questionscan anyone offer help on purchasing a computer…

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Depends on your use of the laptop. Never buy on the fly unless you know what you are looking for. Buyers remorse happens that way, and unless you have an ebay account, so not worth it. Take some time to decide what you need for your purposes. Then check out Best Buy Private Store (if you have an invite) or Cowboom. There are dozens of places that sell used laptops.

PLEASE NOTE: MOST (Not all) computers on Cowboom have NO operating system or driver disks.

Edit: I do shop at Cowboom and BB Private Store. PLEASE read description closely.

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Given the pace that they sell stuff during these events, if you're not well versed in computers, I'd recommend avoiding. You really need to read their descriptions carefully, because no two offerings are the same, nor are all of their accessories necessarily included. Plus, there is no guarantee that the price you see is really a bargain unless you've done your research.

That said, if you do buy & change your mind, their return policy is very liberal, and they pay return shipping. I've bought computers from them before.

Assuming general internet browsing, light document creation, etc, go for at least a Core 2 Duo, or a core-i series from Intel (not sure what AMD equivalents are any more). At least 2 GB ram, if not 4 GB. HDD space is up to you. Larger screen (17") is nice, but less portable. Set a budget, and don't go over.

My preference is for Dell systems, but that is somewhat subjective. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who favor other mfgrs.

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Woot.com often has computers. So does sellout.woot.com and moofi. If you figure out what you want and don't mind a refurb, I'd check one of these sites.

BTW, there are some very good refurb computers.

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Definitely look at the "whats included" which each individual item. Make sure it comes with a hard drive, power cord, and at least a license key if not a operating system. IF it comes with the key you can order replacement software through the manufacturer to have an operating system installed. Just to be clear, I bought an excellent HP laptop with a seperate gaming card instead of on board graphics. My total cost was 212 plus 15 for the recovery media through HP. Best Buy formats the hard drives on these comps so it is up to you to install the OS.

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Check out dealnews.com They are like Deals.Woot except its only their employees posting deals and it is categorized nicely on there

Desktops:
http://dealnews.com/c48/Computers/Desktops/

Laptops:
http://dealnews.com/c49/Computers/Laptops/

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Thank you for all the answers.
Since I'm not a heavy user computer wise I figured getting one from CowBoom would be a good idea since their prices look good. I had no idea some of them could come without a hard drive, etc. Now that's a good piece of info to have! Never would have thought that.
I didn't end up buying anything this time, but maybe the next. I'll come back to view the comments before hand to get the best deal I can.
Thanks, again!