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This may seem like an odd question, but what I want to do is invest $300-500 dollars into building a computer, sell it on craigslist for a small profit, and use the money to build another, better computer. Do you think this is possible up to the point where I have $1000 to build a computer for myself? If so, what would be a good amount of money to invest in the first computer; what parts should I use for it and how much should I sell it for? Thanks!

asked Feb 10 '13 at 01:44

pavleap's gravatar image


edited Feb 11 '13 at 03:24

Fogarty's gravatar image

Fogarty ♦♦

I can speak for experiences that this is NOT the way to make money... You can create a $400 computer and sell it for $600... or for $600 they can get a laptop that will meet the specs you put into it. or they can get a desktop with a little better specs...

People will look at what you are offering and think, well i can get that for less if I buy brand X.

They will try to talk you down in price, and you will have to sell the computer you where hoping to get $600 for for $500.

There there is the issue of the OS.. You can get the OEM of home for $99.99 on new egg... and when you try to sell it, people wont conciser that to be apart of the price.

Then if a part breaks, they think you sold them junk, and they try to get their money back, and if you are a nice guy you replace the part.

By the time all is said and done, you lost money.

By the end of the day, you cannot compete on price and support as a regular OEM like Dell, HP, Lenovo, ASUS. People also want laptops these days, unless you are a gamer, and gamers will want to build their own anyways.

answered Feb 10 '13 at 10:27

trueb's gravatar image


I think the only way you can make a profit is if you get the brand new computer parts at a discount. The larger companies can do it because they buy wholesale and what they sell for dollars they probably buy for pennies.

answered Feb 10 '13 at 11:41

IamTechCrazy's gravatar image


It is not a good idea since warranties are not transferable. If anything goes wrong, then the buyer will look to you for support. Furthermore, you are unlikely to make a profit when you consider that the average user is going to look at the brand and just assume magic happens in the box, and users who understand specs will be able to look up the parts you put and know how much money you are making from them.

Furthermore, it is difficult to ship a full system without being able to create custom foam packaging to fit in the case (eg if you were to stick a GTX 460 inside of a PC and ship it off, you have a good chance of ending up with a system with a broken PCI-e slot when it is delivered.

And if you are targeting users who cant build their own system then telling them that some assembly required is not going to work.

Furthermore, prebuilt custom systems found on sites like ebay of craigs list or any other site will have a bad impression right from the start as those systems are know to ripoffs, where a user simply heads to a site like newegg, and sorts by lowest price and picks the cheapest compatible hardware they can find, then puts it all together and then tacks on an extra $200+ or so to the price, and often those systems will not last long because they are poorly balanced.

For example a user may want to make a gaming PC and picks a cheap PSU, bottom of the line motherboard, cheapest RAM, and probably a decent CPU, then the end result is a 130 watt TDP chip on a motherboard with 3-4 power phases, a cheap power supply with line ripple at load which falls outside of the ATX spec, slow memory with really high timings which bottleneck the system.

(and if they are feeling really scammish, a single hard drive for the OS and storage, and it will be something like a WD green or other drive targeted at bulk storage and not performance)

If you go into this field, you may sell a system but it is not worth the risk, that well has long been poisoned. (kinda like the banner ad industry, 99% of banner ads will advertise the same crap that ends up in your e-mail spam folder, and of the remaining 1% it is either not what you are looking for or it is a scam.)

answered Feb 10 '13 at 13:57

Razor512's gravatar image


I dont think shipping is really the issue, i think he plans to sell it locally... plus you can always use the box the case came in. But you are 100% correct on many things... The PCI card should be ok though as long as you have it in there securely.

(Feb 10 '13 at 19:26) trueb trueb's gravatar image

from my experience the only way to reliably sell a custom PC is to sell it to people you know based on a discussion with them of the parts. Other than that, you are dealing with the poisoned well problem with bad custom systems flooding the market.

For the shipping, back heavy cards require back support when shipping. computers designed to house large videocards and be shipped with them installed will often have better mounting than just the 1 or 2 screws securing it to the case. (eg they may have an extended back for the card which slides into a special groove, oor they will use a videocard where the fan is at the back and the heatsink stops at the center point of the card (very close to where the GPU is. the reason being that those cards make heavy use of surface mount components and a high density BGA which is very sensitive to any flexing of the PCB

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Other than that, you are stuck with using a foam insert which holds the card in place to prevent flexing during shipping.

(Feb 11 '13 at 00:31) Razor512 Razor512's gravatar image

I think it is profitable, I am creating custom made laptop with Mac OS X on it but a more windows design on the outside, I made one like this before I got more ram in it and it only cost me $2.00 on eBay for the ram a brand new intel core i7 processor for $3.00 on eBay and then got a brand new Samsung ssd in it,and then altogether it costed me $50 on it and I got $1,300 for it so it made a big profit.So it is a good way to earn a profit and it is possible.I hope this helped

answered Feb 11 '13 at 00:37

Solidsafety2's gravatar image


I call bullshit or fake parts

(Feb 11 '13 at 14:29) Tim Fontana Tim%20Fontana's gravatar image

It is possible yes. If you are looking to get into something like this, it will however not be the #1 source of income, repair will be. After that, parts will be. Then selling whole computers will come third. I do this locally and it is a good source of income. If you can do something like this, go for it. It is an enjoyable income source, but sometimes it is not easy. :)

answered Feb 11 '13 at 13:52

Drmgiver's gravatar image


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Asked: Feb 10 '13 at 01:44

Seen: 4,163 times

Last updated: Feb 11 '13 at 14:29