Computer Gold Fingers

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Screen+shot+2010 12 04+at+8.48.11+PM Computer Gold Fingers

When scrapping computers you will often come across wonderful gold encrusted components. (In reality, they are only gold plated.)

These “gold fingers” are often bought by amateur chemists, who using a blend of household cleaning products and hardware appliances, refine the gold to almost .999 purity.

These gold components are, despite appearances, not “ripe” with gold. Yes, refining gold fingers is easier than refining ore, but that doesn’t mean it is “full” of gold. It will take hundreds of pounds of computers to get even close to an ounce of gold.

If you have the time and patience to collect about ten of pounds of these gold fingers, home refiners will be willing to pay you upwards of $300.  Even a pound of fingers will likely draw $30 dollars. Each pound of gold fingers usually has 2 grams of gold.

UPDATE: Due to rising gold prices, gold fingers are sold for over $70 per pound!

These scrap gold fingers are found in many high-grade electronics. For example, inside of flat screen TVs, computer motherboards, daughter boards (aka PCI boards) and in some printers.

To get the most money from these components, you need to include a detailed picture which shows how “clean” they are.

To “clean” the gold fingers, you must cut them as close to the gold plating as possible. There should be no other types of electrical components; or in other words, just gold and green.

The easiest tool for cutting gold fingers is a large paper shear, or a band saw. I prefer a paper shear because it is quick and doesn’t cause as much of a mess as a band saw. When I first started, I would cut them off with an old rusted pair of tin snips. Now I use the following method:

If you do not have a paper shear or a band saw, you can cut gold fingers like this:

  1. Find a straight edge, or a vice
  2. Stick the gold fingers in the grip of the vice, or under the straight edge, until you have a clean “break edge”
  3. Use a sharp razor blade to cut along the straight edge. (This is called “scoring”) Do this a few times with firm pressure.
  4. Crack the gold fingers off in the vice, or use a pair of pliers and break the gold fingers off, along the line you cut.
  5. loosen the grip of the vice until the gold fingers fall out.

To summarize, Gold Fingers are:

  • Refined similar to CPUs and Motherboards, except it is easier to do for amateur chemists.
  • Valued at least at 1.5 grams of gold per pound
  • Can be collected from high grade electronics: flat screen TV, computer motherboards, PCIs, printers, ect.
  • Should be “cleaned” properly if you want to get paid the best prices
  • Can be cut best with a paper shear or band saw. If neither is available, just score along the edge with a razor a few times, and break off with a vice.

For more information on scrapping a computer, hard drives, CD DVD drives, motherboards, and most any other electronics, check out How To Scrap Apart A Computer.

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony March 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Try closer to the value of $80 to $100 per pound of fingers. Average is 2.5 Grams of gold in 1 pound of fingers. Thats only 12.5 Pounds of fingers for 1 troy ounce of gold.

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The Irrationalist March 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm

@Tony Yes, I understand that that the gold in the scrap fingers is worth more than $30 per pound. But If you are not refining it, just selling them, you can't expect $80 per pound. I will however include as a footnote the gold density of the fingers.

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Anonymous June 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm

first off im glad i found this site. thanks for puttin all this info up on here. iv got a bunch of circuit boards and some of them have the gold fingers. i need to cut them off. is a bandsaw really a way to cut them off? how would i hold the circuit board still? put it in a vice?

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The Irrationalist June 16, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Yes, a bandsaw seems to be the best way, in my opinion. You would cut them off just like you would cut anything else with a bandsaw; so, no, there would be no vice necessary. My guess is that you may have bandsaw confused with sawzall? Either way, if you don't have a band saw, the next easiest way to cut them is to grab the gold fingers in a vice, score the board with a razor blade a few times, and then snap the gold fingers off in the vice. Good Luck Scrapping!

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Mealane8 May 27, 2013 at 2:29 am

I’ve found that a tin-snips works pretty well for removing these fingers (and it is probably comparatively clean this way). Of course, always remember SAFETY FIRST!
Thanks for your time!
God bless!

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Chris February 21, 2014 at 9:22 pm

I have found that the easiest way and least amount of effort is to use bolt cutters to cut the fingers off of circuit boards, ram chips, etc.

