Where can I sell a bunch of old computers?
January 2, 2008 2:08 PM   Subscribe

My employer has about 10-15 various old computers. They very in power 600Mz -1.2g. They want to get rid of them and offered to split the proceeds with me 50/50. Here's what I think is the catch. I'm pretty sure that the XP installed on them is pirated, so I want to re-format them and install linix. Where could I sell these? I've looked on eBay and don't see anything comparable for sale(they all come w/ XP installed). I'm also not sure what they would sell for. Should I give up on my dreams for extra cash and donate them to 3rd world countries or just put them up on eBay and see what happens? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
posted by itsamonkeytree to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try Craigslist, I've purchased several old computers from there. In my area they typically go for $60-$100.
posted by Sufi at 2:11 PM on January 2, 2008

Not sure about donating to third-world countries - the shipping costs might prove prohibitive. Are there local charities, churches or schools that could use them instead? Your other option would be to sell the parts, but I'm guessing that the profit on used parts would be pretty low. There's also freecycle, or perhaps craigslist for a barter opportunity.
posted by jquinby at 2:13 PM on January 2, 2008

Desktop computers depreciate extremely rapidly. For all practical purposes, most computers are worthless three years after they were originally purchased.

Don't get your hopes up too far. Think of it this way: would you want one of these? And if you did, how much would you be willing to pay for them?

"No" and "not damned much", right?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:15 PM on January 2, 2008

I'm pretty sure that the XP installed on them is pirated, so I want to re-format them and install linix.

How sure are you? Install WGA on there and find out. If they pass then assume they are good. Also, why would I want you to install linux on it? I'll install the distro of my choice. Save yourself the trouble. Most geeks would be too paranoid to run someone else's install anyway.

If you do choose to wipe them just use something like DBAN to wipe your employers data and sell them as-is. 50-100 dollars seems about right.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:19 PM on January 2, 2008

Sell them for parts. No matter what you do, wipe the hard drives first (35 times 0/1 alternating) so as not to expose you or the company to any liability issues with regards to data or piracy.

Like SCDB said, you are most likely not going to make much money on sales. It's up to you to decide if the money you stand to make is worth your time.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:24 PM on January 2, 2008

Depending on your industry, and how sensitive the data is, you might want to just pull the hard drives and smash 'em.
posted by box at 2:28 PM on January 2, 2008

You might find a better market in for example Egypt, if you can find an ex-pat who ships stuff back there regularly.
posted by acro at 2:28 PM on January 2, 2008

If you donate them to charity you might be able to get $100 each in the form of a tax-deductible receipt.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:02 PM on January 2, 2008

You need to wipe the drives for your company's safety anyway (like the ape suggests above), so if you can't produce a proper install disk with a serial then you effectively don't have the ability to sell them with XP.

If you're auctioning them off then don't sweat it. The market will set the price for them. People who care about a proper license will bid with the knowledge they need to spend another $100-$150, people who intend to install a unix won't care. The people who want a hassle-free pre-install of XP won't bid.

Personally were I you (and live where I do) I'd put them on craigslist if I wanted to sell.
posted by phearlez at 3:28 PM on January 2, 2008

Where are you located? The project I worked in Brazil has work teams of Americans coming down - last one smuggled in computer parts, and we bought cases and monitors and set up a computer classroom with the pieces...it's really just a matter of knowing the right people. That being said, I'm in Brooklyn, but have contacts throughout the states. Where are you located and are you interested?
posted by iamck at 5:04 PM on January 2, 2008

If you become serious about donating them may I suggest a location and possible contacts for consideration. The Federated States of Micronesia is an exceedingly resource poor region, with a population that could benefit greatly from just such a donation. A couple of potential contact points for donation would be Micronesia Seminar, or Xavier High School in Chuuk. They have the benefit of reduced shipping costs as a result of recent changes in USPS regs.
posted by X4ster at 5:11 PM on January 2, 2008

I'd avoid ebay as desktops don't sell well there unless they are quite new--the high shipping costs and rapid depreciation make it unfavorable.

As most of the other answers state, craigslist would be your best bet if they service your city.
posted by aerotive at 6:27 PM on January 2, 2008

If there are monitors with them you should be able to get $150-$200 for them. I just sold on Craigslist a 700MHz box that I threw Ubuntu on, and got $150 for it with a 19" CRT.

There are uses for boxes like this, I billed it as a basic web surfing/OpenOffice box, and if that's all you want to do, it's fine for that.
posted by barc0001 at 6:42 PM on January 2, 2008

See if there's a Linux Users Group in your area. Machines of that speed would be great for someone wanting to try out linux, but didn't want to dedicate their normal machine to it.

Linux people will usually jump at a cheap machine (at least, I do).
posted by jbroome at 11:09 AM on January 3, 2008

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