Subscriber Janet wrote me recently about her (mis)adventure buying a used computer on eBay:
Hi Terry, I’ve got a few problems I’m hoping you can help me with or at least tell me where to look. I just bought a newer computer off eBay.
Since I do a lot of research on the Internet I needed a computer that would support my having open 8-20 web pages at one time. After a good bit of reading I came the conclusion that what I needed that was within my low budget was a used computer with a higher speed processor than on my old computer (it had approx. 2100Mhz) and that I needed a lot more megs of ran (I only had 521) and that I needed dual processors or at very lest hyperthreading.
I could not find dual processor computer in my price range so I looked at hyperthreading computers. I finally found one that I was would fit my needs and in my price range. Last weekend end I bid on an eBay auction and won a Dell OptiPlex, with 2000 megs of ram, a 3000Mhz processor that did hyperthreading and it had a much larger HD. My old HP computer only had an 40Gig HD, but this Dell I bought has a 250Gig HD and a CD/DVD burner.
Here’ the auction so that you know what I bought:
[link removed – Terry]
It arrived on Friday afternoon, 4-11-08, so I spent Saturday evening (last night) trying to see if it worked right. It powered up just fine. I used the CD Player to load my AOL software and that went fine. I also tested it with a CD that had been made here at home and the CD music player worked fine as did the speaker connections. I was able to get my broadband Internet connection set up and get on the net and go to Goggle and link to various web sites. I am able to see graphics and videos over the net. XP Pro seems to work OK, as little of it as I’ve used, I see no problems.
Now here is where my problems started. The 1st thing I noticed after a few hours after it was running was that it was making a high pitched sound. It was not loud and if you walked 5′ away you would not hear it. Today when I started up the computer it made that sound intermittently and now it’s gone. I did research that noise earlier on the net and found that with this GX280 Dell it could be the power supply or worse it could be bad capacitors on the mother board. Since it’s quit the high pitched noise do you think it’s OK or should I look at some other things to see if there is a problem and if yes, what should I look at?
The next thing was that decided to ck to be sure that the processor speed was the 3000Mhz. I went into my computer on the desktop, then to properties and then I became a little concerned because in properties, under general it says something different from what it say when I look up the system information from the start menu.
In properties says– just like this:
Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.8Ghz
2.79Ghz, 1.99GB of Ram
In the devise manager it says:
Intel(R)Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.8Ghz
In system information, under system summary it says:
Processor: x86 15 Model 4 Stepping GenuineIntel(R) ~2793Mhz
SMBIOS Version: 2.3
So I’m not sure if I received what I’ve paid for. I’ve spent hours looking on line and I still can’t figure this out if I was shipped what I paid for. Would you give me your opinion? If you have the time I’ really appreciate your input.
Once again, many thanks for reading my email and any help you can give me, Jannet in San Diego, California
Jannet has a couple of problems here. First and foremost, she purchased a computer that was listed as a 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 — but the one she received identities itself as a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4.
I suspect, though, that this was an innocent mistake by the seller, who is an eBay "Power Seller" with a lot of positive ratings from buyers. The seller has a number of similar 2.8 GHz refurbished Dell computers for sale as well as some 3.0 GHz models. I hope that a simple mistake resulted in the wrong unit being shipped to her. I hope that Jannet has contacted the seller and gotten the problem resolved to her satisfaction.
The other issue is the high-pitched noise she mentioned. There are a number of reasons a computer can make sounds that indicate problems. Some are serious and some turn out to be very minor.
Since the computer had just been shipped to her, I suspect that some wires in the computer had shaken into different positions. A fan could be making the sound as its fan blades hit wires. Been there, done that…