Are the parts on my old computer worth the money?

Dear Lifehacker,
I read your guide on what to do with my old computer parts, but I’m interested in your last suggestion: sell them and make money! How can I offload those old parts, some of which are latest generation, but some are really old (I’m talking about IDE hard drives and AGP graphics cards) and make money at the same time?

Clean the closet

Dear clean the closet,
I feel your pain: I also have a good stack of old computer equipment, some of which is probably only of value to people who really want them at this point. IDE hard drives? Of course I have them. AGP graphics cards? Maybe there’s one or two left in case an old system crashes. The problem here is that because no one is building new systems out of these parts anymore, your best efforts should be focused on finding the people who need them to fix the systems they use (and may need to keep them. for some reason) or just love the old ones. Technology. Here are some ways to find the right markets for your old equipment.

Sell ​​them on online forums

Depending on the date of your coins, there may be people willing to buy them. But, instead of heading to Craigslist or eBay, the first place we’d check out is a material-based forum with a dedicated sales section, like Hard forum, AnandTech’s classifieds, the Market, or Reddit / r / hardwarewap. You will need to be careful not to get fooled, as there isn’t a large organization behind the sale, but a lot of people have gotten lucky selling, trading, and buying coins on forums like this one. this.

Join a user group or computer club and sell your old parts there

Local user groups and IT clubs were once the primary way for like-minded developers and system designers to come together, chat, swap parts, and share knowledge. Many of these clubs are long gone, but some still exist online and retain their local roots. Head to Craigslist or Facebook and search for local computer clubs or user groups in your area. During your search, you may be able to find a local buying / selling / trading group it’s worth considering too. photo by Tobias Wolter.

Ideally, once you’ve found a computer club user group, you can offer your old components directly to an audience that might use them, have old systems to repair or upgrade, or just can. want the components from their own collection of parts. Likewise, many computer clubs still have shows and sales where you can grab a table if you’re a member (sometimes for a small fee) and sell whatever you have available. These shows have become much less popular in recent years, but if you have a lot of old computer parts that you need to unload, this is an option worth considering.

Sell ​​to a recycler or reprocessor of electronics

Another solid option is to find a computer recycler or component reprocessing company who is willing to purchase your old equipment. The amount you will actually recover will vary depending on the type of electronics you are trying to unload, but most of these recyclers and reprocessors are really interested in the precious metals or rare earths in your PC components. For this reason, you need to make sure that the company you choose is not only willing to offer you a decent price for your equipment, but also promises to recycle in-house and in an environmentally friendly manner, without contributing to the global e-waste problem or subcontract to a company that does it. Do your homework here: open the yellow pages and look around, or click Google for local businesses near you, not just the big websites that promise to pay you more and send you boxes to ship your gear.

Check with your local hackerspace

Another place where people often need or use old electronics are hackerspaces. We showed you how to find and get involved with hackerspaces nearby, but even if you are not a member, the space may be interested in your old electronics. In some cases, they bet their members are less interested in the devices you own and more in their components, but in other cases your old equipment may be useful and compatible with machinery, diagnostic equipment, or equipment. older than hackerspaces. may have on hand. photo by Mitch altman.

Many spaces have old equipment for which there are no upgrades available, or machines that require old software – running on old hardware – to run, so old equipment is worth a look. preserved. Call your local hackerspace and see if they’re ready to buy (or even take donations, which we’ll get to later.)

Check with local schools, libraries or even local governments

Schools, libraries and local governments are generally all willing to accept donations, but not necessarily sales. You may need to go through some legal or registration steps in order to sell old material to a school or library, even if you have a garage full of stuff, so be prepared for that if this is the route you want. want to borrow. Many schools, government offices, and other organizations have old equipment or are using old software that they cannot afford to replace, but may be willing to fork out a few dollars for old PCs that they can keep to fix things. critical systems.

Having said that, it’s probably not your best option. As we mentioned, many schools and libraries have “approved supplier” lists that restrict where they can spend money, and if your old pieces are that old, even schools and libraries won’t want them. not because they are older than anything their students or clients can benefit from using. Donations are a better option here, as you’ll get a net tax deduction for the market value of the item you donate, which can be real money at tax time.

Craigslist / eBay or donate: not what you wanted, but good options nonetheless

These aren’t the options you probably wanted to hear right off the bat, but eBay and Craigslist both have the most eyeballs of all of these options, though most of those eyes aren’t specifically looking for your gear. Still, many people looking for old computer parts go to eBay first, so it’s a good bet to try and sell your item there. As we mentioned in our Complete guide to selling your old shit, an eye-catching photo, a well-crafted list, and good timing can earn you a lot of money.

If you have enough old components to build a real PC, you can make a lot more money selling it as a complete system on Craigslist than you would on eBay. If you can, consider bundling your old components into a complete computer and selling it that way. Not everyone wants or needs high-end components for their home PC or even for gaming, and you can make a pretty penny on a pre-built system with older components if it’s ready. to work.

Finally, you always have the option of donating your old equipment to a school, library, or charity. You won’t make any money that way, but you will get a tax deduction for your donation, and depending on how much you have to get rid of, it’s easier and less complicated than trying to find a place to. pay you a few dollars. your old IDE drives, SCSI adapters, or parallel port devices.

We hope this has given you some options to consider, clean out the closet! With luck, you might be able to earn a few dollars for your old equipment, and if not, you might be happier you chose the donation option when it comes time to do your taxes. Write to us and let us know how it all happened!


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Title photo made with Philippe Krstic (Shutterstock).