Cheap computers are everywhere. Dell is offering some stupidly priced computer hardware at the moment, all with a view to beating the online shopping market. The point is, this isn't really conducive with an ethical, environmentally friendly solution and is simply keeping Dell gainfully employed.
Low cost computers can also mean second hand and there's a few good reasons to buying used.
1) The processing power of a used computer may not be much less than that currently on offer by the Manufacturer
2) You don't need the latest and fastest computer to produce a spreadsheet, surf the web, write emails and write letters.
3) A used computer has been road-tested. It's not going to fail on you any time soon.
There's other reasons to get a used computer, but basically, that second hand unit you've been looking at will probably do most of the things you need your IT hardware to fulfill. Even the monitor doesn't have to be new. You may think that a brand new flat screen TFT is best with lower energy consumption and a small footprint, leaving loads of desk space. A flast screen monitor may be a great solution for some, but a used CRT screen is better for gaming, graphic design and photography. They're a proven and refined technology. They offer multisync solutions, allowing you to change resolutions and refresh rates on the fly, with every resolution being native (TFTs have one native refresh rate and the rest are emulated).
A CRT is pretty much as good as a TFT when it comes to energy efficiency. There's only a few watts in it and as long as you turn everything off at the mains once done each day, you won't see a marked increase in your electrical bill. A naturally flat CRT screen will give you the added benefit of super fast refresh rates and be able to keep up with the latest games on the market- all at a very low cost.
Cheap used laptops do however have some downsides. These include the battery life and general wear and tear of the unit from it's previous owner. Saying all that, as long as it's been relatively well looked after, it'll give you a great solution for emails and writing on the move. Not only that, but if it's stolen, you won't have lost as much money.