Month: August 2016

Past Stories: Tales from a Car Dealer

This story comes from a few summers ago, just before I went to university. I know the guy who used to run a local dealership in my hometown, and he was having some computer trouble, so I was recommended to him to have a look. While I was sat waiting for the various anti-virus tools I was running to work their magic, he mentioned an old system he had lying around that he didn’t want. I went upstairs to take a look, and offered him £20.

Upon getting home I had a closer look. The tower was a fairly standard socket 939 Acer Aspire, but had been upgraded with an ATI X1950, which was promptly taken out and I may even still have somewhere. It also had been upgraded with 2 1GB sticks of Geil DDR RAM, which were promptly placed on eBay and replaced with some generic 512MB sticks. Replaced the missing drive blank on the front of the case with one I had spare, reinstalled XP, sold for I believe £30 (although this was a while ago so I have sort of forgotten!). The monitor was a 19″ Viewsonic with VGA and DVI, and there was also a keyboard and mouse. These were paired with a dual 867MHz PowerMac G4 that is in a story that’s still in my drafts I will write about soon.

A few months later, and after I’d replaced a failed hard drive in his garage’s main PC, I was offered a laptop he had lying around for free. Looked a bit tatty but was a decentish Sony Vaio. Upon further inspection, I discovered it was a Vaio VGN-AR61S, so 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 2 200GB hard drives in RAID, and a Blu-Ray drive… and Nvidia graphics. I’ve always been a bit nervous of Nvidia graphics in laptops ever since my old Acer 9300 died due to them. Took out one of the HDDs to take it down to 200GB (I was out of HDDs at the time!) and it was taken to a car boot and sold for £60 without spending any more on it (I charged and tested it with a universal charger).

As for the dealer? He disappeared. The garage still exists and operates, and have been known to fix my French heap of crap on a semi-regular basis.


Tales from the Car Boot: Vaio, Vaio, Daylight come and we don’t wanna go home

This is an old post I wrote in March and never properly finished, so here it is now for your viewing pleasure.

Well, guess from the title what I bought that week? Yep, that’s right, a Toshiba and an Acer. Oh, a Sony too.

Toshiba L300-22X

Pretty standard fare, this. Celeron dual core, 2GB RAM, 160GB hard drive (which was dead, so was replaced with a new one at £10), but mint plastics, the webcam model, and a good battery mean I should make decent money on this. Came with a cracked LCD, so I swapped in a spare 15.4″ (I have loads of these from scrapped machines so it’s no biggie).
Price Paid: £10
Price Sold: £50
Profit: around £25 if you count the cost of the charger and not the screen

Acer Aspire 2920

Pretty awful buy. Has various bits of damage I can’t be bothered or can’t fix, such as a buggered battery (it claims the capacity when full is 14 times that of what it can actually hold), smashed headphone jack, some damage to the palmrest and hinge covers, and 3 missing keys (which are expensive to replace – I have to order them in from Poland!), but does run OK, has a Core 2 Duo T5450, 2GB RAM and a 120GB hard drive with intact recovery partition for Vista. Restoring to factory and listing as soon as I decide what to do with the key situation.

UPDATE: As of now, this is still sat in my storage pile. The odds of anything other than maybe the keys being sorted are low at best. Its charger has been sold with something else.
Price Paid: £7 (inc charger)

Tesco Hudl 1 (purple)

This was a chance. Powered on to a flat battery sign, but wouldn’t charge. These are known for USB port failure, so I changed the USB board. No joy. Changed the cable between the motherboard and USB board, and it worked fine. Cost me £4 for the board and £5 for the cable. Came with a tatty folding case. Runs Jelly Bean, not too bad as a tablet actually, quicker than I expected it to be.
Price Paid: £5
Price Sold: £25
Profit: £11

And now, the highlight…

Sony Vaio F11S1E (PCG-81112M)

A pretty powerful machine! This had an i7-720QM quad core processor, 6GB of RAM, an Nvidia GT330 GPU, a 500GB drive, a Bluray drive and a full HD screen! Bought for spares with a broken DC jack, but I couldn’t help but test it – turns out most Vaios of this era take the same battery, namely the PCG-21313M I had in (Now scrapped!), so I charged the battery in that, and put it in, and what do you know, it worked perfectly! Restored it back to factory and updated it while waiting for the DC jack to arrive (thankfully not soldered! £5 part, but a pain in the arse to fit), and sold it a week later! I think this is my best profit yet on a single item, the closest I’ve ever got was £100ish on a Toshiba C660 back when they were a bit newer.
Price Paid: £30 (!)
Price Sold: £200 (!!)
Profit: around £160 (assuming £5 for the charger I had in stock) (!!!)