How To Scrap Apart A Computer

This post describes the ways one can scrap a computer to make the MOST MONEY! Computers are found in bulk at school actions, business closings, and even on Craigslist for free. This explains how to scrap the computer, check here for more info on how to scrap the monitors! When scrapping computers, VOLUME is very important. Before selling any of the gold-bearing components, wait until you have accumulated over 5-10 pounds of the stuff. This will assure you have interested buyers and therefore a very good price when selling on Ebay/to vendors.

Firstly, before scrapping a computer, make sure it is actually worthless. The truth is, any working component of a computer is worth more as a used part than as scrap. With that being said, lets look at the scrap value…

The inside of a computer is full of different types of materials, including, copper, aluminum, gold, silver, palladium, and all types of wire and transformers. Computers are broken apart into several different components:

  • The Case: This is the outside of the computer, this is almost exclusively made of steel. (Older models, and some newer server models consist of aluminum)
  • Disk Drives: including DVD/CD/Floppy disk players, each of which has a high grade board.
  • Hard Drives: Milled aluminum, stainless steel, and high grade board.
  • Motherboards: The main circuit board that hold the CPU, the RAM and the PCIs.
  • CPUs: This is the most gold concentrated part of most computers.
  • RAM: These are the “sticks” that can be pulled from the motherboard. Most have gold fingers but older models have tin fingers.
  • PCIs: These are the “mini boards” that can get pulled out of the motherboard. These also have gold fingers.
  • Power Supply: This is the box that has a big chunk of wire coming out of it.
For more info on identifying electronic scrap check out Identifying E-Scrap.

To pull these different components out of the computer, you first open  he side of the computer case. This is done by unscrewing some screws or pulling in the right places. Newer model computers are usually very easy to get into, and the older they are, the harder it is to open up. However, it is never harder than pulling out a few screws.

The first thing I do to a computer when scrapping it is cut out all the wires.

Once I have the wires cleaned out, I will pull out the CPU and the RAM, both of which appear below. The CPU is almost alway covered with a heat sink, also pictured below. The CPU has a little throw switch lever that needs to be UP to allow it to come out, as well as a strap that holds it to the heat sink. The RAM is usually secured with little plastic tabs on their ends.


How To Remove a CPU from a motherboard









The next thing I pull out of the computer is the PCIs. These can usually just get ripped right out of the motherboard. If I just give it a nice strong pull, the whole can you buy paxil online thing will get ripped out in one go. If that doesn’t work for you, there is a single screw holding it against the case that you need to take out.

PCI boards have gold fingers. The gold fingers are cut off and sold separately for a premium!  A single PCI, aka daughterboard, is pictured below along with some gold fingers:







The next thing I pull from the computer is usually the Motherboard, aka the big board screwed into the case. To liberate the motherboard, grab a trusty screw driver or power drill and take out the screws. Its pretty simple. A motherboard appears below:

Now that the motherboard is out, I usually pull out the Hard Drive and the disk drives. A hard drive appears below. There is a very small board on the bottom of all the disk drives that can be sold along with the PCIs and the motherboards. For more info on the hard drives, check out my page on How To Scrap A Hard Drive

But How Do You Sell These Components?

Everything you separated COULD be sold to a scrap yard. Hard drives, steel computer cases, and disk drives, can all be sold to a scrap yard.

But the CPUs, RAM, Motherboards, PCIs, Gold Fingers, and other gold-bearing components should all get sold online!

Be aware! Don’t take chances with online vendors! Do your research! If things don’t look good, stick with Ebay! It will always get you better prices then a scrap yard! At the very least, eBay auction bidders will undoubtedly pay you more than a scrap yard.

To sell these gold components, you will need to be patient. The goal is to hold onto everything you have, until you get a large enough quantity/volume to sell.

Sell whatever you have once you are comfortable doing so. But you need to wait until you have the right quantity before selling.

There are specialty yards that only buy and sell scrap gold components. These companies will only pay you the big bucks when you buy and sell in bulk. If you come into contact with people who offer to buy your E-scrap, be cautious. Many are looking to take advantage of small fish.

Now, your scrap should generally get grouped into separate categories of E-Scrap. Remember, the more you have, the better prices you will receive. You can sell these components in four separate lots, and do not mix the separate categories (even if it seems easier) as you will get paid much less.  The four components are:

  • Gold Fingers
  • PCI boards and Motherboards
  • CPUs (worth many different prices depending on what type they are)
  • RAM
There are may different types of computer scrap, and these four categories don’t do them justice. Talk to the e-scrap buyers out there to get their prices because, like a scrap yard, each buyer is different. The value will always depend on how much you have, who you are selling to, and how far away they are.
Please comment with any questions you have!
Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Very informative, as always.

I have 4 q's:
1. How do you cut off gold fingers? What type of tool do you use?
2. I've collected about two dozen CPUs from various computers. Some were older machines, some newer, most were desktops, one or two laptops. They are all different shapes, sizes, weight. Is there an online source that would help me sort them into different piles according to what they are worth as gold scrap?
3. Same with RAM.
4. How is a "high grade" board defined as opposed to "low grade"? I am collecting boards from HDDs, FDDs, CD/DVD drives etc — which I guess are high-grade according to your post — but what about boards pulled from routers, Dish receivers and the like, modems, printers, scanners and other computer-related electronics? Is there a strict rule of what is high-grade?

