The first rule when
buying cheap notebook computer: All laptops are used, and generally well used.
Their batteries dead or very weak and keyboard deadened by so much pounding.
Laptops are not made to withstand a true programmer's wear and tear unless you are purchasing a top of the line rugged laptop.
The second rule when buying cheap notebook computer: Old technology. Laptops are crucial to most professionals in aspects of travel, meetings and more.
Therefore, you need the right connections, Ethernet, USB, and more or else your computer might not function at a meeting or event in which it is necessary.
Laptops are always changing with the new methods of storing data and inserting other objects into them, so you need to know what you will use it for.
One example, WiFi and firewire. A new laptop within the last year will have an updated WiFi that should be useful with all hotspots. They will also have the latest firewire and USB connections for your ipods, phones and more.
However, buy an older laptop and you might be left in the dust to spend $200 or more to upgrade and get your use laptop up to speed with technology.
Another rule is that the software will be outdated.
No new version of windows, IE, or other commonly used programs. A new computer comes standard with these features.
Whereas to purchase them separately, they cost more than the laptop costs new. So if you want a laptop buy a recently used one or just spend the extra few hundred and buy a new one.