Cast-Off Computers Offer Hidden Value
Look again before you lug a computer to the dumpster to rid yourself of outdated machinery.
be standing by, waiting to get their hands on your high-technology junk - especially
if it's 1 a mainframe or midrange IBM or IBM clone, say computer sales and service
operators who keep an eye out for valuable hi-tech cast-offs.
as gold, silver and platinum may lace the innards of your mechanical reject.
It could be worth hundreds of dollars or perhaps nothing at all, depending on
the date of manufacture.
sometimes toss outdated electronics, salvagers say. Oklahoma may also have bigger
caches of aging mainframe computers, such as schools, governments and military
computers use less valuable minerals than products made even five years ago,
there's a niche market that says salvaging out-of-date computers can still be
operator of The Computer Doctor Inc., 3970 E Interstate 240, disdains any connection
with full-time collectors variously known as "computer junk men" and
"silicon scrappers. "
They are usually
in the country's biggest cities, he said. Few if any exist in Oklahoma.
never been a scrapper, but I have acquired too much equipment," Puckett
said. "Some of it I had for 10 years, and it's obsolete stuff. I just scrapped
it out. "
The rest he used for parts and repair - an approach known as cannibalizing.
once got as much as $2 a pound for a mainframe, Puckett said. Years ago a scrapped
IBM/36 might bring as much as $3,000. Today it's hard to get anything at all
for an IBM/32 or IBM/36 - the metal coatings are too thin and there's too much
plastic, salvagers say.
often remain valuable in other ways, said Tom Pace, president of Pace-Butler
Corp., 5900 Mosteller Drive, a computer company that specializes in used parts.
Last year his company posted sales of $1.5 million, he said.
Now two trucks
are kept busy, driving the country and picking up used computer-related equipment.
computers may be too outdated for some businesses but perfect for others on
a tight budget. Pace said his company buys computer-related electronics at 10
cents to 20 cents on the dollar, brings them up to standards, and resells them.
of our clients are schools and large and small businesses. We are saving them
a lot of money," he said.
Son Vu, owner of Unicomp, 1 8312 W Reno, limits his business to selling new products. He said a few years back he quit the computer salvage business to focus on new PCs.
value in those old computers are in the parts," Vu said. "Some components
are not made any more, and companies are still using them. "
Even so, he
keeps an eye out for a quick scrap resale. He will make a bid if the profit
looks promising, but strictly as a "side-job. "
to know about computers," Vu said. "Normally, we sell them even before
we get delivery. In some occasions, we do the disassembly, but basically we
try not to do that. "
He is concerned
that his image of selling new computers not be tainted by any past association
with computer scrapping.
to a lot of big companies," he said.
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