Thanks much

Mike January 10, 2012 at 4:33 am

1) Use either a band saw or, for small qty – use a those paper cutters that they have in schools.
2) Most reputable e-scrap buyers will have a price schedule for CPUs that make it easy to distinguish. there is no “one source” for the actual value. Some will, for example between green and black fiber processors, some won’t
3) High grade board is low in excess Cu (like transformers, relay, etc). It has high tin solder, lots of IC’s. Telecomm boards, mother and peripheral boards are types of high grade. As are server boards. However, cell phones have extremely high grade boards in them. HDD boards are worth more than twice PC mother board. There is no one, single defining point for high grade though.

Basically, any power board, TV board, board from low grade electronics is most assuredly low grade. That doesn’t mean it is worthless, just a fraction of the Higher board value

ScrapMetalJunkie January 11, 2012 at 12:37 am

All very good points! Thank you for your comment.

mark mwanza April 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Hi, iam from Zambia. Here we dont have a company which buys these old computers for recycling. I have been trying to for form one but i dont know where i can get the market. There so many unused computers around the country which are thrown carelessly by the owners. Can someone partner with me.

Jerome Young February 22, 2014 at 12:20 am

hey there! my name is Jerome but you can call me Rome. I recently read an old post about being from Zambia where many people throw computers put and you where asking for a partner ?

I may be late but I hope im not too late and im interested please contact me when your free.

The Irrationalist January 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm

1) A bandsaw would work best! If you don't have a bandsaw, try scoring with a box cutter then breaking off. Do NOT cut any fingers off the RAM, or the CPUs. I'm sure you knew that, but I have seen some pretty funny things on Ebay.

2) You should look at the different markings on the top off the CPUs. There are Pentiums, Athions, ect… Maybe you could cross reference what you have with the ones listed on Ebay….

…But, that being said, there are generally TWO main groups that CPUs can be sorted into: FIBRE and CERAMIC. The ceramic CPUs are heavy and brittle. They are more valuable because they have more gold and are easier to refine. The Fibre CPUs are the ones that are very light and thin. They are usually green. If you send me a picture of the chips front and back, I may be able to tell you more.

3) All RAM is worth the same amount. dont cut anything off of ram, just sell it as it is.

4) High Grade Boards have precious metals like gold palladium, silver maybe tantalum. The easiest way to tell you have a high grade board, is to look for gold plated components. Anything out of a HDD, FDD, CD/DVD is a high grade board. Most printers i think have high grade boards. Also, flat panel tvs have high grade boards in them. If there is no gold, it is a low grade board. Low grade boards are the types of boards you would find in a stereo or a VCR, or a computer monitor.

I hope that helps; I will try to post more specifics soon! Good Luck!

Jerome Young February 22, 2014 at 12:25 am

hey, shot in the dark but was wondering if you could help me I would be willing to snap some photos of computers, Hoping you could help me out with my questions retaining to scrap value of them or gold value and what not.

Anonymous January 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I'm so glad I found your blog. Thanks for showing how you break stuff down. I am now a part time scrapper because of what I learned from your articles, and I am amazed at how much stuff people throw out. I can't wait until spring cleaning time!

Big Martha February 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

This is the best info I've found so far. We own a small computer shop and are constantly getting asked if we recycle old computers. There is only one center in our county that will recycle, and folks are fined if they throw these items out with their regular waste. I've got the space….now to make the time!

Anonymous February 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

what is a "heat sink" I am confused by this. is it worth something or is it just scrap metal for shred. Could you direct me to a photo of one. thanks for your help.

BGR October 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm

A heat sink is the aluminum piece that sits on top of the CPU and often has a fan connected to it. You will usually have to pry these off to recover the CPU.

The Irrationalist February 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm

@Big Martha Thank you very much for the support! I hope you share what you have found with others, but most importantly I hope you make money from this previously un-tapped source of profit.

@Anonymous A heat sink is a metal piece (most commonly made of aluminum, but in many laptops is made of copper or brass) whose sole purpose is to "suck" the heat off of components that get hot. For example, the chunk of aluminum that is stuck on many modern CPUs is designed to draw the heat that it creates. Often times a fan is on top of the heat sink to make it even more effective at cooling. In the pictures in my above post, you can see heat sinks. For example, behind the RAM in the first two pictures is a brass colored aluminum heat sink.

As for the value of a heat sink, it is worth the price of whatever metal it is made of. Copper>brass>aluminum.

I hope that helps! 😀

Anonymous February 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm

is there any value in the low end boards? Should I try to sell them or what do you recomend?

piscean June 7, 2014 at 9:21 am

low grade boards aren’t worth but a little more than shred a pound. You should take all big aluminum, copper off and electric motors they will give you more a pound for those.

The Irrationalist February 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm

@Anonymous Thanks for the question! YES! There is value in the low grade boards… IF you can figure out who to sell them to. I dont think they fair very well on eBay, but some recyclers who specialize in electronics will buy them for like 2x shred price. I have never sold to a place like that, however.

If there is visible copper containing components, aka transformers, inductors, or aluminum heat sinks, you can pull all of those off of the board and break them up for profit. That usually is too labor intensive for the money you make, and in third-world countries they often make children do it. 🙁

a March 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I would argue, at least here in the UK, that amazon nets better prices than ebay. Listing is more restricted on amazon though.

