What should I do with all of my old and obsolete computer parts?

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Dear Lifehacker,
I have built many computers over the years, but as they have become obsolete, I have replaced them with new ones. What should I do with all of my old computer parts? I would hate to just throw them in the trash.

Hard disk accumulator

Dear collector,
No matter how outdated your parts are, you can probably find them one or two uses, even if they aren’t in a new computer for yourself. Here are a few things you can do with them, both from the obvious end of the spectrum and from the less obvious.

Build a low-power, single-use computer

It’s not the most original idea, but if you have enough parts to build a new machine, with or without a good case, you can always put it together and reuse it as you would an old computer. For example, regardless of the age or age of a computer, it can make a very good home server that streams files to other computers in your home, downloads 24/7 torrents, or does other tasks all day. It also does not take a lot of power to build a home theater PC for all your movies and TV shows so this is also a good option.

Note that if you don’t have an old case to use (since cases can last almost forever), you can still make a temporary case from a cardboard box, Where build this computer right in your office or entertainment center for a true integration into the home.

Reuse the parts by themselves

Some parts can be reused on their own. For example, you can easily turn old hard drive into external hard drive with a simple speaker, Where turn DVD player into external DVD player. If you have additional NVIDIA graphics cards, you can add one to your existing computer as a dedicated PhysX card for games that support it (and if your current card is not too powerful). If you really have DIY skills, you might even turn it into an external graphics card for better gaming on your laptop. Not all parts can be reused this way, but before you start throwing things away, see if any of them have any use with your current computers.

Turn them into fun DIY projects

This one may not be particularly useful, but if you have a lot of pieces lying around and want something fun to do, you can always turn them into a fun, computer-themed DIY project. For example, you could turn an old PC case into an aquarium, turn old motherboards and graphics cards into a printed circuit coffee table, Where one of a million other cool things. Search around for projects others have come up with, or think of other ways to decorate your geek cave on your own.

Try and sell them

You might not need an older Intel Pentium 4 and AGP graphics card, but someone else could. If you can’t find anything to do with them at home, put them on Craigslist or eBay and see if you can make a few bucks. You can either take them apart or fit them into a few computers and sell them that way. You might not get a ton for your efforts, but at least you will get a little extra spending money, and someone else will get the coins they want. Just make sure you don’t be fooled by selling online. photo by a cloud man.

Recycle them

If all else fails and you just want to get rid of those old parts, don’t throw them in the trash. These parts may contain harmful metals that you don’t want to rot in a landfill. We have discover five easy places to recycle your old computers and computer parts, and those suggestions should always be true. Your individual city may have other options and locations as well, so Google around – you should be able to find an easy, free place to get rid of these parts responsibly.


Title image remixed from Kris butler (Shutterstock).