Computers are one of those things which have its novelty wear off pretty fast. I find myself upgrading several components of my system every year on a regular basis, in order to keep up with the technological evolution (though often it feels like a revolution rather than an evolution). Even then, every three years or so, I usually end up buying a completely new system. Upgrade is not always a viable solution. As your system grows old, most of its components are no longer compatible with the latest available on the market.
If you do it the way I do, after a few years or so, you’ll usually find yourself heaps of computer relics in the corner of your garage, and wondering what you are going do with them.
Keep it as backup
Your first option would be to use it as backup. Five years old hardware is still more than adequate for undemanding task like web browsing and word processing, for example. It would also be a good place to try out new Linux or BSD distributions, without challenging your important files. You can run a remote control software to control it from your main PC, use it as a download machine, a file server, or maybe just a backup storage. It’s always nice to have a backup.
Maybe you don’t need a backup, or already have one. In that case, why not sell it?
You can try eBay, or put an ad on local newspaper. You can also try selling it on a used-computer store. Don’t expect much though. PC technology advances quickly, thus prices of old hardware are usually… Let’s just say; less than expected.
Some computer manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard also have trade-in programs. If you plan to buy a new PC from HP, for example, you only need to contact the company and provide details of your old PC you’d like to trade in, and then get an online quote. After buying the new PC, you can ship your old one to HP and get a little cash back.
Some computer stores would also accept old computers as a trade-in. Just bring your old computer to the store, let them have a look and decide a price for your old machine, and then you can get a little cash to add for the budget of your new computer.
If you think selling your old PC wouldn’t get you much, maybe there’s another way for you to get rid of it. Someone might need it, especially if it’s only a few years old.
You may first want to look at your neighbors, or maybe even someone in the family who might need it. You may also consider giving it to an organization which is a commendable option. Local schools, churches, and several charity foundations might find a way to use your old machine. Sometimes they are a bit picky about the specifications, but if your old PC is functional and no more than three or four years old, chances are they will take it. There are also several organizations which set up intentionally to accept computer donations and then give them to others in need.
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