Thomasz Abbott January 31, 2017 at 2:26 pm

I’m not to comment on the prices and rates gained from Amazon compared to eBay and imagine you are correct, but I know it’s 10% on eBay and Amazon 20% sales charges so watch out – it may not balance out in the seller’s favour!

Best of luck to you.


Anonymous April 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm

This is semi off topic but I have noticed local e-scrappers have been collecting wireless routers, what value do these have the board cant be valuable is it?

The Irrationalist April 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

The boards are at least as valuable as high grade boards because all of the ones I have come across have gold in them. So, yes, wireless routers can be sold for scrap gold reclamation, which makes them much more valuable pre pound then shred steel.

Anonymous April 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Hey, thanks for the prompt reply. I recovered a linksys wireless router and disassembled it and while looking at the board I cant see any gold what so ever or anything of value. Maybe you can help, heres a picture of the board. Any help would be really appreciated.

And is my best bet sending these in to recover the precious metals? Thanks again your blog is helping a ton of us newbies out.

The Irrationalist April 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Thanks for the pic! I would like to back peddle a bit. In my original response to you, I said, "all of the ones I have come across have gold in them" What I really ment to say was, "all of the ones I have come across are high grade boards and contain precious metals"

While there most likely is a small amount of gold plating on the connectors there you plug in LAN cables (the tin boxes at the top of the picture) the real value of that high grade board is from the MLCCs (Multi layer ceramic capacitors) that are all over the board. They contain Palladium, which is worth about 1/3 the price of gold. Anybody who is refining HIgh Grade BOards is buying them to also pull out the Palladium, so that (along with the extremely small amount of gold I'm guessing is on the connectors) is what makes it a high grade board.

I have included a link to a magnified picture of a MLCC for you to reference. All of the little boxes with the brown stripe in the center and the tinned sides are all MLCCs.

Thanks for the great question, and follow up. I'm glad to help you out! Please share this site with anybody that would like it!

Good Luck Scrapping!!!

trying to decide February 3, 2012 at 4:25 am

About how many desk tops would I have to scrap to sell to make $100.

ScrapMetalJunkie February 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm

This is a great question, but it is also very complex. Each computer is different, every scrap metal buyer pays different prices, and depending where you are sending your pm scrap to, it could cost you for shipping.

If you have whole computer desktops, they should be no more then 8 to make 100 dollars, and maybe as few as 3 or 4.

C T May 20, 2011 at 4:39 am

oh yeah another question – what do you do with the power supply unit?


David May 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

Who ever owns this blog created a big help for everyone (individuals and companies alike). I work in a computer repair and maintenance service company here in San Diego, CA. I see that our scrap computers are not being disassembled as you have indicated here and therefore we are not geting the right moeny for our scraps. Our recycler are just buying everything as scrap which is like a penny per lb. Now that I read your blog, this will defenitely help me in getting more money for the company. I am the Purchasing Manager and I am in-charge of this matter here in our company. If anyone out there or maybe anybody who knows somebody in the San Diego, CA area that can properly disassemble a computer (how much is the rate per day) or maybe a scrap buyer, please contact me at

Thanks again for all your help.

LOGAN RANCH June 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm

what do you do with the power supply box??

Scrap Metal Junkie June 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm

In response to the power supply questions:

Power supplies are very rich in copper and aluminum, and are ideal to sell for copper breakage. My scrap yard will buy them as transformers. Check it out: Scrap Power Supplies And Transformers

Anonymous June 17, 2011 at 3:00 am

Thanks for all the great info, Irrationalist. I just started scrapping a couple of months ago and I haven't cashed anything in yet, but I'm having a damn good time ripping stuff apart and even more fun going thru the astounding assortment of stuff people throw away.
Question: Are the scrap PCBs from computers, TVs, VCRs, etc still saleable if they are broken into pieces? sometimes I'm not too delicate when removing the good stuff. Are they even worth anything after I've already yanked off all the gold, copper and aluminum?

eric August 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Hi Irrationalist. The thing I have been trying to figure out is what the people on eBay do with the stuff after they buy it? I’m an IT Manager, and I’ve sold some scrap stuff on eBay and got pretty good prices for it. BUT, I figure that if I sell scrap RAM to someone for $15/lb, it has to be worth at least $30/lb to them, or they wouldn’t be buying it. So, the question is, what do THEY do with it after they buy it?

tom August 25, 2011 at 1:54 am

How about gaming boards (ps3 xbox360)? Are they considered high grade boards?

ScrapMetalJunkie August 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm


Although I suggest you sell PS3 and Xbox 360s that are broken on eBay or Craigslist whole; there are many repair shops that rebuild them or use them for parts.

Tony September 8, 2011 at 2:04 am

Is the wiring worth anything as scrap? There’s a lot of power supply wiring, ribbon cables, serial connectors, so on and so on.


meganathan September 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm

i have around 80(eighty) old computers with can i know how to scrap and sell them, and let me know how much would i get if i scrap and sell….pls suggest me some ideas

Layne September 19, 2011 at 2:19 am

It’s a little bit labor-intensive, but you just have to get in there and take them apart. There are quite a few different types of metals that you can recycle out of them. Personally, I would try craidgslist to see if someone local would want to pick them up for a price – it’s hard to justify the time it takes to take it all apart …

Jeff Edwards September 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Do you disassemble all of your HDD’s and power supplys? I ask since it is not cost effective to pay shipping especially for power supplies at .41 cents a lb. to Or maybe I am missing something? I have about 80 lbs of power supplies ready to go but can’t figure how I am going to make any money on them. Thanks for your board! It has helped me tremendously… Jeff.

