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Author Topic: Gold/etc from computers?  (Read 3735 times)
theGECK
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April 12, 2011, 03:21:55 PM
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I recently received quite a few old computers and extra components, so I'd like to figure out how to extract the gold and/or anything else valuable from them. Does anybody have advice on how to find the gold in the machine, extract it, etc?

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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April 12, 2011, 03:23:33 PM
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I recently received quite a few old computers and extra components, so I'd like to figure out how to extract the gold and/or anything else valuable from them. Does anybody have advice on how to find the gold in the machine, extract it, etc?

How many did you receive?

Copper has gone up in value a lot too don't forget about it. I'd imagine PSU's have quite a bit.

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April 12, 2011, 03:27:17 PM
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There are videos on YouTube.  Basically you need a lot of computers to make it worthwhile, especially things like processors and memory.  Gold is on the connectors of older processors and RAM chips.  Depending on what you have you probably want to extract any silver as well.  Copper probably wouldn't be worthwhile -- stripping magnet wire is difficult.  Small transformers can probably be sold on e-bay.

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April 12, 2011, 03:27:26 PM
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Never tried it, but I think in places like Africa they extract the valuable elements by melting the whole computer and removing the slag.  I presume the heavy gold would settle to the very bottom.  For a simple, and more safe option. I think the pins on the bottom of a PC chip are all gold. You could cut them off for a tiny it of gold.

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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April 12, 2011, 03:34:18 PM
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Yeah I forgot how much it sucks to strip magnet wire.
If you have a machine that can do it maybe.
My house got robbed for copper wire so I figure if people will kick your door in for it then you might get something out of a computer.

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April 12, 2011, 03:35:49 PM
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It's really not economically viable except on an industrial level.

You know those cellphone, computer, etc. recycling companies? Yeah, they are just gold recovery businesses.
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April 12, 2011, 03:37:03 PM
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It's really not economically viable except on an industrial level.

You know those cellphone, computer, etc. recycling companies? Yeah, they are just gold recovery businesses.

Yeah that's why I asked how many he received.
If it was a container load it might be worth it.
If it's 5 desktops then screw it.

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theGECK
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April 12, 2011, 07:59:48 PM
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What I'm hearing:

1) Not worth it unless I have a lot of computers, or am just killing time.
2) CPU has gold pins. Same with the RAM connectors.
3) Look at Youtube for videos. Just start searching there.
4) Don't forget about other metals, if possible.


Anything else?

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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April 12, 2011, 08:01:36 PM
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What I'm hearing:

1) Not worth it unless I have a lot of computers, or am just killing time.
2) CPU has gold pins. Same with the RAM connectors.
3) Look at Youtube for videos. Just start searching there.
4) Don't forget about other metals, if possible.


Anything else?

Look in to outsourcing it or taking them to a center that does it.
Maybe you'll get half the money with 1% of the effort.
Guessing it's not worth doing by yourself unless you've got a shit ton.

On the other hand I don't know if these guys would pay you or just act like they're doing you a favor disposing of it.

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April 18, 2011, 11:11:46 AM
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Dear There is no possibility of having something valuable from computer . You will get just Iron and plastic and nothing else which will give you low return . Gold will come after investment . 

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theGECK
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April 18, 2011, 05:00:11 PM
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What I'm hearing:

1) Not worth it unless I have a lot of computers, or am just killing time.
2) CPU has gold pins. Same with the RAM connectors.
3) Look at Youtube for videos. Just start searching there.
4) Don't forget about other metals, if possible.


Anything else?

Look in to outsourcing it or taking them to a center that does it.
Maybe you'll get half the money with 1% of the effort.
Guessing it's not worth doing by yourself unless you've got a shit ton.

On the other hand I don't know if these guys would pay you or just act like they're doing you a favor disposing of it.

I decided not to go for any gold, and just recycle them. That takes too long. I did take a few minutes and break off the spools of copper that were in the power supply before recycling. After figuring out what to do I spent ~20 minutes $.25 of copper. Definitely not worth it, but fun to do once.

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April 18, 2011, 07:14:34 PM
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The recycling businesses in developing countries, btw, can be quite nasty. Kids sorting mounds of more or less toxic waste, getting exposed to all manner of nasty fumes in the recovery process and so on.

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April 18, 2011, 08:11:59 PM
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I have a few computer parts that I keep because of the metals in them. I figured it doesn't take much room to keep a bunch of old processors around. If anything, someone with a a way to get the gold out will buy them: http://cgi.ebay.com/5-Pounds-Gold-Scrap-Computer-RAM-Processors-Non-Working-/230609930119?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35b16c4787#ht_500wt_949

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April 18, 2011, 08:36:34 PM
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I helped start a non-profit that does that with stuff that can't be re-sold (http://freegeekvancouver.org). Last week they received a cheque for $21k for stuff (esp. stripped motherboards) that they had sold for melting. Want me to find out who they sell to? There's probably someone similar wherever you are.
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April 24, 2011, 06:37:43 AM
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I saw the third largest gold mine in the world today.  And, just out of curiosity, I've been doing some reading on Wikipedia.  To get an idea of the scale of an operating mine:

The average gold amount per tonne of ore is 0.141 oz.

This is the actual mine.  There's a good aerial pic on the second page of the PDF.  For a perspective of just how massive it is, as you drive down the road in the center of the valley, the valley and the surrounding mountains look like Helm's Deep from LOTR.  This is all you see of the mine, the side of the huge piles of leach dumps, which is the small stair-step feature in the top right of the aerial pic.  Here are some pics of the pit itself.  Each stair-step is 40 ft high.

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April 24, 2011, 07:08:13 AM
 #16

hard drive plates are nickel coated aluminium.
I've always collected them as drink coasters so I have a lot Wink
and most older hard drive cases are solid aluminium. If you have the time to strip the boards and screws the price increase is almost worth it
Old CPU pins (486 and below) are all roughly 10 carat gold. The fingers (board connectors) of old PCI and ISA cards are gold plated.
If you have enough pc's to make the gold worth recovering then the scrap steel from the cases is also worth scraping.
Scraping old PCs can be very lucrative if you know what you're doing but buying the chemicals isn't worth it on a small scale. The Best thing to do is separate what you can and sell it to the professionals. you'll get more from a drum full of CPUs that a truck full of PCs.
 

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