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Reply 60 of 85, by sliderider

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PhaytalError wrote:

It seems that 2011 was the whole 'gold scrap" hey-day. It's actually been slowing down alot over the past years. People have caught on just how much of a scam it was, gold plate is useless; most of the "gold" on vintage hardware [and newer hardware] is not gold but mere gold plate. Many of the old "gold scrap" people have realized they can get more selling the components intact and in working order than they ever could by "scrapping" it. 😀

Unfortunately there are still "gold scrap" sellers around who never got the memo or just flat out don't care and continue to destroy and resell to gullible idiots who still think that "there's gold in them thar hills!" or to people who are new to scrapping. 😒

The thing most people don't realize is the process involved in extracting the gold. It is a dangerous process that the amateur should not attempt at home. It involves bathing parts in chemicals that are highly corrosive and give off deadly fumes. Then you have to use other dangerous chemicals to separate the various metals from the bath solution and each precious metal requires a different process to extract from the bath solution so after you get the gold out, you then still may have silver, platinum or other metals that need to be extracted using different chemicals than what you used for the gold. It really has to be done in an industrial or laboratory setting to avoid injury or death. It's like those books that teach you how to make nitro-glycerine in your basement. Don't try it at home because if the fumes don't kill you, the inevitable explosion will.

Reply 61 of 85, by Jorpho

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Are there really home DIY guides for doing that sort of thing? Or articles encouraging people to try it themselves?

As you say, it never would have occurred to me that someone with no idea what he was doing would try anything like that. I wouldn't even have thought that the requisite chemicals would be readily available.

Reply 62 of 85, by sliderider

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Jorpho wrote:

Are there really home DIY guides for doing that sort of thing? Or articles encouraging people to try it themselves?

As you say, it never would have occurred to me that someone with no idea what he was doing would try anything like that. I wouldn't even have thought that the requisite chemicals would be readily available.

People also make crystal meth at home without understanding the dangers. One slight miscalculation can release a poison gas cloud killing every living thing in the house or cause a fire or explosion. A number of toxic chemicals are used as well as propane tanks . It's not a safe thing to be doing at all.

I found a partial list of the chemicals that might be used depending on which recipe is being used.

drain cleaner/rubbing alcohol
lithium batteries
anhydrous ammonia
red phosphorous
starter fluid or de-icer
muriatic or hydrochloric acid
lye
iodine

So, yeah, I'd avoid doing any serious chemistry in the home.

Reply 64 of 85, by badmojo

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Smash it? Like with a hammer? I've seen people hit a HDD with a hammer to ensure no-one can read it, but why would you bother breaking up a machine, and THEN take it to the recycles?

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Reply 67 of 85, by mr_bigmouth_502

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Whenever I dispose of a dead hard drive, I always make sure to crack it open, steal the magnets, and destroy the shit out of everything else. Some people use a drill press for these purposes, I myself like pliers, hammers, and hell even utility knives since I can use them to etch the platters. 😁

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Reply 68 of 85, by badmojo

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mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:

Whenever I dispose of a dead hard drive, I always make sure to crack it open, steal the magnets, and destroy the shit out of everything else. Some people use a drill press for these purposes, I myself like pliers, hammers, and hell even utility knives since I can use them to etch the platters. 😁

You must have some incriminating stuff on your drives to go to those lengths 😈

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 69 of 85, by Jan3Sobieski

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sliderider wrote:
PhaytalError wrote:

It seems that 2011 was the whole 'gold scrap" hey-day. It's actually been slowing down alot over the past years. People have caught on just how much of a scam it was, gold plate is useless; most of the "gold" on vintage hardware [and newer hardware] is not gold but mere gold plate. Many of the old "gold scrap" people have realized they can get more selling the components intact and in working order than they ever could by "scrapping" it. 😀

Unfortunately there are still "gold scrap" sellers around who never got the memo or just flat out don't care and continue to destroy and resell to gullible idiots who still think that "there's gold in them thar hills!" or to people who are new to scrapping. 😒

The thing most people don't realize is the process involved in extracting the gold. It is a dangerous process that the amateur should not attempt at home. It involves bathing parts in chemicals that are highly corrosive and give off deadly fumes. Then you have to use other dangerous chemicals to separate the various metals from the bath solution and each precious metal requires a different process to extract from the bath solution so after you get the gold out, you then still may have silver, platinum or other metals that need to be extracted using different chemicals than what you used for the gold. It really has to be done in an industrial or laboratory setting to avoid injury or death. It's like those books that teach you how to make nitro-glycerine in your basement. Don't try it at home because if the fumes don't kill you, the inevitable explosion will.

I saw a video of it somewhere on youtube. The whole process was, as you said, very dangerous and in the end not worth the effort. The amount of money spent to just buy the chemicals (not to mention equipment) and the amount of gold extracted would pretty much offset each other. Only an industrial scale operation can make a profit since they can buy those chemicals cheaper.

