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In Pictures: Tom's Hardware Recovers Gold And Silver From CPUs

In Pictures: Tom's Hardware Recovers Gold And Silver From CPUs
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Meet Our Mountain Of CPUs

A while back, we did a little do-it-yourself salvaging of gold from motherboards (Can You Mine Gold From Old Motherboards?). But that’s not the only part of a computer where the rustless, unalterable metal is used. It’s also in CPUs. Specifically, the element is used on the pins and on the mounting pads of the processor dies. Also, the small wires that connect the pads and the pins are made of gold.

Here's the hard part, though: recovering the precious metal through do-it-yourself techniques. In this piece, we're also going to recover another precious metal: silver.

Please note that the chemicals used in this demonstration are extremely dangerous, especially in the concentrations used. Therefore, we strongly discourage you from attempting to reproduce this experiment at home.

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    jprahman , November 30, 2011 3:52 AM
    It's kind of sad to see these processors get destroyed, I mean some of those are classics that would be cool to have as a keepsake.
  • 27 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , November 30, 2011 4:14 AM
    Woah! Better keep those AMD CPU's- those are ancient relics of when AMD used to actively compete with Intel!
  • 23 Hide
    gmcizzle , November 30, 2011 3:53 AM
    And here I thought high school chemistry was useless. Don't try this at home though...well unless you want to see how fast chlorine gas kills everything around you.
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    The Greater Good , November 30, 2011 3:47 AM
    A lot of work for that little BB.
  • 31 Hide
    jprahman , November 30, 2011 3:52 AM
    It's kind of sad to see these processors get destroyed, I mean some of those are classics that would be cool to have as a keepsake.
  • 23 Hide
    gmcizzle , November 30, 2011 3:53 AM
    And here I thought high school chemistry was useless. Don't try this at home though...well unless you want to see how fast chlorine gas kills everything around you.
  • 6 Hide
    alhanelem , November 30, 2011 4:03 AM
    i have an old pentium MMX on display (in my room on a shelf where all my unused computer hardware goes)
  • 27 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , November 30, 2011 4:14 AM
    Woah! Better keep those AMD CPU's- those are ancient relics of when AMD used to actively compete with Intel!
  • 12 Hide
    Tamz_msc , November 30, 2011 4:49 AM
    I love these articles!
  • 4 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 30, 2011 5:31 AM
    very nice article.
  • 20 Hide
    soccerdocks , November 30, 2011 5:36 AM
    High School Chemistry FTW!
  • 10 Hide
    frostmachine , November 30, 2011 5:52 AM
    Simple electrolysis can get it to even higher purity. 999 might be difficult but 916 n above should be easy. Good enough for a ring/pendant. Heck, with enough CPU u can even engraved "Intel Inside" :D 
  • 1 Hide
    nekoangel , November 30, 2011 6:03 AM
    I knew a teacher that used to collect and strip as much stuff from components and then send it up to a company that recycles it and pays you a cut.
  • 4 Hide
    QEFX , November 30, 2011 6:15 AM
    Assuming you get free cpus and your time is free ... How much is the materials vs the silver/gold selling price? Not that I'd do it, but just curious.
  • 5 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , November 30, 2011 7:21 AM
    And how much is that gold BB worth?
  • 4 Hide
    koogco , November 30, 2011 9:51 AM
    Definatly do not try this at home without good knowledge of chemistry and proper ventilation!
    For anyone who forgot, exotermic reactions means that things get very hot (as there is spare energy from the process)
    And yes, chlorine it very toxic, not that it takes more than 10 secs to make with remidies found commonly in a danish home >.>
  • 5 Hide
    olaf , November 30, 2011 9:51 AM
    i think if u calculate the cost of chemicals + resulting gold piece < cost of the cpu's as relics.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 30, 2011 10:31 AM
    I couldn't help but laugh so hard when I saw the final result. XD
  • 3 Hide
    feeddagoat , November 30, 2011 10:39 AM
    The BBC done this in nang goes the theory. They used mobile phones and ram too. How much did the silver and gold come to especially vs buying the chemicals to produce them. Surely copper would be worth something too atm, the amount of street lights that have had the wiring stripped from them just for the copper!
  • 4 Hide
    nforce4max , November 30, 2011 11:31 AM
    Careful about what you destroy as some are worth much more than their base metal content and are very rare. Boards however go for it as most eventually become non recoverable as far as working is concerned.
  • 5 Hide
    nforce4max , November 30, 2011 11:37 AM
    JOSHSKORNAnd how much is that gold BB worth?


    About a dollar to maybe three at the most. It is not 24k quality and isn't worth much, wasting cpus on a small scale isn't worth the chemicals used to extract the base metals. Close to the size of one troy grain.
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