The bidding gets furious as the listings come to a close — and all that aside, the overbidding I see (or that I perceive, anyway) is testament to the demand for used laptops, and the fact that people are willing to pay. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of these are legitimate transactions and that there are real buyers with real money behind them.
That said, new laptops generally start at $500 to $600. I can’t see ever paying MORE than that, but the $1,000 laptop is very common. In fact, Apple doesn’t have anything cheaper than that.
One of my favorite places for used gear, Geeks.com, has a good deal on laptops: A Compaq Pentium M 1.4 GHz with 512 MB RAM, 28 GB hard drive, modem and Ethernet, and XP loaded for $389. It’s probably a way better deal than a much older 300 MHz laptop for $200 … but $389 is still more than $100 … $289 more, in fact. Going down to the Pentium III realm, Geeks has a ThinkPad 900 MHz with 128 MB RAM, 20 GB hd, no OS loaded, for $249. That’s more like it … but it’s still not $100. Here’s a Dell with better specs for $279.
I love the way that a $75 purchase suddenly jumps to $100 … then $175 (I’ve seen some good ones at that price) … up to $400 … such is the evil of acquisition, one of the reasons This Old PC and This Old Mac champion making the gear you already have do as much as it can.