to find.
           How to not go broke, fixing or buying old relic PC's           

Avoid list 1: (and what years are best) History Matters!
  • Buy something better even a used PC from 2010 are vastly better. (no CCFL lamps dead or soon to be, as all are LED LCD background lamped screens now, avoid all Pre 2010 PC's)
  • Avoid years 1999 to 2003 PC's for China bad CAP.'s disease."  produced from 1999 to 2003 and failed between 2002 and 2005"  A MOOT POINT GIVEN ABOVE RULE.
  • Do not buy Laptops with 2008 year, GPU chips. (for sure Nvidia, BGA solder ball horrors) Again a moot point given the 2010 up rule.
  • Buy desktop 2013 or newer. with 4th generation Intel CPU. ! Has a future, unlike all the above. (runs Windows 10, 64BIT.)
Most folks I'm told never leave their Browsers or leave Facebook or the like,  so anything works, even a tiny PAD, for $55 new, so  just doing that.
So do not read my page, but if buying a PC that has more flexibility,  a future , longer life span and a lower cost of ownership read on.

or you hate tiny screens and worse keyboards, for micky mouse,. read on.

Why spend hard earned cash on a new $1000 grossly overpriced cracker thin , and fragile Laptop. 
Why not buy a desktop, if you do  not need
true mobility why not get a nice desktop and a  2010 or newer Monitor, so lets talk monitors first.

Cheaper Monitors:
Walmart has great listiings on  refurb Monitors, check it out and save cash.(as low as $47 + tax)

Avoid all monitors older than 2010 made they use short lived CCLF back lamp tubes.
If the manual for the Monitor shows, no mention of LED , avoid it, if the manuals mention "Toxic, Hg or Mercury" avoid it  (means CCLF is there and now useless this old)
In the year 2010 the wide screens were changed to LED backlamps first, then the narrow screens later (hint hint)
Avoid all things with the  4:3 old TV screen type aspect ratio,  go for only
16:9 wide screen PCs and monitors , see them all here at wonderful WIKI.
My HP CCFL screen back lamp tube avoidance list is here. (you will want at least HDTV compatilbity to  watch movies.)

Cheaper good PC's:?  (Intel only I will not cover AMD or the like,  (but the AMD Ryzen is  fine choice)
PC were made from 1981 to Today.  The old ones are now junk ,so forget them please.
The modern PC is one with a CORE™, i3/i5/i7 processor not  CORE 2 nor Core Duo.
 Desktops are easier to repair, diagnose and use standard parts called the ATX standards.  That means parts are easy to find and vastly less costs.
There  are some great PCs even made in 2013 that are very good.
The key factor again is age, and most stores that sell these PC's they are called Refurbished. (most Refurbs are just dust offs and resells)
Many sold like that are junk, the models sold are over 10 years old, or way older and are a
If you see a PC get the model number and wiki it, see the year made and learn not to pay big money on 10 year old relics (or  older).

There are 2 ways to get a powerful and lasting Desktop, build one from scratch or buy a used PC.  (building one, is off topic here, but here is mine done the hard way so it seems)

HP and Dell are the 2 top brands, I buy only American made (USA) PCs. (no better support exists by any other makers) (if Asian brands are your bag?, Asus is tops, MSI and
HP  has XW-nnnn  series (XW4600) or the better  Desktop Z600  (even with dual CPU) 
All  PCs mentioned here run Windows 10-64bit perfectly. (goal #2 is this)

I like Dell support best so here goes with DELL: (Dell lacks parts list , like wonderful HP Partsurfer has)
The Dell Desktops, to buy are the Newer Optiplex  series, but were made from 2013 to now.
The oldest one to buy is: (3000 series)  See a bench mark here.

Here is my DELL PRIME Desktop list by # 
Each PC comes in as many as 4 case sizes. (the larger ones are more standard and more expandible for sure nice with huge  video cards and banks of HDD/SSD)
Series 4: (Haswell , or newer and better !)
My 3020 page is here all secrets (power pins etc) of how  how to  install a new PSU and more are here.

3040 is gen 6 CPU and very expensive, Gen 4 are vastly more affordable. But the 3030 with Gen 6 CPU and w10 loaded can be had for $250 rebuilt.
7020  gen 4 or far better the 7050 below:
9020 gen 4
9030 gen 4.
XE2 and 3 (gen4)
or any series 5 Optiplex on up, is even better)  year 2014 made or newer.

See the 2015 year Optiplex  3040 > ($200 used) (front viewed) series 5.
Avoid old Dell , with 3 digit model number they are just too old now.
The  Dell nnnn 4 digit numbers, up to 7450 new 2017 up, the best ones are all CORE processors, not Core 2, NO DUO  but Intel Generation i3-i5 or i7-Xnnn  (X =4 and up generation CPU)

Workstations are better PC's, , and in fact has way better support and a huge list of qualified processor choices, unlike consumer grade or toy PC with sometimes 1 choice only.

