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Computer Fixer Blog >> The Modern Nerd

May 18, 2014

Article 87: Scrapping an Old Computer

Article 87: Disposing of Old Computers

Hey there readers, welcome back to the Modern Nerd Blog at the Computer Fixer. This week, as I was putting together a new desktop for a friend, I realized that he was getting rid of a machine that was 10 years old. By now the RAM, the motherboard, and the processor are antiques in computer years. They are now paperweights, but realistically you are not going to want to keep a bunch of computer parts around if you don’t need them. So this week I’m going to give you guys some ideas about recycling computer parts, safe disposal, and repurposing things that might still be useful.

Data Destruction – Foiling Identity Thieves

Your old computers have more information on them than you might think. Saved passwords, pictures, documents, internet search history, and programs could all lead to information on you that you don’t want in the wrong hands, so your first step is to destroy all information on your hard drives. Take what information you need and think will be useful and get rid of the rest. Remember that simply deleting the information is not going to be enough for clever hackers, so grab a free data destruction suite that is available as shareware. DBAN (also known as Darik’s Boot and Nuke) is the most popular, but there are over 25 you can find just from the first page of a google search.

Reusing Old Hardware

There are some pieces of an old desktop computer that are not completely useless. The power supply is the most universally recyclable piece, if it has the capacity you can use it for a new computer without issues. Newer power supplies have fancier features like modular cords, more PCI Express cable extensions, more capacity for SATA-capable devices, and they deliver power more efficiently than their older counterparts. However, a 700 Watt power supply is still a 700 Watt power supply whether it was made 1 year or 10 years ago.

RAM is trickier. If you are replacing a computer that uses the DDR3 standard for RAM, those DIMM’s (read: sticks of RAM) are absolutely reusable. The older DDR2 standard of RAM is not compatible with the newer motherboards.

Hard drives that are not going to be scrapped are reusable as extra storage space for a multiple-hard-drive computer. Network cards, sounds cards, and video cards are reusable if they are not too old.  Also remember that even if you have no use for it, EBay is a great place to get some value out of old parts rather than sending them to the recycler for nothing. I sold an old graphics card for an extra 25 bucks, and money is money.

Scrapping Useless Parts

Remember that computers have things in them like mercury and heavy metals that should not go in the trash can. Calling a responsible recycler for your computer parts is the best thing to do. Remember that the Computer Fixer is committed to responsible ownership through their partnership with Syracuse International, another Philadelphia based company. For more information go to www.sycamoreinternational.com. Batteries, cell phones, computer parts, and other pieces of tech that you no longer have use for must be disposed of responsibly for the future of the planet.

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