Dell Inspiron 15-3521 15.6in. (500GB, Intel Core i3 3rd Gen., 1.9GHz, 6GB) Noteb

This computer sells for about $100.00 as configured, but then with a few upgrades you could do to get a bit more life out of it.

RAM: This Dell Inspiron ships with 6GB of RAM but you can max out the ram to 16GB. For this computer I wonder if adding ram that costs more than the computer is such a good idea. You could upgrade to 8GB but as it ships with 6GB you would be hard pressed to tell much of a difference

Hard Drive: This is different. This computer ships with a 500GB drive, but I suggest you toss a SSD in this computer. You could get away with a 128GB ssd which would cost $100 or less.

Battery: This computer could probably use a new battery and these are pretty cheap at about $20.00

Total Cost of Dell Inspiron 15-3521 with Upgrades would cost about $220.00

 

Shop Dell Inspiron 15-3521 on eBay or Amazon

 

 

Lenovo ThinkPad T430s i5 3320M @ 2.6GHz – 4Gb RAM – DVDCD-RW – No HDD

Lenovo ThinkPad T430s i5 3320M @ 2.6GHz – 4Gb RAM – DVD\CD-RW – No HDD

Source: Lenovo ThinkPad T430s i5 3320M @ 2.6GHz – 4Gb RAM – DVDCD-RW – No HDD

This Lenovo thinkpad tends to sell for about $100 as configured.

You will need to add more RAM and upgrade the hard drive to get it to top notch condition and performance. There’s some wear on the keyboard too so you might want to consider upgrading. A new battery might be a good idea too.

First, the hard drive. 250GB SSD drives are under $100.

Doubling the ram to 8GB would cost about $50.00. 

If you go with a replacement keyboard you would add another $35.00  

A new battery would cost about $50.00

Lastly, you will need a charger for about $10.00

Total it all up and a fast, thin and light thinkpad from 2012 would cost about $350.00 if you sum up all the upgrades you would need for this computer.

 

Apple Mac Mini 2.5GHz – 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 4GB RAM 500GB Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra 885909455621 

Apple Mac Mini 2.5GHz – 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 4GB RAM 500GB Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra

Source: Apple Mac Mini 2.5GHz – 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 4GB RAM 500GB Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra 885909455621 | eBay

This Mac Mini from 2011 sells for about $400.00.

There are two upgrades you can do to this particular model. The first is that you can upgrade the RAM to 16GB which is getting rare for Mac Minis as you can’t even upgrade the lastest model. This will cost about $100.00

Then there’s the hard drive. It comes with a 500gb spinning drive which is okay if you don’t mind the speed and need the storage, but if want a much faster experience for this 2011 Mac Mini then you should upgrade the SSD. You could replace the 500gb spinner with a 500GB SSD. This will cost about $150.00

Total it all up and your maxed-out 2011 Mac Mini would cost about $650.00  and the result would be a very fast Mac Mini

 

Apple MacBook Pro 15″ A1398 MC975LL/A, i7 2.30GHz, 8GB DDR3, 256GB SSD (1193) 

Some scratching and one of the rubber feet on the bottom are missing.

Source: Apple MacBook Pro 15″ A1398 MC975LL/A, i7 2.30GHz, 8GB DDR3, 256GB SSD (1193) | eBay

This computer tends to sell for about $550.00

This might not be the best example of a MacBook Pro as far as condition  but it does some things going for it as you don’t need to really upgrade the RAM or the hard drive because it’s already been done – saving you some money.

The only upgrades you would need for this  computer would be to add a new battery

If you total the cost of those two you would have a fast 2012 MacBook Pro for about $600.00

Apple Macbook Intel 2.40 GHz 4 GB 250 GB 13″ MC516LL/A White Laptop 886389089160 

Apple Macbook Intel 2.40 GHz 4 GB 250 GB 13″ MC516LL/A White Laptop

This MacBook sells for about $250.00

Source: Apple Macbook Intel 2.40 GHz 4 GB 250 GB 13″ MC516LL/A White Laptop 886389089160 | eBay

It’s an older model but it still has a fair bit of ram at 4GB and you can upgrade the RAM to 8GB for about $50.00 or less to max out the ram on this 13 inch white Macbook.

The drive is okay, but it’s a spinning drive so you might see some benefit from a SSD drive. A 250GB ssd is about $100. 

The big question would be is it worth it to upgrade this computer further?

Chances are you will also need a new battery and then you’re looking at about $400.00 plus for a Mac that’s discontinued long ago. You might also need a battery and this would cost another twenty bucks or so too

This one does come in the original box and seems to be in good shape.

Lenovo Ideapad 310 15.6″ Laptop AMD A10-9600P 2.4GHz 8GB 1TB Win10

High-performance laptops for serious gamers. Convertible PCs for those who like their entertainment on the go. There’s an Ideapad for everyone. Product Line IdeaPad. Product Name IdeaPad 310-15ABR 80ST0005US Notebook.

Source: Lenovo Ideapad 310 15.6″ Laptop AMD A10-9600P 2.4GHz 8GB 1TB Win10 | eBay

These computers tend to sell for about $339.00 for a new model and even less for used. The one disadvantage of this particular computer is the hard drive. There’s probably enough ram but replacing the drive with a ssd is a good idea.