ScrapMetalJunkie September 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I don’t disassemble the HDDs, but I do pull off the logic boards. As for the Power Supplies, my scrap yard buys those at 25¢ per pound, so I just sell to them as is.

If you already cut the wires off of the power supplies, then you may have a hard time selling them as more then light iron. You should only expect to get between $8-$25 for the 80 lbs of power supplies. But never tear apart the power supplies further then cutting off the wire. It’s a waste of time.

kiet October 18, 2011 at 4:19 am

man i love this F’n Site!!! im just starting to scrap comps and found you guys a tremendous help. to everyone doing this too GL, I have been going door to door asking people for old computers, and am in the process of making fliers but, does anyone have any other suggestions to get more comps? sorry im addicted!!! haha GL ALL

ScrapMetalJunkie October 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Me and you aren’t just scrap happy, we are scrap crazy! Scrap LOCO! My boots have a steel toe, and I keep a magnet on my keychain.

I eat, breath, and sweat scrap metal. I sing songs about scrap metal in the shower
I brush my teeth with aluminum heat sinks, and floss them with copper wire.
I break down scrap metal like it’s a child’s game
all the local scrap yard workers call me by my last name.
I sell more metal then an automotive plant,
I make more dough
then a baker’s mixing bowl.
I drive routes and buy ads,
I pick trash and find brake pads.
I think buried treasure looks like brass,
and wonder where the coppers stashed.
On the freeway I see a car crash
and wonder what the metal’s worth in cash.
My scrappin’ trucks so beat up it conjures ghosts of a junkyard
And my scrap yard happily sends me birthday cards
Before I leave a party, I take all the empty beer cans with me
because when I drink the urge to scrap starts to hit me
walk past a corner where a homeless man’s sitting
don’t have my wallet, but drop him a brass fitting
I spend my free time writing on ScrapMetalJunkie
Showing scrappers how to sell their scrap metal for money!

Atom Wine January 24, 2012 at 4:00 am

i hope that magnet you keep with you is a rare earth

Highway walker Steve April 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Dude you just described me to a T i totally understand everything you just said . “The world is a gold mine to those who can see it and the rest of em can just go to work where else do you find job security like a dumpster route or a roadside ahahha you dont!!! peace brother happy gathering!!!

kiet October 20, 2011 at 3:12 am

hey i was wondering if theyre is anything i can scrap off of printers?

Allan October 29, 2011 at 7:29 am

Hey there, thanks for the great info on here….
I know this is slightly off topic, but was wondering if there is anything worth salvaging from a VCR? I was going to just strip it for parts originally , then came across your page, whilst doing research on the components… Thanks very much …
Have attached pic of VCR

ScrapMetalJunkie November 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

VCR’s do not have any of the valuable components that Computers do. The most valuable scrap in your VCR is the copper wire, which is worth $1.50 per pound. I’m guessing, even if you disassembled all of the components fully, and sorted them for maximum gains, as scrap metal this VCR is worth a maximum of $4.

Al Bundy November 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Hey I was wondering if all of Peg’s ol broken toys have anything valuable in them.

oldcompjunkchick November 28, 2011 at 5:04 am

Through out the years I have been building / collecting computers

I have a bunch of old desktop , compaq , ibm, various gateways mid tower style computers / motherboards , I find this website fascinating and it is good to see that with creative simplistic techniques there is some money in these old junk boards .

Lastly I wish there was a person who would buy my whole motherboards and junk computers , parts etc…

Mr. Rich December 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I loooove metal! I honestly dream about scrap from time to time, my obsession for scrap has caused difficulties in my relationship with my girlfriend, almost paralyzed my little brother, and recently contributed to the arrest and possible deportation of a childhood friend… and have learned valuable lessons which will improve the practice of my obsession in the future with out harm,I pray…I just wanted to thank you guys for the valuable info and relay my pleasure at finding my flock, May Almighty God smile upon all your endeavors.

Mr. Rich December 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I will be scraping a supercomputer housing(huge- two trailers full, all from one computer) today and was wondering if any of the housing might contain precious metal besides ss and Al??? and of course copper from left over wiring, the hardware and such has already been removed, this is all just housing and internal structure questions, THANK YOU.

ScrapMetalJunkie December 12, 2011 at 7:42 am

I couldn’t tell you without seeing and testing the stuff. You may have luck asking around in the forum.

Noobie December 7, 2011 at 2:45 am

How much does one usally get for a computer after torn to bits n pieces?

ScrapMetalJunkie December 12, 2011 at 7:39 am

It depends entirely on what type of computer it is. It takes experience.

Nancy December 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm

How would you scarp low grade boards? that is what the srap yard calls them i have about 60 of them got them out of tv’s and monitors. thanks

ScrapMetalJunkie December 12, 2011 at 7:37 am

The low grade boards are worth regular scrap price at most scrap yards. That is usually about $200 per gross on. Best of luck.

scott johnson January 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

can i scrap broken low grade boards out of a tv

ScrapMetalJunkie January 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Yes! You can definitely sell the scrap low grade boards out of scrap TVs. They have scrap copper and scrap aluminum, and a whole cocktail of salvageables. It doesn’t matter that they are broken.

