Dear Lifehacker, I have built many computers throughout the years, but as they’ve become obsolete, I’ve replaced them with new computers. What should I do with all my old computer parts? I’d hate to just throw them away. Sincerely, Hard Drive Hoarder
Title image remixed from Kris Butler (Shutterstock).
No matter how obsolete your parts are, you can probably find one or two uses for them — even if they aren’t in a new computer for yourself. Here are some things you can do with them, both from the obvious end of the spectrum and the less obvious.
Build a Low-Powered, Single-Purpose Computer
It isn’t the most original idea, but if you have enough parts to build a new machine — with or without a good case — you can always throw it together and repurpose it like you would an old computer. For example, no matter how old or crappy a computer may be, it can make for an excellent home server that feeds files to the other computers in your house, downloads torrents 24/7 or performs other all-day tasks. It also doesn’t take a lot of power to build a home theatre PC for all your movies and TV shows, so that’s a good option as well.
Note that if you don’t have an old case to use (since cases can pretty much last forever), you can always make a temporary case out of a cardboard box, or build that computer right into your desk for true household integration.
Repurpose the Parts On Their Own
turn a DVD drive into an external DVD drivededicated PhysX cardif your current card isn’t too powerfulturn it into an external graphics card
Turn Them Into Fun DIY Projects
usefula circuit board coffee tableone of a million other cool things
If all else fails and you just want to get rid of those old parts, don’t throw them in the garbage bin. Those parts could have harmful metals in them you don’t want rotting away in a landfill. Check in with your local council or search online for drop-off and pickup options near you.
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