Reply 70 of 85, by PeterLI

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For 2+ years I worked for a multinational that also started an EAD/ITAD business line. The electronics disposal industry is maturing. The amount of electronic waste continues to increase annually. The volume of electronic waste processed through mom and pop scavengers is only a very small percentage of the volume that is processed by a) true ITAD / EAD companies, b) municipal / county / provincial / state / federal entities / facilities and c) recycling programs through retailers (Best Buy) and other drop off points (Goodwill).

There are many people who try to sell / donate their vintage computer equipment but in many cases nobody ever reaches out to buy / collect it and consequently it just ends up being recycled. Just a fact of life. A lot also is destroyed by natural disasters (hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes) or when properties are cleaned out after people pass on.

I do believe there is still a lot to be found but unfortunately perhaps not as commonly anymore. As time goes on the attrition rate will continue to reach higher numbers and items that were produced in low numbers will become even rarer (although those items are also better preserved in some cases as they retain value).

Reply 71 of 85, by snorg

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Gold recovery is nasty. I had to think where I remembered seeing a step-by-step breakdown, I think the conclusion was that for the effort and danger involved the rewards are minimal:

http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/550- … -chemistry.html

I personally would not bother with this.

Reply 72 of 85, by Mau1wurf1977

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Is it even worth it? Might be better off selling the working CPUs rather than the gold.

There can't be much gold per CPU.

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Reply 75 of 85, by badmojo

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Jorpho wrote:

Someone implied there's a good $50 worth in a 1 MB Pentium Pro chip.

Did they? It was mentioned that they go for $50 on eBay, but to make a profit after all that messing around with chemicals you'd want at least $80 worth of gold out of it surely? There's far easier ways to make a buck.

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 76 of 85, by sliderider

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Jorpho wrote:

Very good, sir, but that's illicit drugs and not gold extraction. Whole different ball game.

It's still chemistry and still dangerous. I'm just trying to demonstrate the level of stupidity that some people will go to to make a little money.

Reply 77 of 85, by SavantStrike

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badmojo wrote:

Smash it? Like with a hammer? I've seen people hit a HDD with a hammer to ensure no-one can read it, but why would you bother breaking up a machine, and THEN take it to the recycles?

Some people seem to think the hard drive isn't the only thing that stores your data. My aunt had someone help her with an old computer and her friend was convinced the RAM could also store data. I stepped in and rescued that 1GB 333mhz DDR dimm, as well as the hard drives (which I will use in old machines), as she trusts me with them.

The icky Northwood P4 at 1.7ghz also got rescued... The dell case and motherboard, not so much. I feel a bit guilty now. I just don't have space for every Dell pentium 4 I see in the trash. There are still quite a lot of them.

I know some day, someone is going to want one of those in all of it's proprietary cased glory as it was probably their first computer etc, but I don't have space to store every thing.

I always want to go to household waste disposal days and beg for people's old computers, but I'm pretty sure I'd be ejected from the premises

Reply 78 of 85, by Jorpho

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US agency baffled by modern technology, destroys mice to get rid of viruses
PLEASE LET'S NOT START TALKING ABOUT US POLITICS AGAIN OH PRETTY PLEASE

I posted once about the Core 2 Duo I pulled out of dumpster after someone claimed that "all the bits had been taken out" and found it to be perfectly functional, albeit with two capacitors torn off for some inscrutable reason.

SavantStrike wrote:

Some people seem to think the hard drive isn't the only thing that stores your data. My aunt had someone help her with an old computer and her friend was convinced the RAM could also store data. I stepped in and rescued that 1GB 333mhz DDR dimm, as well as the hard drives (which I will use in old machines), as she trusts me with them.

I once had a lovely time trying to return some RAM to The Source (Canada's version of Radio Shack) when the clerk started to claim it was a storage device.

Reply 79 of 85, by sliderider

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Jorpho wrote:
US agency baffled by modern technology, destroys mice to get rid of viruses PLEASE LET'S NOT START TALKING ABOUT US POLITICS AGA […]
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US agency baffled by modern technology, destroys mice to get rid of viruses
PLEASE LET'S NOT START TALKING ABOUT US POLITICS AGAIN OH PRETTY PLEASE

I posted once about the Core 2 Duo I pulled out of dumpster after someone claimed that "all the bits had been taken out" and found it to be perfectly functional, albeit with two capacitors torn off for some inscrutable reason.

SavantStrike wrote:

Some people seem to think the hard drive isn't the only thing that stores your data. My aunt had someone help her with an old computer and her friend was convinced the RAM could also store data. I stepped in and rescued that 1GB 333mhz DDR dimm, as well as the hard drives (which I will use in old machines), as she trusts me with them.

I once had a lovely time trying to return some RAM to The Source (Canada's version of Radio Shack) when the clerk started to claim it was a storage device.

I think I remember from back in 486 days before SSD's that there were some manufacturers making drives that used banks of special RAM sticks that didn't erase when the system was powered down as a sort of proto-solid state drive. I wish I could remember who was making those as I'd like to have one for the novelty.