Mitch McGee January 23, 2012 at 3:52 am

I was wondering about the little metal bars inside the cd-rom drives what kind of metal are they? If they are carbide then they would defiantly be worth saving.

ScrapMetalJunkie January 23, 2012 at 6:02 am

They are not made of carbide. I’m guessing they are made of some type of steel.

Philip Pero January 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I run a computer repair shop. I just wanted to say thank you for the info. I have an entire back room full of old computers. Yay for me and scraping all this junk. Thanks again!

UnitedTokers January 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Thanks so much. I have learned a lot from this forum. I am a full time scrapper/picker. Although I scrap more than computers. I will scrap any ferrous or non ferrous materials that I can lay my hands on. Just getting into selling computer gold scrap though and I have learned A LOT here in the forum. Thanks so much. Have a good day scrapping junkies!!

ScrapMetalJunkie January 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Thanks for the warm comment! It alway makes my day knowing the Scrap Metal Junkie community has come through to help a fellow scrapper. Best of luck!

SCRAPPINKIDD February 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I started with the cell phones but now i scrap computers also. my question is is their anything out their that myself or anybody else can get or learn to take the gold out of these boards and fingers at home to cut out the middle man and make more money for ourselves. Any kind of kits or something like that. Cause the most of the phones i have torn apart thier is alot of gold on them. And how do you tell the difference in the silver and other metals apart? I know the dif. in copper,gold,brass and aluminun. What about the rest? Thank you very much. KIDD

Daniel de la Torre August 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm

To answer your question there are ways to extract metals from your boards but you would have to pull air quality permits and other real hard to get permits to even get started. The best way to cut the middle man out is to go direct to a secondary smelter the thing there is you have to wait 30-45 days to get paid for your items, you also would need a minimum of 3,000 lbs of mixed boards. The process is you ship, they process, they sample, they assay, they present, and you get paid. Your average all depends on the mix of boards your supply. If you have all low grade boards expect less if you have a good mix expect a higher return.

Ian February 15, 2012 at 12:29 am

hello i was wondering if ram is worth very much. i bought a whole bunch of old plasma tv s and computers from this computer tech and i so far have about 5 pounds of old ram, and maybe two pounds of old processors some marked windows 95 and a really huge one that says intel pro. And how mych do disk drives often bring cause i have 500 to 1000 pounds of those already its ridiculous. and where would be in your opinion the best place to sell the disk drives and whats a good price or bad price? and as far as the plasma tv s i dont know what to do with them because they have glass on the front and i dont know if thats going to be more of a mess than anything, Thanks ian

Evan February 17, 2012 at 3:07 am

There is gold in cell phones thats for sure, but not everything that looks gold is.. Most cell phones are gold plated components that can be refined back as almost pure gold…but there are many dangers chemicals and procedures. In the research I have done armature chemists prefer to buy clean cut gold fingers in bulk for decent money, I guess the gold in the fingers is easiest and safest way to get almost pure gold back. Look on YouTube search refining e scrap. Pretty interesting stuff just looks a little more dangerous then the normal scrapping

Paul March 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I was just wondering if i missed it in the posts or articles somewhere, but when scrapping a motherboard or other circuit board what components do i remove and which do i leave on example the capacitors, etc

ScrapMetalJunkie March 8, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Each buyer of scrap motherboards is different in what they require you to remove; but typically, unless they ask you specifically to take something off, thy will buy them as-is.

Michael Hagedorn March 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm

I am pretty new to e-cycling. Me and my wife jumped into it head first on a pretty big scale for just two people in the mountains of NC. Small towns, counties that have 10000 people. We carry stores and do the good deed of hauling out their trash. We pull atleast 1500 2000 pounds bi weekly to every week.”not broke down” I steadily research the next best buyer. We travel if needed for the right prices. If it sounds to good to be true, It is! Get there and want to haggle over prices after we drive 300 miles. There is always someone who will give you better prices. We stay in touch with diffrent LARGE volume e cyclers. We’ve had business proposals sent from refineries. To many bad stories. Stay on top of the metal prices, stay on top of each catagory boards, processors which are the hardest so many kinds, ram, pc cads momems etc. From diffrent buyers!!!! That way you know whos telling the truth. It seems to me that everything ends up north. Best prices I’ve heard is SOUTH FLORIDA. Like I said I’m always looking for a new buyer contact us Just search for the best prices and you will fall into your own little gold mine!!!!!!!

chris ryant March 17, 2012 at 3:55 am

HI again, i just found and took apart a flat screen computer monitor. I can’t seem to find any info on them. It looks like some high grade board in it and i wonder if the film is the silver type like the x-ray film is ?

Joshua March 20, 2012 at 2:13 am

On tv, computer, and other borads do you pull off the copper or aluminum or steel or self the boards like they are????? And does it matter if the boards are broke or cracked????

ScrapMetalJunkie March 20, 2012 at 2:55 am

It doesn’t matter if the boards are broken or cracked… If there are aluminum heat sinks, then you can pull them off; otherwise, you can sell them with the heats sinks on…

Adnan December 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I want to sell scrap, you mentioned eaelier that you have a scrap yard, Do you purchase scrap? if yes, Please send your purchasing rates.

Robin March 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I have a question about removing the gold connector pins. At first, I thought the whole connector would come off by prying it. I was wrong! Prying it only made the plastic break. The gold pins remained on the board. I’ve been having to snip the pins off.

Is this the only way to remove the gold pins?

Thank you.

