The indispensable refurbished hardware checklist

When it comes to refurbishing hardware, we’re proud to say that our rigorous processes surpass many other hardware suppliers’. We don’t just do the basics; we endeavour to exceed your expectations.

That’s why we’ve made our Q20 Promise checklist available for our customers, so you can see the extensive checks we put any refurbished system through. Once a machine arrives with us it is fully checked to ensure you are buying the highest quality refurbished equipment – and we support this with a one year warranty – proving our confidence in the systems we sell. Our Q20 Promise checklist is also available to download as a pdf.

Our processes include a full range of checks, tests, cleans and updates and our dedicated team systematically follow the checklist. It’s a failsafe 20 point tick box system – making sure your hardware is 100% fit for purpose at excellent value-for-money prices.

Your refurbished systems will look and function as if they were new, and along with our warranty, you’ll also get peace of mind. If you’ve never bought refurbished hardware before, read this 20 step process and see how you can procure top quality, fully checked products for 80% less than new equivalents. If you have bought refurbished equipment from us in the past, take a look at the list for extra reassurance and see how your products have been completely overhauled and updated.

Our Q20 Promise - the guaranteed refurbish checklist

  1. Motherboard: Diagnostic tests include DNA controller, system timer, interrupt controller, floating point and the PCI bus
  2. CPU (Processor): Cache test involving pattern, walking, read and write
  3. Memory (RAM, DIMM): Tests module seating and inversion tree
  4. Hard Disk Drive (HDD): Confidence test, device quick check, read test, seek test, S.M.A.R.T. test and verify test
  5. Optical Disk Drive (ODD): Confidence test, device quick check, read test, seek test, built in self-test (controller test, flash test, spindle test) and eject function test
  6. Portable Appliance Tested (PAT)
  7. New thermal compound applied to CPU
  8. New CMOS battery installed
  9. Motherboard ports visually checked
  10. BIOS Passwords cleared, jumper reset, reset to default settings and BIOS updated
  11. Owner/Asset tags checked and cleared
  12. System Event Log checked and cleared
  13. System Fans checked/replaced
  14. CPU Fan checked/replaced
  15. Case plastics, feet, badges, latches and side panels checked/replaced
  16. Rear PCI slot covers checked/replaced
  17. Front Plastic filler panels checked/replaced
  18. Front I/O ports visually checked
  19. Hard Disk Drive data wiped and tested
  20. Cleaned inside and outside

Read on for the science bit

Find out what we do in more detail, step by step...

  1. System software diagnosticsFirst, we plug a system into a test bench, connect it to the test network and then run loads of tests on the components. Components that we test (and the tests we do) include:
  2. Motherboard: Tests on the DNA controller, system timer, interrupt controller, floating point and the PCI bus
  3. CPU (Processor): Cache test involving pattern, walking, read and write
  4. Memory (RAM, DIMM): Tests module seating and inversion tree
  5. Hard Disk Drive (HDD): Confidence test, device quick check, read test, seek test, S.M.A.R.T test and verify test
  6. Optical Disk Drive (ODD): Confidence test, device quick check, read test, seek test, built in self-test (controller test, flash test, spindle test) and eject function test
  7. CPU Fan & System Fan(s): Tests speeds (high, low) and whether it’s functional
  8. Portable Appliance Test (PAT) We test all the electrics in the PSU for power supply and shock capabilities, both visually (checking for damaged cables/power supply problems) and then, through the ‘class 1 continuity test’, the ‘substitute leakage test’ and the functional test’, we check all those things that we can’t see by eye.
  9. A new thermal compound applied to the CPUThis compound is a kind of sticky paste/goo that we place directly onto the CPU. It allows for a more direct transfer between the CPU and the heat sink. It also prevents air gaps from forming.
  10. New CMOS battery installedThis looks a bit like a watch battery, but it’s way better. It sits on your motherboard and keeps all your settings when your refurbished machine is disconnected from power.
  11. Motherboard ports visually checkedWe make sure that the parts aren’t damaged and that all internal ports are OK for use.
  12. BIOS updatesSo that the most recent security settings apply, we clear all BIOS passwords, wipe and reset, or replace the jumper, turn on default settings and then update the BIOS. After we’re done, no-one will be getting into your machine without a screwdriver.
  13. Owner/asset tags checked and clearedWe ensure that when your refurbished machine comes to you, there’s no tell-tale signs of any previous ownership.
  14. System event log checked and clearedEvent log history is checked for any outstanding issues and then completely wiped.
  15. System fans checked/replacedThere’s nothing worse than a computer with a noisy fan, so we run, check and replace it if the noise level is irritating.
  16. CPU fans checked/replacedWe ensure that your refurbished PC, laptop or server doesn’t go into meltdown by checking that the fans are efficiently cooling the CPU.
  17. Case plastics/metals checked/replaced
  18. Feet checked/replaced
  19. Badges checked/replaced
  20. Latches checked/replaced
  21. Side panels checked/replacedFor all of the above checks we look for cracks in the casing, rust and other forms of damage.
  22. Rear PCI slot covers checked/replacedWe make sure that your refurbished system’s PCI card, etc. is up to factory standards, and if anything’s missing we’ll slot it in.
  23. Before... After...
  24. Front plastic filler panels checked / replacedAt this poin if we see anything that's obsolete, if see any optical drives, memory card slots or floppy disk drives (remember them?) we'll blank them off.
  25. Front I/O ports visually checkedWe check that all your external ports aren’t damaged and are OK to use.
  26. Hard disk drive data wiped and testedWhen you get a refurbished machine from us, we ensure that it’s as clean as a whistle, with no dirty data hiding in there at all. We use Active@ KillDisk which is a powerful application that wipes all data permanently and conforms to more than twenty international standards for clearing and sanitising data (US DoD 5220.22-M, British HMG IS5 Enhanced, Gutmann and others).
  27. The MOD uses it, so it must be good! Upon request, we can also provide you with a Data Destruction Certificate to hang on your wall.
  28. Cleaned inside and outWe use an air compressor to spring clean the refurbished system on the inside, making all the components shiny and gunk free (apart from the thermal compound that is!).

Then we use a solution to remove any badges, asset marking and any stickers – so your newly refurbished system looks (and acts) like new.

And that’s it (phew!). Like what you’ve seen? Then check out our refurb deals on the site, now. Our Q20 promise is also available to download as a pdf.