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Bargain-bin computer parts near Washington, DC?
December 28, 2006 12:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good computer-parts store in or around the DC Metro area; 'good' meaning one that has "junk bins" of parts that can be pawed through, lots of used gear, no salespeople, etc. Specifically not a big-box store.

Where I used to live (rural New England) I had a short list of local places that did computer repair and were good sources for used computer parts. They were the kind of places you could stop by if you needed a $5 Ethernet card or a $3 modem, as long as you didn't mind digging through a giant Rubbermade tub 'o' junk for it.

Since I've moved to N. VA, there seems to be a shortage of places like that, and I've found myself resorting to eBay or purchasing things from the big boxes (CompUSA, MicroCenter, Best Buy, etc.) more often than I'd wish and can really afford. I make a point of visiting the local hamfest circuit in the summer, browsing Craigslist occasionally, and trolling eBay, but I'm looking for something more predictable.

It seems like there have to be places like this around, that I'm just missing. So I'm hoping the DC MeFi crowd can help me out. Do these places exist in the metro area? And if so, where can they be found?
posted by Kadin2048 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Try:
Computer renaissance
7837 Sudley Road
Manassas, VA 20109
phone: (703) 392-9770
fax: (703) 392-9773
http://www.compren.com/

Its a franchise, there's also one in Waldorf MD and Edgewater MD.

We used to have one up here (PA) and it was exactly what you are looking for (parts that can be pawed through, lots of used gear, no salespeople), but ours closed. Good luck!
posted by sandra_s at 3:47 AM on December 28, 2006


We've got a Goodwill store here in Austin that is only computer equipment just as you describe - it's all junk and can be pawed through with no salesperson harassment.

Check for a goodwill in your area that is only computers - they have them everywhere.
posted by jimmy0x52 at 5:01 AM on December 28, 2006


They have those damn computer fairs every other week. One's at that horse thing out in Maryland, the other is in some sort of Holiday Inn thing. I think these are the people who set it up. I went to one once and they had people selling some boxes of junk as well as people who assembled their own computers and sold them.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:05 AM on December 28, 2006


Terrapin Trader sells surplus stuff from the University of Maryland - tons and tons of old computer stuff. I've seen to full gamut, from old SGI workstations to Mac SEs, to dual-processor dell servers. They do (or have, in the past) have boxes full of old cards, keyboards, and mice.

Prices vary, some are good, some are totally unreasonable.

I've seen some other amazing stuff there - a revolving door for a darkroom, pickup trucks, laboratory equipment. It's worth checking out just for the amusement value alone. The main downside is that the hours are very weird, and that you've got to deal with Route 1 traffic to get there. Inventory can also be very hit-or-miss.
posted by god hates math at 7:55 AM on December 28, 2006


There's Practical Computer, off of Braddock Road, just west of the beltway (map). I think it's just what you're looking for.
posted by sudama at 8:46 AM on December 28, 2006


Just thought I'd share this with the community: I went out to Practical Computer this weekend, and it is apparently no longer. Sign on the door says that they ceased operations as of Oct 31, 2006, due to "changes in the industry." Disappointing, because based on the website it was just the sort of place I was looking for. (Oh, well -- thanks Sudama for the suggestion, though.)

I haven't checked out any other suggestions yet, but if I find any further DOA's I'll report them here.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:33 PM on January 2, 2007


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