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auto rijbewijs September 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm

It’s a nice blog you have over here! It’s very usefull information for me and I just want to thank you for that! If you post more threads as this one, I’ll follow your blog active!

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Cynthia January 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

How do you go about finding a person or refinery to buy them?

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ScrapMetalJunkie January 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm

It is all dependent on how much you have, but I would suggest eBay!

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Evan January 23, 2012 at 4:33 am

Just ballpark….how many pounds of gold fingers can you usually get from a single desktop? I’m guessing less then half a pound?

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ScrapMetalJunkie January 23, 2012 at 6:01 am

more like less than an ounce. They are only found on the daughter boards. The real money in a Scrap Computer is found in the rest of the computer, mother boards, logic boards, etc.

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DTUndercover August 14, 2012 at 10:20 am

what everyone needs to keep in mind is each finger will yield less then .01 of a gram of gold… its plated on thinner then a piece of paper… the most gold is found in the cpu chips legs those are usually solid gold… you would need hundreds of comps before youd have anywhere near a oz of gold…

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jacob April 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm

hello my name is jacob an have a ?about logic bords what are they an what do they look like pleas help with this thank you jacob

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Mealane8 May 27, 2013 at 2:22 am

Whereas ScrapMetalJunkie is correct in that gold-plated fingers are only found in the “daughter boards”, there are other gold-plated materials in computers (such as “pins”) that can very well be worth salvaging. Bear in mind, however that there are MANY potentially hazardous substances inside of electronics. From my understanding, a typical computer generally contains around $10 worth of metals inside of it. Of course, servers are worth a bit more.
Thanks for your time!
God bless!

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Jin February 27, 2012 at 1:20 am

Hi! What will happen to the excess of RAM, PCI cards etc.. after cutting off the gold fingers? Can we still sell it?

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ScrapMetalJunkie February 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm

They get sold! Although I do not recommend cutting the gold fingers off of the Scrap Ram.

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Mealane8 May 27, 2013 at 2:22 am

Yes, you can still sell them.
Thanks for your time!
God bless!

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Mitch Mitchell March 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm

if you are right-handed then wear a work-glove on your left hand and grip the circuit board in your left hand. Grab a set of Chanel-lok© pliers in your right hand and working your way along the length of the connector-strip: crack the board (upwards or downwards – your preference). Having “pre-cracked” it along it’s length now you can readily snap it off in one-piece. Not a bad idea to wear eye-protection and avoid inhaling any dust generated – which is pretty minimal but nevertheless: a viable hazard. Vice-grips© will work as well but they are more tedious and not really necessary – Chanel-Loks work admirably well. Carry on!

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BOBBYBAIN July 2, 2012 at 2:16 am

ALL OF YOU /CAN STOP LIEING

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Mealane8 May 27, 2013 at 2:23 am

What are you talking about?
Thanks for your time!
God bless!

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BOBBYBAIN July 2, 2012 at 2:18 am

STOP LIEING

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BOBBYBAIN July 2, 2012 at 2:19 am

ALL YOU ARE DRUM

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rlarg October 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm

What is a drum??

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Rotech August 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm

BOBBYBAIN Are u a child or just a elementary school drop-out. U made 3 comments. Spelled Lying wrong twice & Dumb as Drum. If your gonna make random comments on websites with no purpose other than to try & annoy people you must be a very bored person or have to much time on your hands.
Grow up & spend more time playing World of Warcraft on your PC or Call of Duty on your PS3. Leave Blogs like this to grown ups that are trying to educate theirselves about topics that are a bit out of your league.

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CalcityRecyclers August 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm

What is the quality or ct of the gold once it is retrieved from the fingers?

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DRUM August 27, 2012 at 8:27 am

Damn right we are all DRUM….if i find some junk DRUMS you better believe I’m scrapping them!

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Mealane8 May 27, 2013 at 2:23 am

Thumbs up!
Thanks for your time in reading this comment!
God bless!

