The Stampede from Desktops to Laptops to Tablets Leaves Gold Behind

You will get a lot of results if you search for the phrase “Can a tablet replace my laptop?” on Google or Bing. The question has recently been tackled in The New York Times, in PC World, on CNET, and dozens of other places. If you read those articles, you will find that opinions vary. Some reviewers feel that the time is not yet right to discard laptops in favor of tablets. Others write about new laptop/tablet “convertible” hybrids from HP, Samsung, and other makers that are essentially tablets with keyboards that either detach or fold cleverly out of the way.

Image of woman choosing tablet over laptop, which symbolizes the computer shift that will result in more recycling of old laptops for the precious metals they contain.

Computers are always evolving, and similar questions have arisen in the past. Ten years ago, it was “Can a laptop really replace a desktop machine?” And we all know how that question got resolved. So who could believe that laptops are the pinnacle of computer development, never to be replaced by something newer?

When new kinds of computers gain widespread acceptance, older machines get tossed and recycled in large numbers. Just peek at the place where electronics are recycled in your town or city – perhaps in your town dump. On a recent visit to my town’s, I noticed that not only desktops, but also laptops and other types of escrap were starting to pile up. And if you’ve been reading this blog, you already know that laptops contain valuable quantities of gold and other precious metals that can be worth reclaiming from their circuit boards, connectors, IC chips and other parts, using a top precious metals recycler.

Opportunities to Profit from the Trend

Because used laptops contain only a few dollars’ worth of gold and other precious metals, it takes a large number of them to add up to much – plus, there is the challenge of dismantling them to extract the parts that contain gold like circuit boards and contacts, pins and meltables.

Yet the fact remains that a very large number of laptops are about to be discarded in the coming years. If you can start a program to collect them, the dollars could really add up. If you are one of the following organizations, this could be a good time to start collecting laptops for later recycling . . .

  • If you are an electronics retailer, consider ramping up your trade-in program.
  • If you are an electronics manufacturer or wholesaler, provide incentives for retailers to accept trade-ins and return them to you.
  • If you are a church, charity or school, consider conducting a drive to collect laptops that are no longer needed.
  • If you are a hospital or healthcare facility that is about to replace older laptops and equipment that embodies them, start your own in-house recycling program.

Don’t Let Recycling Dollars Slip through Your Fingers

As the old saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Since each old laptop contains many pennies’ worth of gold, why toss them away? Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more about profitably recycling computer scrap.

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What Precious Metals Are Contained in Piles of Old Desktop Computers?

Extracting Gold from Ceramic IC Chips

If you’ve ever disassembled a computer, you know what printed circuit boards look like. They’re usually green wafers that are embossed with patterns of metallic paths that connect various components that sit on their surfaces. At their edges, you’ve noticed rows of gold-plated “fingers” that serve as points of attachment. So with printed circuit boards, it’s pretty easy to see where the gold resides.

Photo of scrap electronic ceramics CPU chips sent to Specialty Metals to be refined and recycled for their gold, platinum, silver and palladium.

It’s not quite as easy to spot the value in the ceramic integrated circuit (IC) chips that are found in computers, especially in the form of large central processing units. You know them, because they are often inscribed with the name of a manufacturer like Intel or Fujitsu. But what are they exactly? Because the gold and circuitry are sealed up inside, all you can see are the pins or contact points on the outside that allow the chip to be snapped into a contact block on a larger printed circuit board.

Why Are Ceramics Used?

Integrated circuitry is encased in ceramic for several reasons. First, ceramic can protect delicate circuitry from damage caused by impacts, dust and oxidation, and contamination caused by oil deposited by fingerprints. Also, ceramic makes an ideal protective sheath for microchips and micro circuit boards because it doesn’t conduct electricity.

If Ceramic IC Chips Are So Strong, How Can they Be Recycled?

Gold is usually extracted from ceramic IC chips in two steps:

  1. The ceramic casing is mechanically removed from the outside of the chip. This often involves manual work to physically split the ceramic “shell” of the chip and expose the microchip within.
  2. The inner chip is immersed in chemical baths to separate the gold from surrounding plastics and other materials.

How Much Gold Is Contained in a Ceramic IC Chip?

We wish we could give you a definite answer to that question. Older IC chips generally contain a bit more gold than newer ones. But again, that is a generalization. If you have a quantity of ceramic IC chips that you are interested in recycling, give us a call at 800-426-2344. We’ll be happy to tell you whether it is worth refining your chips and set up a plan that can help you turn them into dollars.

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Where Is the Gold Hiding in Your Old Computers?
A Brief History of Circuit Boards and the Gold They Contain
Watch the Gold You Can Recycle from Circuit Boards Pile Up in these Videos
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How to Pick the Best Precious Metals Recycling Company
What Precious Metals Are Contained in Piles of Old Desktop Computers?