My favorite PC is here, I don't have one but do have a Z270prime from Asus.
The other good deal if you have spare PC case laying about  is to buy used $50 Dell Optiplex 7050  (intel Q270 chipset and does both gen 6 and 7 Core CPU's)
Use a ATX power adopter and standard PSU v2.2 up (ATX12 cable fitted) (seen here) (the lower left 4 pin power uses the normal ATX12v plug.\
Seen here. 7050 (most of the used optiplex boards are in the $50 range so why buy less than this?)

CPU list for above
Intel Core i3-6100 (DC/3MB/4T/3.7GHz/65W)
Intel Core i5-6400 (QC/ 6MB/4T/2.7GHz/65W)
Intel Core i5-6500 (QC/6MB/4T/3.2GHz/65W)
Intel Core i5-6600 (QC/6MB/4T/3.3GHz/65W)
Intel Core i7-6700 (QC/8MB/8T/3.4GHz/65W)
Intel Core i3-7100 (DC/3MB/4T/3.9GHz/65W)
Intel Core i3-7300 (DC/4MB/4T/4.0GHz/51W)
Intel Core i5-7400 (QC/6MB/4T/3.0GHz/ 65W)
Intel Core i5-7500 (QC/6MB/4T/3.4GHz/65W)
Intel Core i5-7600 (QC/6MB/4T/3.5GHz/65W)
Intel Core i7-7700 (QC/8MB/8T/3.6GHz/65W  (best)
DDR4 at
2400 MHz

The only hard part is getting your hands on a POWER SWITCH Pinout (the Dell secret  this) if this silly LED lamp is not important you, then only the 2 pins that turn the PC are the key fact to learn.
The 6 pin header pin set (sen above) 1 missing pin (keyed), for 5 pins total, one can short each to ground or use  a 100 ohm resistor,  from ground then thouch each of 5 pins
What is good on this  MOBO is the lack of complex front panel on the MT case.

Windows 10 64bit needs  a minimum level of advanced instruction features,  NX or XD and maybe TXT

RAM (DRAM, memory max  may be important to you)
Next pick k a PC with 4 RAM slots DDR .  16GB max is  good lower limit on Desktops.
Some models use a  standard power supply ATX12v v.2.2 or newer PSU, (no custom PSU) MT case is my favorite (mini-tower)
The 3040-mT needs this to use standard ATX v2.2 up PSU.

  (ebay or at Walmart) Super good used PC bang for the buck. 

Optiplex wiki list is very good 2013 year up.
The Dells have 3 or more cases and mobo types.  
In all cases up grade you mobo BIOS firmware so you can run the newest CORE processors or newest Xeon.

Buy a great used  HP work-station XW4600 or newer, like this?

Any XW-nnnn ,  up are great desktops, that can use top Xeon CPU with full windows 10 -64bit support ! Q9950 runs it.
Any Z400 is  great choice too, (HP) with better Zeon processors. !
Really my twin CPU , based  Z600 is a jewel.!

I like HP , they are the best, for hardware and the best documentation of any makers (as is DELL),  some makers have ZERO DOC's other than cute colored plug in guides,  mostly useless, IMO.
Read the Xw4600 page. SEE?

In all cases of W10-64b,  make sure the BIOS is updated (adds CPUs newer) and set the BIOS to that all CPU security features are eabled first. NX or XD settings on the Security tab!
16b, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF is needed as are SSE2 and PAE and NX.  see more here on hardware limits and all causes for failure to install 64bit OS..
PAE = Physical Address Extension (allows over 4GB of ram)
NX, or the no execute bit is a feature helps the CPU guard the PC from attacks by malicious software,an Intel 2004 introduction.
Some of this restrictions began in windows 8; (and W10-64 is even more strict)
There are other restrictions, not just CPU,  and are motherboard or its BIOS not supported, and major chips on the mother board or GPU or ethernet chips not supported , or even SOUND chip. (hint: disable the bad and replace them)
"All Intel Core i7, i5, or i3 processors, as well as all Pentium or Celeron processors based on the Clarkdale, Arrandale, Sandy Bridge, or newer microarchitectures, support these features," again avoid CORE-2(tm) or older processors.

Good Laptops used are hard to find, but there are 2 favorites of mine. (3 of the best PCs made by HP  are these)
The zbooks and Elitebooks and probooks are all good made by HP, top quality here, buy one cheep, mine is 8540w, and I upgraded it to W10 and SSD drive.
Do not turn on the BIOS PASSWORD and do not buy a PC with THAT already turned on. OK?

These are my Idea's on how to not RUN XP ever again, and not go broke.
  (I see a guy buying a Laptop for $1000 bucks and think, gee, I could buy 3 laptops with 5 desktops for that cash?)
If all you need is one home PC, get the ATX full sized desktop above and a  $120 chromebook for travel.  (why spend $1000?)

Every word on this page is IMO, In my opinion so is only that, and your opinion is always better, but I offer this page as food for thought only.

version 4.  5-9-2017  (how to save a buck,  buy old and upgrade it or buy nice dell 3000 series optiplex or  higher #