Breakdown of how much it will cost for the motherboards, and how much gold one can expect to recover.
WARNING: “DO NOT attempt or try this at all, especially on your own or in a group. Improper processing may lead to destruction of property, serious bodily injury, or even death”.
One eBay Auction has bids for old motherboards, which have negligible amounts of gold per board, $12.50 for 5.18 lbs, but most auctions and even non-auction format have no bid at all. A search term that can be used is “scrap motherboards for gold”, though all things considered, gold recovery is too far out-of-reach for anybody thinking they can recycle the yellow metal from old PCs.
The massive number of motherboards needed and the amount of time, energy and highly specialized machinery and chemical processing to recover the gold proves just how difficult it is to recycle the precious metals from electronics. In fact, in the overwhelming majority of laboratories, the overhead costs alone are more than the value of the metal.
Since this is 2017, where many people now walk around with computers in their pockets, here’s a perspective from the BBC:
Every cell phone in the entire world would be gone in 23 days in order to process just 1 single day of gold mining supply.
Gold recycling from electronics? Well, this guy did sell the same Brooklyn Bridge over 3,000 times, which might just be how many times the same ounce of gold gets “sold” though “rehypothecation” the world over. And when all those buyers of “gold” decide they want the real thing, well, the math doesn’t really work out.
Physical gold and silver are really the way to protect against counter-party risk.