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What do you do with your old computers?


JFo
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With all the talk of new PC and Mac purchases running rampant on these boards, I'm curious as to what everyone does with their old hardware after a shiny new machine is purchased.

 

I have a PC I assembled about two-and-a-half years ago that has been gathering dust since my MacBook purchase last February. I'm at quite a loss for what I can do with it now. Aside from a few instances where I need a Windows program for a particular task, I'm more inclined the use the Mac for all my computing needs these days. Add in the fact that I have plenty of hard drive space to install XP or Vista on the Mac if I so chose, and the desktop machine becomes even more unnecessary.

 

The PC in question is still a fine piece of hardware. It runs Windows XP like a champ and could be a fine computer for someone in need. As such, I feel like it would be a waste to dispose of it at this time. I've thought about trying to sell it, but given the age of the machine and the fact that it's running XP, I don't think there's much money to be made on it. I had toyed with the idea of upgrading some components and installing Vista on it, but I think the best I could do there is break even on the purchase.

 

Another thought I had was to donate it to a family member. I do believe my sister's family could use another computer, but I'd have to see if they are interested in it first.

 

Anyway, I'd like to hear everyone's ideas.

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In my case, I typically canibalize old systems to rebuild or upgrade new systems. I almost never have a full spare system, just parts. If/When I do have a whole system thats a spare or I have no use for I would usually try to sell it if it's still worth anything or just give it away to someone who needs one. :)

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I usually give the last one to my parents, and the one they had to someone who wants it. Someone is always willing to take it. Like Brian said if your throwing it away get rid of the HD, but if i give it away I use one of those programs that writes to the entire drive a ton of times

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In my case, I typically canibalize old systems to rebuild or upgrade new systems. I almost never have a full spare system, just parts. If/When I do have a whole system thats a spare or I have no use for I would usually try to sell it if it's still worth anything or just give it away to someone who needs one. :)

 

Ditto. I'm still running as one of my optical drives my 4x Pioneer DVD writer from about 4 computers back.

 

I've got a big plastic storage unit with drawers I have spare parts in - comes in handy if I need to fix someone's computer. Stuff like screws and motherboard mounts and CPU cooler/fan combos - they can be handy to fix up an old PC.

 

Most of the time stuff that has some value goes to ebay to help pay for the upgrade - video cards, CPU, motherboard. HDDs I generally have a few spare, as they can be useful sometimes with an enclosure for emergency file transferring and stuff. The case, if I get a new one, goes to my dad to recycle for scrap metal. I've got a case with a 754 socket motherboard out in the garage to go out for recycling.

 

Once in a while I have enough for a whole system that isn't worth enough to bother to sell and it goes to family or a friend or whatever. My dad still has some of my old hardware for one of his PCs - my old 1.1ghz Athlon Thunderbird chip, 384MB PC133 RAM, etc. Runs XP just fine :D

 

 

If you want to sell your old PC for like $100 and don't want to screw with ebay, you can try Craigslist...the local paper in my Grandma's city has a Freebies classified section...under $50 you can sell for free.

 

Also, you can donate the computer to the Salvation Army or somewhere like that. Get a receipt and get a tax writeoff for a charitable donation.

 

Ten Tips for Donating a Computer

http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/hardware/page5496.cfm

 

There's also Freecycle if you want to give it away:

 

http://www.freecycle.org/

Edited by GreenMonkey
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So, do you put a new hard drive in the machine when you donate? I'm assuming you do, since the computer is pretty useless without it.

 

Nope, Goodwill don't care. HDs are plentiful. They've got refurb centers for computers that they rebuild & reformat the machines before they get sold or used regardless.

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I've been thinking about this myself recently. I have a custom built pc that I'm looking to get rid of, as well as some parts (video card, motherboard, older cpu, etc.). My Goodwill does not accept computer components, TVs, or monitors. You need to check your local donation organizations to see what they can use. Depending on how environmentally aware you are, you might be upset if you drop something off and they toss it in the dumpster...

 

As for the recycling, my town has a yearly event where you can recyle hazardous goods. Otherwise, you typically have to pay a small fee to have them handle it. A family member recently donated some furniture and a TV to a local veteran's center. That's another possibility.

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I have a small collection of spare PC parts in my basement that I've gone to more than once to fix either my own or someone else's computer. I'm actually out of spare power supplied because I've had to replace two for people in the last couple of years. There are also lots of things you can do with a spare older machine, like setting up a home NAS, backup server, or box that just downloads stuff for you. You could also do something crazy like building it into a MAME cabinet.

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I sent my sister and her husband an e-mail a couple days ago, asking if they would be interested in my old PC. I offered them two options. Either I would let them have it as is for free or I would upgrade a few features and put Vista on it, in which case I would only ask for the money needed to make the upgrades.

 

I still haven't heard back from them yet. If I don't hear from them soon, I may just upgrade the machine anyway and try to put it up for sale at work. I'm sure someone there could use a good, cheap PC.

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My sister finally got back to me on the offer. Long story short, they'll take the computer, but they're undecided about the upgrades at this point. I'm just happy that someone's willing to take this thing off my hands. Getting a chance to improve some of the hardware would be fun in a nerdy sort of way, but either way someone's going to be making more use of it than I am.

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This is one good thing about Macs, they retain their value very well. The market for used Macs is pretty strong.

 

I'll say... I was looking at resale value on my MacBook to "Ease" the upgrade to a new laptop for myself and 2 netbooks for my daughters and Holy Hell ?!? Despite the refresh of the MacBook line, despite the new Pro's, despite it's relatively conservative specs, despite that mine is used and over a year old, etc, etc they are still going for close to retail.

 

Good for me to upgrade but, it makes me a little more reluctant to trade it out now too...

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