Titan Computers April 11, 2012 at 7:06 am

We have just started a business in the E-recycling industry and was wondering how to find large scale buyers. I would love to find a foundry to directly sell to. We are located in the northerns suburbs of Chicago.

I appreciate any and all tips.


Daniel de la Torre August 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I am a large scale buyer shoot me an email and I can help you.

skrap it April 20, 2012 at 8:02 am

I have hunted metal for 12 years, when a ton of Iron would bring $40, and in three dif states. I have always seperated my precious, and was told by old timer that computers, boards and what not, would pay $7000.00 if all torn down and put in a 4’x4’x8 container and taken to plant in N. Carolina.. Fact or Fiction?

ScrapMetalJunkie April 20, 2012 at 11:46 am

Fact! Just read the above article! It outlines all of the stuff in a computer. Each type of computer component have different values, and the motherboards specifically are the type of components worth that much per ton.

Ton hong May 2, 2012 at 4:04 am

I own an operate a small computer store. I just collect all my parts and send them to I drove there once before i started sending but over all very please. i get $8 a lb for ram stick. There are a few things i scrap here locally buy for boards and parts…..thanks for all the great info on this site!!!!!

carol May 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I shipped around 30lbs of mother boards,processors and comm boards. most of which where from the 80’s to middles 90’s. I only received $17.40 for all that scrap from Cash For Electronic Scrap USA. I’ll never deal with them again. Don’t get drawn in by their promises.

ScrapMetalJunkie May 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Thy are crooks, no doubt. If you don’t know what price they will pay you upfront, then you should never sell to them. cash for electronic scrap usa is a subsidiary of cash4gold, and is just as untrustworthy. My condolences.

matt cotner May 15, 2012 at 1:13 am

do you break down your harddrives are do u sale them whole? is there a decent place in nc to sell to? im in winston salem area. what do you do with disk & floppy drives? the boar in them looks to be mid grade?

ScrapMetalJunkie May 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm

It all depends on what type of operation you can or want to run. There is more moey to be made from your scrap if you can tear them down. If you only have a small amount of them, then the amount is almost negligible. I dont know any yards in your area, but I did do a whole write up on hard drives here: Scrap hard Drives.

Harvey Anston May 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I did scrap4treasure and, among other things am interested in the silver in microwave magnitrons. Do you have a piece on that?

Pete from Buffalo May 18, 2012 at 2:04 am

Aloha. I’m a novice self-taught computer repair/builder. I’ve stacked up a sizable amount of scrap on the premise that the hippie in me can’t throw out stuff with hazardous materials. I knew they had gold too, but didn’t realize how much. First, thanks for having this site. Second, a couple of questions.

1) You say that working ram should be sold as ram. Is there a cut off? Who would want 64mb sticks of SD anyway? Anything contemporary I try to put in a build and dump off, so most of my ‘junk’ is DDR under 512 or lower/older. Should I still try to sell this as working? Same question applied to PSUs vs wattage/connections.
2) You seem to know some sites to avoid (and presumably some besides ebay that are good). Could you list a few notorious scoundrels to avoid and honest companies to take a look at?

Cheers and thanks.

Matt January 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm

If they were 64MB 72pin Simms, there might be a market, but I think pretty much anything under 512MB for DDR is pretty much scrap. If you had a bunch of 256MB sticks, you might get $3-$4 each in bulk (lot of 4 or 8 or so).

Socket 478 CPUs are pretty much worthless unless you have some of the 3.0 Ghz ones. Even the 775 sockets unless they are core 2 (and even those are approaching $10 each) are rapidly losing value.

I had a defective AGP video card (artifacts on the screen) and found it had a bulging capacitor. I replaced it and the video is perfect. These cards tend to sell for $75 since they are rare (its a 512MB). I paid $2 for it and with about 15 minutes of my time is worth significantly more.

Barry June 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Hi there. I am very new to the scrapping scene after trying to find a way to make extra money. It first popped into my head whilst I was listening to a conversation about the increase in copper wire theft, and my head started to wonder about all the power cables that are around and how much of that was copper. Anyway, I obviously ended up finding this site whilst exploring the concept. It’s amazing just how ‘under your nose’ this is, and how many people don’t think twice about it.

So last night I decided to break down an old laptop I had, and now I have some questions as to what things are.

1) The heatsink.
I removed the heatsink from the laptop and was intrigued to find that it had what looks like copper fins inside (much like the construction of a car radiator). Although not bright orange like copper wire, but a lot more lighter (pics are linked below). Is this copper?
an describe
2) Also heatsink.
Along the top of the heatsink ran two flat tubes. These again look like copper. But they are very soft. I was able to snap them in two like chocolate. The only way I can describe them is that inside they look like ‘Aero’ chocolate bars that we have in the UK, full of air (bubbles). Again, I’m not sure what these are.
3) Heatsink again.
On the underside of the heatsink was a large 1 inch by 1 inch copper block. I’m pretty sure it is copper due to the slight green discolouration it has on the edge. I removed this and it must weigh 30 grams!! However, its not clean. It has solder on it and some blackness on the surface. Any suggestions on how to clean it up.
4) Nothing to do with heatsinks…(finally)
This is a general question. Are the pins in RJ11 plugs gold plated? These may seem like a waste of time to remove if they are, but my mind just keeps thinking about the possible supply of these and after a while, it will add weight.
5) High grade boards.
This is confusing me a little. How can I tell if a board is high grade? For example, I gathered two very flimsy boards from the laptop that were attached to the screen. These have looooaaaadddssss of gold connectors on them, but the are not very big (12 inchs long by 3 inchs wide). To me they look high grade, but are they, as they are not heavily populated(?) like a motherboard.