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Keith September 22, 2012 at 1:33 am

We have been snapping gold fingers off of boards for about 9 years now. people thought we were crazy back then. We now have the last laugh as We have a buyer in California that is currently paying $127 per lb on gold fingers. We buy them from our customers that bring them into our recycling center for $90 lb.
band saw is one of the worst ways to take these off. the best way is a pair of gutter crimpers (Lowes has them for $47 great investment) My guys can snap off a lb of fingers in about 12-15 minutes per person. We generally wait till the end of the week and we have 8-10 gaylords of boards to snap. after you snap them you can generally get in the range of $3.00-$3.50lb on the non finger boards. As the price of gold and other medals keep rising the higher the price you can get.
Thanks, American Recyclers

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sergio robin February 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Keith can you let me know what the going rat for these fingers are today>? Are they the ones that come off the RAM memory, sir?

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Mealane8 May 27, 2013 at 2:27 am

Wow!–$127 a pound for gold-plated fingers? Can you give me the name of that buyer and the address where that buyer is located? I would genuinely appreciate it. I have not found that good of a sale in electronics so far!
Thanks for your time!
Of course, I wouldn’t particularly mind selling them to you in the $100 dollar range either (for your information, I would intend to arrange postage myself).
12-15 minutes per person? Sounds like a well-paying job!
You you be interested in buying some medium/high grade boards from me? I live in Minnesota, and for the right price I would arrange shipping myself.
Unfortunately, scrap prices are a bit (especially silver) low right now.
Thanks again for your time!
God bless!

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Shane morn August 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Hello, Melanie. I have read a few of your posts and would like to speak with you about possibly purchasing material from you or recovering and refining the precious metals for a %. I also purchase ram without fingers.

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Mealane8 August 24, 2014 at 2:47 am

If you could email me at Mealane8@gmail.com, we might be able to sort something out. I live in northern MN currently, where are you at?
Thank you for your interest and kind regards!
May God bless you and yours! Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior!

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Stanley simms October 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

Hello To the courageous men and women taking a stand in their community.what are some good prices for 5 pounds of scrapfingergold.

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Mealane8 August 24, 2014 at 2:52 am

Well, it could be worth $100 or more, I am not sure for details… What prices are you getting quoted from online scrap metal buyers?
Well, thank you very much for your kind regards, and for reading!
May God bless you! Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior!

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newbiescrapper January 7, 2013 at 2:49 am

tony made the comment that there are an average of 2.5 grams of “gold” in 1 lb. of fingers and that it takes like 12.5 lb.s to get a troy ounce of “gold”.so my question is what purity is that considered like 14k ,18k, 24k thank you for your time! p.s. this site is fantastic PLEASE keep it up.

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ScrapMetalJunkie January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

The gold is only as pure as you make it. It all depends on your refining process. The gold that is plated onto the electronics is all 24k gold, but it will only come out 24k if your refining process is perfect.

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shannon March 18, 2013 at 4:38 am

First I want to say I love your site! I have a question
I have a board that has square on it and it looks gold..
It has 6 rows.

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wajid January 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm

hi guys
i am very crazy about know the method of gold recovery from computer parts i spend lot of money but still no result any body help me please i wan know the beast and reliable method of gold recovery and i have computer scrap business on small level in UAE please if any one interested in long term business relation with me please contact with me on wajidali_noor@ Hotmail.com

Regards
wajid ali

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HrtOfaLion March 10, 2013 at 1:38 am

First off, fun article to read! I’ve been doing research for quite some time now in reference to gold plated connectors and how to go about refining them. One of my biggest questions is, and this is just an example; let’s say I have roughly a 1000 grams of scrap gold plated connectors, they’re 18k and I melt them down. How much would that 1000 gram bar sell for and what would be a ballpark figure for karats?

Thanks!!

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steve April 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm

better still does anybody know how to get the gold out of the scrap i tried some hcl well it ate the copper and left the gold flake in a solution of undesolved copper chloride

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john May 5, 2013 at 8:09 am

You should look at reselling the parts before scavenging the gold. Most things on ebay sell for $1 – $20 even for things like old RAM. The reason why is, someone buys an old thing, or gets a free old thing like a printer or PC, and then they upgrade it.