250gb SSD drives for the Lenovo Ideapad 310 sell for about $100

Replace that slow spinning hard drive with a faster ssd and you have  very nice computer for about $450.00

resources

How to Upgrade RAM on Lenovo Ideapad 310

How to replace hard drive on Lenovo Ideapad 310

 

Lenovo ThinkPad W510 Laptop Intel i7 Q720 1.60GHz 8GB 160GB SSD NVIDIA 1920X1080 

 

Lenovo ThinkPad W510. 1X Lenovo ThinkPad W510 Laptop (workstation). NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M|15.6-In | 1920X1080 Resolution | 1GB Dedicated Video RAM. 160GB SSD. 1X Genuine Lenovo 135W Power Adapters. Nvidia Quadro FX 880M.

Source: Lenovo ThinkPad W510 Laptop Intel i7 Q720 1.60GHz 8GB 160GB SSD NVIDIA 1920X1080 | eBay

These notebooks seem to sell for about $300.00

This particular thinkpad ships with 8GB of ram, but can be upgraded to 16GB

It already has a SSD drive  so technically you could leave well enough alone if you don’t need whole lot of space but if you do you could add more storage by either replacing the hard drive with a bigger model.  500GB hard drives go for about 200 dollars so it’s not much money for a much bigger SSD.

The battery could probably be replaced. New batteries sell for about $20.00 so don’t let the fact that this is an older computer get you down.

Total cost of the computer and upgrades would be about $500.00

resources:

Thinkpad w510 RAM installation

Thinkpad w510 hard drive replacement

 

Dell 3650 Inspiron Desktop PC i5-6400 2.7GHz 8GB 1TB DVDRW GT 730 Win 10

The Dell Inspiron 3650 sells for about $150.00 to $200.00 and with a few upgrades you have a very nice and fast desktop computer from Dell for less than $400.00.

This particular model includes 8GB of ram already installed and for some that will be just fine and you will not have to make any upgrades to the RAM but if you like to have a lot of browser tabs open or do any photo or video work you might want to upgrade the ram to 16Gb, the maximum this dell computer can accept.

This Dell comes with a generous amount of storage space at 1TB but you might want to the consider adding a second ssd drive and use that for the operating system keep the 1TB drive for storage of your files. The dell can accept both a 2.5 inch SSD and a 3.5 inch hard drive so you could have the best of both worlds. A 250 gb SSD can be had for under $100 so it’s my opinon that this is worthy upgrade.

All in all, if you total the cost of the computer, the cost of the ram and SSD upgrades you can have a very fast computer for under $500.00

Resources:

Dell Inspiron 3650 Service Manual

Shop for Dell Inspiron 3650 on eBay and Amazon

Apple 2011 MacBook Pro 13″ 2.4GHz Core I5 500GB HD 4GB RAM MD313LL/A

The 2011 MacBook Pro has become affordable enough that even if you cannot afford a new MacBook pro you can still buy an older model that offers close to the same performance as new models for about $400.00. If you add a few upgrades you can have a very capable machine.

RAM is the first upgrade I suggest. This model ships with just 4GB and you can double the ram on the 2011 Macbook Pro 13 inch to 8Gb for about $50.00.

The hard drive is the really weak spot on this particular machine. It ships with a 500GB drive but I suggest you replace it with a much faster SSD drive. 500GB SSD drives are now priced at under $200.00. If that’s too much a 256GB SSD is priced at about half price at $100 or so.

The battery is the last update I would suggest. This a six year old portable computer and it will cost from $30-50 for a replacement depending on whether you opt for a 3rd party battery vs a Genuine OEM model

If you add the total cost to spruce up this computer your’re looking at about $700.00 for a MacBook Pro with a fast SSD, maxed out ram and a new battery. At this price you might consider just buying a new MacBook Pro but that’s your choice. If you already own this model of MacBook pro then the upgrades are reasonable and will get you a few more years out of your MacBook Pro 13

Resources:

How to install SSD drive in Macbook Pro 2011

How to upgrade ram in 2011 MacBook Pro

APPLE A1347 MC815LL/A 2011 Mac Mini 5.1 Core i5 2.30Ghz 4GB 500GB – HDMI

These older Mac Mini’s are a great bargain at about $300 for a 2011 Model that you can actually upgrade vs the current 2014 Mac Mini models that are not upgradeable at all.

But, if you were to make a few upgrades to this model you’d have a great Mac on the cheap.

The first upgrade is the RAM. This one already has 4GB and this might be fine but you can double the ram to 8GB for about $50.00 on sale and then sell the 4GB of ram to offset the costs of the upgrade.

500gb is a fine storage amount for most, but if you can afford it replace the slow standard hard with a much faster SSD drive. Prices are dropping and now you could even get a 500GB SSD for under $200.

To summarize if you shop around a bit you could have a fast Mac Mini with fast storage and enough ram for most tasks for a total of about $500.00

resources:

How to Upgrade 2011 Mac Mini RAM

How to replace 2011 Mac Mini Hard Drive