retirement home for old robots
October 21, 2012 10:51 PM   Subscribe

How do I sell "old" computers for their parts, without fuss and fairly. 2004 iMac & 2002 HP laptop. Both have minor operating issues. I don't know a lot about computers, so I don't want to get into specifics with eBay sellers. Prefer walk-in to computer shop and get a fair price. In Chicago if that helps. Thanks!
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would say for the amount of effort you'd put into this, it would not be worth it. Donate it.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 10:56 PM on October 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

Freecycle, Craigslist Free, Electronics recycling. I think Salvation Army might by default now. I took a fax machine in last week and the guy said whatever they can't resell they'll recycle.
posted by rhizome at 11:15 PM on October 21, 2012

If the iMac has an Airport (wireless) card in it, take it out and sell that separately. You can get a fair amount for that. The rest, not so much.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:37 AM on October 22, 2012

Given the number of machines of that age I see in the dumpsters every time I take old technology to the knackery, I think a fair price for those would be approximately zero.

Computers are an expense, not an investment.

Yes, this sucks.
posted by flabdablet at 1:04 AM on October 22, 2012

Oh, and I doubt you'd get much for a 2004 wireless card, which will certainly not be 802.11n and probably won't even be 802.11g. There's just no demand for gear that slow any more.
posted by flabdablet at 1:06 AM on October 22, 2012

Maybe hold on to them for 20 years, and you can make a tidy profit selling your vintage non-quantum computers to some collector?

I use a 2008 laptop to prop up a pot plant.
posted by Jimbob at 3:24 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yep. Recycle. Worthless.
posted by spitbull at 3:24 AM on October 22, 2012

A caveat: Free old computers on Craigslist and Freecycle will sometimes be picked up by unscrupulous sorts who will use data retrieval to get credit card and bank details. A standard erase isn't enough. Take the hard drives out, hit them with a hammer a few times and recycle them separately.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:56 AM on October 22, 2012

A standard erase isn't enough.

DBAN is plenty good enough. No need for hammers, which will completely rule out any possibility of re-use.
posted by flabdablet at 4:48 AM on October 22, 2012

I have flash drives which are larger than hard drives from 2004. Plus, a "mechanical erase" means you don't have to try and boot them. Pull the hard drives, recycle the rest. Your machines have very close to null value as things currently stand.
posted by anaelith at 4:59 AM on October 22, 2012

Yeah, the "fair price" here is ~$0. If there are local recyclers or schemes that refurb machines and put them in the hands of people who can get some use out of them, go with them.
posted by holgate at 5:20 AM on October 22, 2012

Leave it curbside or in your alley if you have one. In my area, that is the quickest way to get rid of things, usually to a good home.
posted by JJ86 at 5:56 AM on October 22, 2012

Apple products hold their value fantastically. A quick glance on eBay for 2004 iMacs shows items selling for $30-$150. These do have 4gb ram and 1tb hard drive upgrades. So, for your original, used iMac it isn't worth anything.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:34 AM on October 22, 2012

$30 is about right for 4GiB of second hand RAM, and $150 is not outrageous for 4GiB of second hand RAM plus a lightly used 1TB hard drive. So it seems to me that those 2004 iMacs, far from "holding their value fantastically", are selling for essentially the cost of the upgrades added post-purchase. 4GiB RAM and 1TB drives were still considered fairly extravagant until maybe 2009 earliest.
posted by flabdablet at 3:27 AM on October 23, 2012

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