Trash divers find all kinds of things in the trash. From a full pallet of cold brew coffee with hundreds of metalfor Yu-Gi-Oh cardsThere’s no shortage of cool stuff buried in piles of trash you’ll probably find in the trash. But while some of it was useless, redditor Rydirp7 took the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” seriously and built a whole PC from discarded computer parts.
It’s no secret that electronics isn’t as recyclable as other materials like certain types of fabrics, glass, metals and plastics. According to this 2019 UN reportGlobally, around 50 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) is produced each year, of which only 20 percent is officially recycled. That means the other 80 percent, which equates to an annual value of $62.5 billion, will either be sent to a landfill or “unofficially recycled“The process of throwing away unwanted things that can result in poorer communities, causing environmental pollution and dangerous health effects. This is where dumpster divers or people who scavenge in the trash to find cool or interesting things can ease the pressure by turning the unused into something truly usable.
Rydirp7 did this recently, publishes garbage PC build on the popular subreddit r/DumpsterDiving and reveals that he only bought two components for the custom-built machine. Everything else, from the graphics card to the processing chip, was found in a local trash can. A redditor”unbelievable” Another user, “crazy respect for people” Like him. Most of the comments are just congratulated him for building and hope it continues. kotaku reached out to Rydirp7 to learn about the process behind building a garbage PC and the benefits of looking in the trash for game installs.
Bin diving for PC parts
Rydirp7, a South Dakota resident, said he was inspired by what he had heard about dumpster diving online and was considering giving the activity a try in the summer of 2022. He visited a local computer store in his town “in the middle of nowhere” to see if he could find some, and was quite surprised by his discoveries.
“There were some things in there,” Rydirp7 said. kotaku in a phone call. “Since then I’ve been checking the store’s junk from time to time, and yes, the computer you see in the Reddit post was built almost entirely using parts that were removed from that bin in like six or seven months.”
The only components he bought were the power supply and RAM, which totaled about $120. Rydirp7 said he already had these two parts on hand when he bought it for a different computer, but thought he’d reuse it for this build since they’ve been around his house. Interestingly, it ran into a problem with the graphics card it found. 10 year old EVGA GeForce GTX 570. Had to troubleshoot extensively while “running games properly”, “drivers won’t install properly”.
After hours of trying to fix the graphics card, he decided it was time to bake that thing in the oven. Really. This is known as furnace number In the PC community and as Rydirp7 said, the card has been working fine ever since.
“Essentially the furnace trick is that you remove pretty much everything on the graphics card,” said Rydirp7. “The heatsink, the shroud; basically, you strip it down to the bare PCB and then wrap it in aluminum foil to help protect some of the more sensitive components on the PCB. You preheat the oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then the graphics card or whatever electronics you’re trying to fix. You put it in the oven. I believe it’s typically like 8 to 12 minutes for a graphics card. But yeah, that’s basically the oven trick. I’ve done this on two different graphics cards: The other was a GTX 240 and then this was a GTX 570 and the number was both times for me worked.
Baking the graphics card like a cookie works because bad connections from loose or old solder joints will remelt, allowing power to reconnect and possibly flow back through broken points.
The challenges of building a garbage PC
Rydirp7 admits he’s “a bit of a hoarder when it comes to computer parts,” so this garbage computer was actually the second computer he had made from junk components. The first one with an AMD FX 6300 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, that GTX 240 and a 500 watt power supply went to a friend a while ago. While trash says his first try on a PC is perfectly serviceable, this second one is “a little better” because it packs twice the RAM and produces more power. But one of the hardest components to find for the build was the 256GB SSD.
“The SSD was the last piece I found,” Rydirp7 said. “I’ve been checking the trash for months but found nothing. When something happened, it was like an already disassembled hard drive. When I initially found this SSD, I thought it was a new SSD with no data on it. But when I connected the SSD to the system to install Windows 10, it turned out that it was actually not new and had someone else’s data on it. So when I find a piece with someone else’s data on it, what I do is delete it immediately for the previous owner’s privacy, because that’s none of my business.”
Meanwhile, Dell OptiPlex 9010 motherboard It was one of the first components that Rydirp7 pulled out of the garbage of the local computer store. Unlike the graphics card and SSD, this part worked fine and there was no need for tampering. He said the store, whose name or location was not disclosed for privacy reasons, “has mostly discarded old hardware” and is still functional. Thanks to this shop, he was able to build what became his “main gear”. While he doesn’t play many games, he listed a few games he plays regularly, noting that his trash computer “can get a little hot” while gaming.
“He could probably play crysis”said Rydirp7. “But yeah, I don’t actually play a lot of games. The only thing I really play minecraft, robloxAnd scrap repair shop. That’s all and my computer runs all these games pretty well.”
Benefits of building a junk computer
Creating garbage PCs is a way to fight roughly 70 percent of e-waste Acknowledging the frequency with which most people’s old electronics end up in landfills, Rydirp7 said Americans made it.
“The tactic of building garbage PCs from garbage components keeps perfectly usable electronics from going to landfills,” said Rydirp7. “It can be easy for someone to build a computer with little or no money.”
The viability of Trash PC depends on what you can find and how you use it. More than just its capacity to perform daily tasks like typing emails and watching YouTube, which is another thing Rydirp7 says it does often on this PC. But as my colleague Claire Jackson said, “It was nice hardware in 2010!”
In 2023 these are not ideal components for playing more modern games with 4K visuals and ray tracing. Rydirp7 can get away with running crysis Especially since Crytek’s sci-fi FPS has been optimized to run on Nintendo Switch these days. But the probability of playing is very low. cyberpunk 2077 or any of the PlayStation games—for example Days Are Gone or God of War— this made the leap to PC.
Still, to each his own. And after spending just $120 on something that can run most indie and Xbox 360 era games, you can’t complain much. This isn’t a bad trade-off, especially if you don’t play a lot of games to begin with. You can check out the garbage pc specs of Rydirp7 below:
- EVGA GTX 570 Graphics Card
- Intel Core I7-3770 Non-K Processor
- 16GB Corsair Vengeance RAM at 1600mhz
- 750 watt Corsair Power Supply
- iBUYPOWER Snow Curtain Element Bag
- Dell OptiPlex 9010 Motherboard
While not the most powerful computer in the world, what makes this computer more powerful than most is that it is literally sustainably built. Rydirp7 has found a way to reduce its overall environmental footprint by recycling and reusing old computer components, turning them into a functional Frankenstein PC. I can’t speak to the impact of energy consumption on the world, but building garbage PCs can go a long way in minimizing global e-waste.