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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:02 am 
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Hi,

I appreciate that this might be a crazy and probably stupid question but - I recently saw an ebay posting selling 16 mips cpus for $599 for their gold content. I like many here was surprised at this. But on a more down to earth note what exactly is the gold content in a MIPS cpu?

Does the gold content vary by type i.e. less in newer generations?

Just thought it might be an interesting and unusual topic :-)

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:11 am 
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competentcompton wrote:
Does the gold content vary by type i.e. less in newer generations?


Almost definitely. Never taken a newer MIPS apart, but modern chips tend to go with the "flip chip" solder-ball (or something similar) to attach the silicon to the substrate. It minimizes inductance and gold use - a win-win for chip makers.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:07 am 
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competentcompton wrote:
Just thought it might be an interesting and unusual topic :-)
"Interesting and unusual" to who? Be a shame if what remains of the supply of older SGI iron gets trashed 'cause this topic started an eBay gold rush.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:11 pm 
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recondas wrote:
"Interesting and unusual" to who? Be a shame if what remains of the supply of older SGI iron gets trashed 'cause this topic started an eBay gold rush.

Yeah, I regularly see big job lots of stripped SPARC CPUs in auctions on eBay, and wonder if that is the reason I'm still stuck with a 333MHz CPU in my Ultra 5 :(


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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:08 pm 
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kramlq wrote:
recondas wrote:
"Interesting and unusual" to who? Be a shame if what remains of the supply of older SGI iron gets trashed 'cause this topic started an eBay gold rush.

Yeah, I regularly see big job lots of stripped SPARC CPUs in auctions on eBay, and wonder if that is the reason I'm still stuck with a 333MHz CPU in my Ultra 5 :(

Maybe, with all due respect to competent, we might delete this thread ? if it saves even one old SGI computer it's worth the loss of a thread .... google 'sgi' searches often come up with nekochan uptop.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:22 pm 
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That $599 lot on ebay has been there for months. Obviously it isn't selling, though I'd buy one (maybe if it was $5 and not working) for a keychain or jewlery or something.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Good topic. There was this chap called Gorden Brown who only a few short years ago dumped 400 tons of gold for $275 an ounce. For some reason people still respect his opinion on matters.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:19 am 
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By interesting and unusual I meant that it was just off the beaten track.
I was wondering if anyone knew exact gold content for say a R10000. I imagine that you would need quite a few to make the business worth while.

I was mostly interested as I have about 20 or so of the things kicking around some working, some not.

Hey feel free to delete the thread if you think a global rush on the mips cpu stockpile might obliterate hobyist sources

:-)


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:46 am 
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A quick Google search reveals that 1 gram of gold costs about 30 USD (http://dgcsc.org/goldprices.htm).

I imagine most of the gold in a CPU can be found in the tiny wires that connect the silicon part to the pins on the package and the gold plating on the pins themselves.
All in all, I doubt there's more than a few milligrams of pure gold per CPU, certainly less than 1g, not to mention that you have to pay to have it extracted, so at $600 this auction is a rip-off :)

The person selling these CPUs would make more money if they sold the processor modules intact (assuming they were working when dismantled).


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:09 am 
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Call me a heretic if you want, but just before christmas (I decided that gifts were more important than a pile of CPU's and ASIC's) I sold ~10lb worth of MIPS, Alpha, SPARC, PPro, and other misc. silicon (all leftovers from the last 10 years worth of upgrades or cannibalization; there was nothing of intrinsic value in the lot, it was just a collection of pulled chips), and netted over $500.

Figure that this person would want to at least double their money given the risk of buying something that wasn't completely as described and the effort involved in extracting the gold itself (crushing the chips, dissolving the gold, precipitating the salts, and purifying the precipitate), so it was probably at least an ounce of gold there.

Chris

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:09 am 
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The Keeper wrote:
Call me a heretic if you want, but just before christmas (I decided that gifts were more important than a pile of CPU's and ASIC's) I sold ~10lb worth of MIPS, Alpha, SPARC, PPro, and other misc. silicon (all leftovers from the last 10 years worth of upgrades or cannibalization; there was nothing of intrinsic value in the lot, it was just a collection of pulled chips), and netted over $500.

Hmm, well, it is possible that the pins aren't just gold-plated but pure gold :)
(I also remember reading that the Pentium Pro has a large amount of gold in it and that it is possible to get about $4 worth per chip)

There are also people who collect CPUs, so it is possible that a collector bought them.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:05 pm 
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I personally think the chips (dead or otherwise unusable) are great for poker. "I'll see your 250 MHz and raise you 600 MHz." "I fold".

I have a few but not enough to play with or sell for gold.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:38 am 
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recondas wrote:
"Interesting and unusual" to who? Be a shame if what remains of the supply of older SGI iron gets trashed 'cause this topic started an eBay gold rush.


As if to illustrate of my point, there's currently an auction on eBay for an Iris <Power Series/Crimson> Video board where the seller mentions:
Quote:
The Base Board is complete and working but the 030-0188-002 Digital Video Board is MISSING THE MAIN CHIP (somebody stole it for the gold)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... %26ps%3D41

<I swear I didn't put anybody up to posting this auction :D >

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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:29 am 
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^^^ Even if it turns out to be worthless, people do retarded stuff. I've about given up on buying anything used in China because the sellers are drooling retards. They'll take an older HP or Sun and pull the memory, pull the drives, pull the cpu. What they plan to do with the parts I have no idea ... hammer them into an aging Packard-Bell ? They're no good to anyone. Then they try to sell the beat-up carcass (every single one must have been dragged behind the bus to get it to the seller's shop) for a gazillion five. All they manage to do is ruin a pretty neat old computer.

"Don't give people ideas" is a good motto.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:55 am 
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Hah! Delete the topic to save a single SGI, what a concept.

Free Geek scraps them out all the time. We can't give the things away. We currently have 5 Indigos, 5 320s, 4 iris..is, 4 Indys, etc, and they'll all be torn apart and ground up in the next week or so. One of those Indys is a maxed out R5K if I recall. Same with Suns. We've trashed Enterprise 450s and 3000s and sparcstations and blade 150s by the truckload.


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