Are CPU pins really worth their weight in gold?

Purchase / recycling of CPU gold chips

Processors / CPUs are the heart of every computer and also contain the most concentrated precious metal content in computer recycling. The reimbursable purchase prices are correspondingly high. The best-known and most common CPUs come from the manufacturers Intel (e.g. 286, 386, 486, Pentium I, Pentium II, Celeron, ...) or from AMD.

Inside the main processors, the bonding wires can be made of fine gold - in some models only made of aluminum - and from the outside, the gold-plated contact parts of the gold processors immediately catch your eye. In addition to gold, small concentrations of silver, palladium and copper can also be recycled from CPUs.

ESG has specialized in recycling precious metals from electronic scrap for years. We buy processors according to three different sorting classes.

  • Ceramic processors: In these CPUs, the processor body consists of a ceramic in order to be able to better dissipate the heat that arises inside during the fast computing steps. The contacts are usually galvanically gold-plated. On the back of these gold processors, heat sinks are usually glued with a thermal paste, which should be removed before recycling and recycled separately.
  • Plastic processors: These CPUs have a plastic housing (mostly green, brown or black) and are often used in notebooks. However, they are also used on normal PC motherboards. The percentage of precious metal based on the gross weight is slightly lower than that of ceramic CPUs. Accordingly, the purchase price is also a little lower. Heat sinks or attached fans should be removed prior to recycling / sale. There are also versions with an attached cooling plate. Plastic CPUs with attached cooling plates have a different recycling price than those without a cooling plate.
  • Processor circuit boards: With this CPU variant (e.g. Pentium II processors), a printed circuit board with a gold-plated contact strip is used as a carrier for the soldered-on processor chips. As a rule, these slot CPUs are located in a cooling housing with a fan and are plugged onto the motherboard of the computer.

In our chip price list you will find the current purchase prices for processors in euros / kg. Please note that the prices refer to the pure processor weight without buildup. Heat sinks, cooling plates or fans should be removed before selling to us. In the case of CPUs delivered with buildup, the respective pure processor weight is reimbursed or the total weight is set as a percentage.

For special processors (industry) or larger quantities of identical processors, you are welcome to send us samples for analysis and price calculation.