Anyway, that’s enough for now, look forward to hearing some responses.

Link to pics

ScrapMetalJunkie June 18, 2012 at 2:01 am

Hello barry!

I appreciate your curiosity and excitement! Comments like this are wonderful to read! I’ll try to answer your questions as best as I can, and feel free to follow up if you have other questions or need clarification:

1) You are correct! The orange colored metal is copper with a clear laquer coating to prevent corrosion. Copper is used in CPU heat sinks, especially in laptops, because it is one of the best thermal conductors. (this i also why high end pots and pans will have copper bottoms.)

2) This is copper. I cant say why it looked like chocolate, but it could have something to do with the particular heat treatment which the alloy went through in order to make it better conducting of heat. As far as scrap value goes, it is worth as much as any other scrap copper.

3)The copper doesn’t need to be cleaned up, and doing so will not increase it’s salvage value. But if you want to clean it up for some other reason, wash it with some hot sauce.

4)The plug pins are not always necessarily gold plated, but 9 times out of 10 they are. If you are already collecting gold plated connector pins, than you can cut these off and save them too.

5)High grade is an arbitrary term used for boards that contain salvageable precious metals. If you see gold anywhere on your board, than it is most likely high grade. “high grade” can mean very different things to many different people, so its always important to include pictures and samples whenever any deals are being made

Best of luck, and thank you for the comment!

Barry June 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Just a follow up to my last post….

I am not condoning or suggestion that I am moving into the field of copper theft. It was purely the spark of my thought process. My thoughts moved onto all the waste electrical stuff that people are throwing away and removing the power leads for the copper wiring. This shows how much I knew about the subject. Now I’m talking high grade, bright, populated and Neodymium magnets. And its sites like this (mainly this one) that has expanded my understanding. Thank you for the excellent content…

Angie September 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm

How do you scrap the battery backup unit? Is there more there than just the battery?

Helen September 14, 2012 at 3:02 am

Angie – There is a battery in the unit that can be sold separately. There is also wire harness, a power supply, and a large transformer. Please be sure to disconnect the battery wires before cutting into anything (You will get shocked if there is any juice left in the battery).
I usually take all the screws out and then you can slip the outer cover off. You should then remove the cable fro the battery cables before taking everything else apart.

Scott Vogler October 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

This seems like a really interesting hobby. Do you have a youtube channel?

Mike Ong October 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I appreciate of you can advice how mush gold there is in a desktop computer as compare to a computer server ? Are these servers internal has more gold than a desktop. For example a server chassis containing 10 Blades each with dual cpu and an array fully populated with RAMS ?

jeff October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm

what about the plugs on the end of the usd and serial cables? they seems to have either gold or brass contacts. is there anyone buying these?

Paul Kiley October 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm

SMJ – Great site, thanks for the tips. What do you do with 100lbs. of NiCad and Lithium Batteries?

Jimmie Johnston November 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I’ve been scrapping for a few weeks now, I’ve got the bug and am doing well profit-wise. 🙂
I’m looking at a lot of 56k modems right now and I’m interested in knowing the best way to scrap them. Obviously the gold fingers, but I’m wondering if all the chips have palladium, and if i pull the fingers, chips, and brackets from the boards, will someone buy the remaining boards in bulk, as many of these show a lot of what I believe is gold circuit inlay.
Also, has anyone dealt with and if so, how was it?

Very happy to be here, great info on your site!

Cheryl Moore December 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I have about 1500lbs of rack mount servers and accumulated parts and peripherals and another 500lbs of sealed lead acid batteries that I would like to salvage.

My first thought is to disassemble everything to their component level (i.e. not cut finger boards or disassemble power supplies) and sort and weigh these things and sell them on ebay or craigs list.

Rather than deal with craigslist or ebay I would rather deal with a recycler that offers fair prices. Anything in the Mid Atlantic region?

omo January 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

How do I know if a motherboard contain gold. What’s the price for one kg of high grade board and one kg of phone motherboard. I need names and address of buyers who can partner with me,I reside in Africa,Nigeria. I can make a good supply.

JERRIS February 1, 2013 at 3:42 am

I Love your wonderful educational info. you are truly a wonderful person to take so much time to help people make money in these Hard times and keep the land fills cleaner . My problem is I dont know the difference between a heat sink, a bracket, a fin from a doodel squat, but I know I have a lot of them. I have always loved to take things apart and I am an avid enviromentalist. I have been collecting electrictronics for a long long time and would love to have CLEAR INDIVIDUAL PICTURES of valuable parts. I have gone on line to see the pics shown but they are still not clear to me. I have been taking all the cooper wire, the gold fingers, the fans and the speakers off everything and storing them. I usually take the magnet off the speakers just because I love magnets and use them to test other metal items I sell to the local scrap yard to see what is just plain dirty metal. Are speakers more valuable left intack, is there a market for them? Is there a web site I can go on to get CLEAR individual pictures of each part that can be salvaged, with info on what metal is in each one? I have large trash cans of computer, tv, cell phones, portable phones, printers etc. boards I have striped as much as I know how,but judging from your site, There must be a lot more I could do if I could figure out what is being discussed. I am a 64 year old woman with lots of time on my hands but my girls call me a tec virgin,LOL, and they are right. Is there any info you could give me to help me increase my income with this ? Your information would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Broox May 28, 2013 at 4:38 am

Thanks for all your educational scrapping posts with accurate values & estimates! — with that, you’ve added a lot of practical knowledge value to the community! Seriously, thank you for informative, complete, non-cheesy posts!

