How Much Gold Is in a Laptop?

Chris Campbell17 May 2022

Did you know that electronic devices such as laptops and desktops contain real gold? But where do you find it?

When most people think of electricity, they think of copper, perhaps as it is the most typical conductor. Silver is the finest conductor, with gold close behind. Copper is less expensive than precious metals, but it transports electrons at a far slower rate. Because speed is more essential than the cost in computers and communications, copper is limited to construction and pennies. Silver, although being a quick conductor, corrodes or tarnishes swiftly when it comes into touch with water or even damp air. 

In comparison,  gold is extremely resistant to corrosion. So while it is not as quick as silver, it does not disintegrate as quickly and is several times quicker than copper, making it a sensible option for electronics.

Where Is the Gold in a Laptop?

It is common knowledge that many laptops and electronic devices possess trace amounts of precious metals such as gold. Some devices can have rather high amounts of the material and they are stored on printed circuit boards, CPUs, and other components. In terms of gold alone, the most common laptop and desktop parts that include gold are, but are not limited to:

Motherboards and Printed Circuit Boards

In most laptops, the motherboard is the best possible source of gold. The borders of the majority of the components on the board will include gold contacts and connectors in which the wires will be inserted. Thin coatings of gold are frequently found on the surface of motherboards.

Central Processing Units

These are the huge square microchip-like components found on motherboards. They usually feature several gold-plated pins all around the edges and underbelly. If you have a significant stockpile of these, it may be worth a lot of money.

Random Access Memory  Chips

These small gold mines are inserted as a component of the circuit board to expand your machine's operating memory. They frequently have a modest number of gold-plated pins and a tiny covering of gold on their surfaces.

Internal Modems, PCI Boards, Ethernet Ports, Graphics Processing Units, and Other Peripherals

Most machines have one or more of these auxiliary boards. They also frequently contain significant quantities of gold. Gold may be found on connecting pins and surface layers, much as other components.

Why Do Electronics Contain Gold?

Given that gold is typically regarded as a very precious commodity, you may be wondering why it is incorporated in electronics in the first place. The reason for this is that gold has some extremely fascinating and beneficial qualities that make it nearly unmatched for use in electronics.

In reality, the electronics sector is a significant user of gold. Solid-state electronic devices, for example, often consume relatively low voltages and currents. As a result, they are easily disrupted by rust and tarnish at points of contact.

Gold is an excellent solution to this problem since it is a super-efficient electrical conductor capable of transporting small currents while being corrosion-free. As a result, electrical connections, switches and relays, solder points, connection wires, and connector strips are frequently built with gold or gold-plating to increase their durability and reliability.

Here are the top reasons why gold is used in electronic devices:

Electrical Conductivity Is Quite High

Because of gold's great electrical conductivity, electricity can pass through it with minimal resistance. This is in contrast to other electrically conductive metals such as copper and aluminum. As a result of this feature, it is the ideal metal for use in the construction of electrical equipment.

Exceptional Corrosion Resistance

Another distinguishing feature of gold is its great corrosion resistance, which does not attract a sulfuric tint like silver. The fact that gold doesn't combine well with oxygen bears validity to this fact. Because it refuses to corrode, gold parts in electronics may go for extended periods with no need for lubrication or maintenance.

Good Malleability

Because of gold's malleability, manufacturers may roll and mold it into thin sheets. Because of this feature, it is feasible to include it in compact and portable devices such as laptops and smartphones.

Very Durable

Durability is yet another distinguishing feature of gold. Because gold can tolerate infrared light, it is appropriate for use in the manufacture of space vehicles.

How Much Gold Is There in a Laptop?

Could you make a fortune disassembling and removing all of those components that contain at least some gold as well as other precious metals? Most likely not, at least not from a few old models.

A complete old-school computer is made up of $9 worth of gold. But that doesn't include the expense of removing it. Others believe that the average computer contains around a fifth of a gram of gold or about $12 in value. On the other hand, laptops often include roughly one-tenth of a gram of gold, or about $6.  However, the real value will be determined solely by the sort of e-waste in question. For instance, industrial video equipment usually has a larger proportion of gold, occasionally exceeding 56 grams per machine.

After all of the labor required to physically disassemble the computer and retrieve the gold, this scarcely appears to be worth the effort. In reality, such a venture on a limited number of machines will almost certainly leave you out of cash.  In such cases, computer components may be more valuable intact for reuse and resale.

Urban Mining Your Laptop

The process of recovering electronic items to cash in on the valuable metals inside is known as urban mining, a new term in the waste and recycling industry. With the prices of commodities being high as investors flee falling oil prices, regenerated gold and silver within discarded devices effectively make good financial sense. At present pricing, a regular laptop might hold up to £25 worth of gold, while high-end desktop computers could contain much more.

The quantity of gold found on a laptop is believed to be roughly 1/10 of a gram of gold, which is worth about $6. Each laptop contains 0.006 grams of gold, which means you need 7,500 of them to obtain a kilo of gold. The value of extracting gold in electronics is determined by two variables. The first is the sort of e-waste from which you will extract gold, and the second is whether you will extract gold on a large or small scale. Yes, it is worthwhile if you want to do large-scale gold extraction from electronics. But, if it is small-scale, your profits will be minimal. After all, physically disassembling electronics and recovering gold from them isn't a simple process.

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Thanks for reading! I'm Chris, an avid tech fanatic that enjoys keeping up with the latest laptop models. Hopefully my tips & tricks can help you out!

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