Many different materials are used in manufacturing computer components. Some are relatively cheap such as plastics while some components have expensive material such as gold. Gold is found on multiple components of a computer including the processor. So how much gold is in a computer processor?
Different computers contain different amounts of gold in their processors. On average, the value of gold found in desktop computers is about 12 dollars while the value of gold found in laptops is about 6 dollars.
Older computers tend to have more gold in their processors compared to newer computers.
In this article we talk about the gold content of processor in general and also talk about why they use gold in CPU and also some brief notes on how to extract it.
How Much Gold is in a Computer Processor?
As discussed earlier, the older processors especially those designed in the 1960s and 1970s had the most gold content. These computers were mostly used by the military and aerospace companies such as NASA so as to reduce radiation, corrosion and also boost longevity.
These processors were mostly not installed in commercial computers but even the commercial computers had large amounts of gold. When it comes to how much gold is in a computer processor the early ceramic versions had the most amount.
Some of the processors with the most gold include the Intel 80386(386), Intel 80486(486), and Intel Pentium Pro Processor. The Intel 80386 and Intel 80486 are the most common with both having a current market value of about 470 dollars each since they have about 7.5grams of gold.
The gold content of these old processors is more since they were designed with solid gold wiring, gold plated caps, and also gold-plated pins. The wires used in these processors are 99 percent pure gold hence the high value of gold content.
Most computers manufactured after 1998 do not implement solid gold wiring when bonding the chip and also have no gold-plated lids hence the reduced amount of gold as compared to older processors.
To demonstrate the difference between the old and the new processors we can use the Intel Pentium processor that was released in 2002.
Unlike the earlier processors, this one had a nickel-plated copper lid and had no gold wiring. The only gold found in the processor was on the connector pins that were thinly gold plated; about 0.76 microns thick which was little compared to older versions.
Also Read: What is an Octa Core Processor?
Why Do Processors Use Gold?
Companies are known to cut down manufacturing costs to increase their profits. Hence when asking how much gold is in a processor you may be wondering why these companies would use gold in the first place while there are cheaper alternatives.
Gold is Highly durable
One of the main reasons why gold is preferred on the processor is because it does not rust. Whereas metals such as silver tarnish, gold absorbs little or no oxygen at all.
This is important because with no oxidation there is no rusting. This makes gold last longer hence more durable compared to other metals.
Gold Has High Electric Conductivity
Another reason why companies prefer gold is due to its conductive capabilities. The chemical composition of gold allows it to be highly conductive.
This does not necessarily mean that materials like gold and silver are not good conductors. Gold is just superior. Having gold on your processor allows electricity to flow with minimal resistance.
Gold Is Soft
There are normally assumptions that gold is a hard metal which is not the case. Gold is soft and pliable which is why companies prefer to use it in their processors since it is easier to work with compared to other metals.
This means that the gold can be easily melted and bent/shaped to create the golden caps, pins and even use in the wiring of the processor and that is why older computers and even newer computers still use gold in their processors.
Despite the advantages gold has over other metals, the only main disadvantage it has is the price. Being one of the rarest metals and also having its unique properties it is only obvious that gold would be more costly compared to other metals.
This is why the hole processor cannot be of pure gold and some parts are only coated with gold since gold is very expensive.
Can You Extract the Gold from Your Processor?
Gold is a very precious component to have on your processor but the profit you will get will mainly depend on the type of processor and the method of extracting the gold. Processors have a very small amount of gold and unless you have a lot of processors to recycle then you may not end up having much of a profit.
If you are still interested in extracting the gold here are a couple of ideas you would use:
1. Pulling Out the Gold Parts
This is the manual method of doing it. Here you will require a tool to pull the pins or golden caps or wires from the processor.
2. Cupellation Method
This is done using high temperature with the principle that precious metals like gold neither react chemically nor oxidize.
3. Hydro-metallurgic method
A long process where the processors are ground, leached in aqua regia then washed to remove the gold products.
4. Etching Solution
In this method, hydrogen-peroxide is mixed with a strong cleaner in equal quantities. The processor is then put in this liquid and left for some time. This will make gold foils be detached from the nickel.
5. Chemical Bath Method
In this method the processors are first chemically bathed to separate copper zinc and nickel. The pieces are put in muriatic acid. Hydrogen peroxide is added to dissolve the metals. After some time, gold foils appear.
It is important to also know that the processor is not the only part which contains solid gold or gold-plated components. The RAM, the motherboard and PCI cables also have traces of gold on them. How much gold is in my computer and the profit I can make extracting it will be solely based on the brand of your computer.