Krisa June 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I have an old grid model 2260 laptop computer. I think it works, just outdated. I was wondering if it is worth anything? Thanks.

Dave August 1, 2013 at 2:15 am

Hi People!
I didn’t see this in the article or comments but how much of each of the 4 categories of items do i want to collect before i list them on ebay?
(Gold Fingers; PCI boards and Motherboards; CPUs ; RAM)
Thanks !! Looking forward to this !!

steve October 13, 2013 at 3:16 am

I’m just getting started in this. Please tell me , you first take a comp. apart do you cut the fingers off eveything, or kept the boards whole to sell, or will boards sell without fingers

Johnny Boy November 4, 2013 at 3:46 am

Great information. I’m not interested in reselling nor doing any of these GOOD suggestions discussed because I’ve already purchased a new desktop. What I did do with my old one was taken apart (easy to do) and see all the parts, etc described. What I would like to know is about the “toxic battery” part. I briefly read another topic that clearly mentioned in bold “do NOT throw the battery in trash because it is toxic and dangerous…What do I do with it if I don’t want it and want to make sure I dispose properly please?
Also, is there any other “toxic areas” I should be careful not to just dump in garbage?
Thanks again

Matt January 31, 2014 at 12:29 am

I’d say a good place for the battery (about the size of a quarter) is just drop it in one of those boxes where they recycle cell phones.

Matt December 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Funny thing is…no one evens mentions about selling the scrap as functioning parts. Something that might be worth $2 as scrap might be worth $50 functioning…and it might only take 10 minutes to test.

Chris January 29, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Thanks for your informative article. The forum is offline? I was hoping to ask on the forum but will ask here.

Would 4 cases be enough to scrap locally? Can you give an estimate for amount I’d get for 3 mini towers and one full tower? I don’t know if it’s worth the effort for just $6 after gas.

I have 4-5 computers without hard drives (and a pile of hard drives but I have to go through them first). I know you said to wait until you have 5 lbs minimum. Or you meant I need 5 lbs of just RAM? Do you think I would have enough to eBay? I have some old PCMCIA modems and maybe other miscellaneous to throw in. On eBay they wouldn’t mind that it’s a mixture – like 8 RAM chips, 10 gold fingers, 4 CPUs, and 4 motherboards? I know ideally I’d wait and obtain more, and I’m considering that but I have so little space right now. Really appreciate any replies.

Matt January 30, 2014 at 9:04 pm

RAM might get you $12 lb. If there are 1GB sticks in there, you might get $20 just for the pair. Got a video card in there? Depending on what it is, you might get $15-$50, or $3 as scrap.

I bought 300 sticks of RAM at a scrap yard for about $600 and have been selling them for $6-$9 a stick on ebay. They were happy to sell me the RAM for more than they got for scrap.

matt cotner January 31, 2014 at 12:19 pm

if anyone on hear would like speak with a buyer in person feel free to call me. we are located in central n.c & buy e-scrap via shipping are in person. We are currently paying 2.50 per lb on motherboards across the board. ram is at 11.00 per lb & most boards are at 2.50 per lb cd drive,mid grade telecomm, etc. I can be reached at 336-776-8389 Triad Ecycle. Thanks

Travis March 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

i have a large lot of items, looking for a buyer please email me and i will send pics. Thankyou

matt cotner March 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

shoot me some pics to

Jenny June 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I have an old computer and old laptop that both do not work. Is it really worth scraping???

Toby O July 31, 2014 at 1:12 am

If you can pull them apart and sell the working parts you’ll get a bit more than if you sell to a scrap yard.

Matt July 31, 2014 at 10:22 pm

You got that right! I occasionally find some strange card in a computer and sold them for upwards of $100. You’ll never get that just tossing the parts into a bin.

Ben September 3, 2014 at 9:22 am

A motherboard is NOT aka “the big board screwed into the case.” Nobody says that.

Donald creel March 17, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Thks. I had no idea untill i saw some mother boards at scrap yard. I sell scrapmetal as a hobbie and extra cash. So ya iy learned a lot. Would like to learn more. Most people wany tell you any thing about this life style. Msg me if you have time.

Matt March 20, 2017 at 11:33 am

A motherboard sold as scrap is worth maybe $5-$7. A motherboard sold as working on ebay is worth $40-$300. Granted, its a bit more worth to test and sell it there, but if you can make $200 for an hour worth of work instead of a few $ for 10 minutes, isn’t it worth the time?

ByronB March 10, 2015 at 1:26 am

Great website!

Sheikh Nirman Umar June 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Dear Sir
I am interested to buy computer scrap. How I can buy?
Looking forward your reply

Knoxyy January 23, 2016 at 8:40 am

I am from Zimbabwe and theys is no company as yet that but such electronic metals, i would want to knw more interms of the buyers.

Would like to start one in my Country

Donald creel March 17, 2017 at 11:03 pm

Thanks. Very help full. Would like to learn more. Maybe you could post a video. I learn better visiual than reading

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