How Much Gold Is There in Old Computers?

How Much Gold Is There in Old Computers?

Just about everyone has old electronics sitting in a closet somewhere, but what you might be surprised to learn is that those old unused electronics may not be completely worthless. Processors, motherboards, RAM, printed circuit boards, central processing units (CPUs), and other internal components can contain valuable precious metals.

Read on to learn how much gold and silver are in your electronics. 

What types of precious metals are inside computers?

In addition to gold, computers may contain the following metals:

  • Aluminum
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Iridium
  • Nickel
  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Rhodium
  • Silver
  • Tantalum
  • Tin
  • Zinc

Is there gold in old computers?

Gold is typically in two parts of a computer: the CPU and the RAM. The CPU contains pins that connect to the motherboard. These pins, which act as data inputs and outputs, are gold-plated since gold is an efficient conductor.

Random-access memory (RAM) is also a central component in computers that may contain gold. The amount varies based on the type of RAM you have, but one kilogram of RAM typically yields the following amount of gold per type:

  • DDR RAM – 1.2g
  • DDR 2/3 RAM – 3.75g
  • RD RAM – 5g

The “fingers,” or the component that plugs into the RAM slots on the motherboard, are the part in RAM that usually contains gold. The make and model of the RAM may affect the quantity of gold in the fingers, as the above figures are only a rough estimate of the potential yield.

Circuit boards and other internal components may also contain gold plating. In fact, any data contact points may contain gold due to the metal’s high conductivity.

However, don’t set your expectations too high, as most of the metals inside a computer will be copper and other base metals.

How to extract gold from computer parts

There are many different ways to recover gold from old computer parts. Most of the methods involve using chemicals that can be highly toxic. Extracting gold is an endeavor that should be done by a trained professional. Refineries specialize in breaking refining materials into precious metals using specialized equipment and processes.

While you’re not going to hit the motherlode from the precious metals and gold in your old computer parts, it is still interesting to know that you can salvage gold from them!