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Chad May 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I have computer part to sell and can’t find anyone to buy plz call 3525863477

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Mealane8 May 27, 2013 at 2:28 am

“I have a board that has square on it and it looks gold..
It has 6 rows.”
Mind explaining this a bit further? However, if it looks gold, it probably is.
Thanks for your time!
God bless!

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Thomas May 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm

How many computers will it take roughly to get 12u pounds of finger?

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ScrapMetalJunkie June 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm

it depends on the type of computers, but I can tell you that 12 pounds of computer fingers would yield over 1 troy ounce of gold.

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Landlinejman July 12, 2013 at 6:38 am

Mealane, I won’t go $127 but I’ll go $75/lb. And I live in Minnesota too–st Paul. Get back to me here this week if you’re serious and ill get my number to you. Let’s make some loot!

ScrapMJ, what do you think of plasma cutters? Got one?

Nice blog

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steve October 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I’m just getting started in this, should I sell the boards complete, or strip the fingers or whatever I can get off the boards, ann toss the rest of the board. please help. TK U, PS what do I do with drives, electric fans, magnets, ect.

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steve October 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm

would it be better to sell whole boards, as is, or take off fingers and other parts, and toss remaing board, also what do i do with drives, fans mag. ect.

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Jo Jay October 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm

gutter crimpers term is unknown but perhaps t he same as what a tinsmith uses “visegrip” brand
upper and lower jaws are about 3 inches wide and flat, grab hold, lock and pop !!! Lock and pop.
you may have to use a straight edge on some (table) to pop off. On the long ones, pop in 2 places.
This method is real quick and easy

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sebastiao valter December 14, 2013 at 11:05 am

how much gold is in cell?

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sebastiao valter December 14, 2013 at 11:07 am

a mother board yields much gold? Thank you, I’m from Brazil I await your response.

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kami January 26, 2014 at 12:14 am

So I have just a bunch of gold that was scrapped off of the processors and ram should I just throw it away or is there any way to sell it

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ScrapMetalJunkie January 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm

You can sell it on eBay, although potential buyers will be weary to spend much money on something that has an unverified quantity of gold.

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robert April 1, 2014 at 1:22 am

I have acquired a shed here in Arizona 40×62 full of old macs IBM commodore computers . I have a box that stoves come in full of the motherboards sister boards all high grade boards . Very high grade . Realistically what kind of gold and silver recovery can I expect out of this material

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dadrules April 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

What a load of horse puckey.
This is the kind of BAD information that makes it nearly impossible to make any money. Just because some Dumb Ash paid $70 for fingers that’s not what their worth.
Next they’ll tell you that a Pentium Pro contains 1g of gold too. BS.
I’ve been scrapping since 1975. I’ve NEVER recovered more than .33g from a pentPro. It takes exactly 176 RAM board fingers to get back(approx) 1 g 24k. If you pay more than $0.18a gram for fingers you’re beyond breaking even.
Unless it’s from NASA most E-scrap IS 8/ 10k gold @1 micron= 1/100,000 of human hair.
It takes exactly 38 AMD K5-6 Ceramic to recover 1 g 24k. @$2 ea(ebay price) + chems/elect bill gas for your torch, you’ve already taken a double loss.
Green /brown fiber CPU’s $0.24 The black ones for less or not buy at all iron screws up your chems and renders them useless for further applications..
Want the most bang for your buck. Buy the 280’3/4 86′s Don’t let someone selling E proms tell their memory.
Try to offer fair mrkt value for scrap on Ebay. You’ll be abused quickly.
Go to your local Comp repair shop and bargain w/ them first. The www. geek sites can help you w/ fair prices.

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dadrules April 8, 2014 at 12:56 pm

CORRECTION.
My bad; hit send before SEEING mistake. Should read; $0.10 gram on fingers NOT $0.18. Price should be $48.80.
You’re return will be aprrox 1.2 grams of 24 karat gold. 0r $60 at todays Monex spot price

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Cyrus August 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

oh i came very late,i think am confused in this scraping of gold etc in cup n cell phone. what i really dying to know is how many grams of is in one cell phone, n how can u separate the gold plated sides before refining?

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