Picking Apart Scrap Metal From Computers

Posted on: 1 April 2015

If you're getting rid of an old computer, replacing a broken one or changing an entire department of workstations, there's a lot of scrap metal to be had from the various components inside. Gold, tungsten, aluminum and rare earth metals are often in demand and available inside drives and on boards inside the computer. A few inspection points can help you locate the scrap material for removal.

Circuit Board Gold And Copper

Computers are based around the motherboard, a board that connects many other components such as the hard drive, processor and memory. One of the most popular metals that scrap enthusiasts think of when discussing motherboards is gold. Unfortunately, that's not the big ticket item.

There isn't much gold to be scraped off of most motherboards. From a single board, there may only be a few cents of gold. It's still important to recycle as much material as possible, but don't expect a massive profit unless you're turning in hundreds of boards.

Other boards such as video cards and sound cards have varied amounts of gold, but there are other scrap metals to consider as well. Many of these boards are called expansion cards, which means they expand the capabilities of your motherboard. The cards often act as miniature motherboards in their own right, and often feature copper heat sinks and other heat displacement metals.

Hard Drive Scrap Materials

Hard drives have a few recoverable metals as well. The casing is often made out of aluminum, which is used to protect the inner moving parts from damage in case of dropping. The real value inside is the rare earth magnets. The magnets are used to hold the reader arms for the hard drive, which are responsible for moving across the platters inside the hard drive to read and write information.

Rare earth magnets are sought after by hobbyists looking for affordable, small and strong magnets to experiment. Industries also need the magnets for holding certain parts and processes together temporarily.

It's important to note that not all hard drives use rare earth magnets. Solid state drives (SSDs) drives have no need for the magnets, as they don't have moving parts that need to be secured. Although SSDs are beginning to change the hard drive market, older, platter-based technology is still a major factor in business and personal computing.

To find a place for your scrapped materials from computers, contact a scrap metal buyer like Jp Salvage & Core who knows what to look for in your system.