Ethical recycling, the case for refurbishment

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Farbov Tech has a fierce belief in not wasting technology, why replace when you can repair? Farbov Tech has an in-house CompTIA A+ Certified Computer Technician who is dedicated in repairing what others think of as waste.

Did you know most computers that get thrown away only need minor repairs? The single most common reason I’ve seen in my 10 years of experience is hard disk drive failure. This is unsurprising as HDDs are a moving part and wear out with time, they are also one of the easiest components to replace.
The second biggest repair I’ve seen that has resulted in a computer getting tossed is viruses. Long gone are the days that a virus can permanently cripple a machine beyond reparability. If you get an exceptionally stubborn virus the most effective and easiest fix is wiping your computer and starting from scratch. Both of these issues are common and why if you ask us nerds we will recommend always having an external backup of your important files.
The third biggest reason I see a computer getting tossed is an out of date operating system, though that has become more rare as Windows 10 matures. From my experience 75-90% of all computers that came with Microsoft Windows Vista or newer can run Windows 10, The resource requirements of Windows itself hasn’t really increased since Vista. Toss in an SSD and make sure your ram is over 2GBs and even a computer from 2006 can handle everyday tasks without issue.
Now don’t get me wrong, computers have improved and a 2006 machine isn’t going to be blowing anyone away, you’ll be able to edit your Word documents, watch YouTube, browse the net, but you’ll probably only want to do one of those things at a time and YouTube probably won’t be going over 720p, also gaming isn’t going to happen. Once you hit 2010 and the Intel Core i# processors you’ll be hard pressed to notice big usability changes, once you get that SSD and RAM in you’ll be able to run 1080p YouTube with 5 documents open and chrome running multiple tabs, gaming will still be an issue as games are the one medium that keeps pushing computers to get faster and faster.
This is why all the computers I refurbish for FBT come with a minimum of 8GB of RAM (4GB only if that’s as high as it can go, eg. A 2006 computer) and a brand new SSD with a fresh copy of Windows 10.

  • Doug N. CompTIA A+ Certified Technician


Sometimes a computer has issues beyond the HDD, Virus, or OS and that is when it is important to weigh out the cost of repair vs a new machine and the reality is that unless you know how to do the repair yourself it just isn’t cost effective to go to a professional to do the repair vs buying a new machine, but what are you going to do with your old machine? Some stores such as London Drugs offer to recycle your old machine, and while they will protect your data by destroying your HDD/SSD on the spot, the rest of the device will go off to get recycled for its precious metals and plastics. Though this is much better then it going in the trash there is a better option, Donation. FBT offers a convenient donation option, if you want to donate your old machine just send us a message here and let us know, we will remove your HDD and destroy it on the spot for your personal data protection and the rest will get repaired or used to repair other machines.

If donating to FBT is not a good fit for you, Free Geek also holds many of the same core repair first ideals that FBT has and is even a non-profit! The areas we differ are in the end result, FBT always installs the most up-to-date version of Windows and always installs a brand new SSD and 8GB of RAM minimum*, Free Geek being a non-profit understandably cannot afford to do that so they will install Linux for the OS (available on request from FBT) rather than Windows and they low level format the HDD the machine came with, protecting your data but not guaranteeing the longevity or speed of your primary storage. They also cannot give the same 8GB minimum* guarantee that FBT can. FBT feels that it is important to have Windows 10 installed on a PC for the average user as it is what is most common, most familiar, and most supported option. Linux is a great operating system, very fast, secure and also is open source and is an option for any of our refurbished and custom built machines but is not recommended for those that are not computer savvy.

At the end of the day whether you donate your machine to FBT, Free Geek, or take it to be ethically recycled at a place like London Drugs, we are just glad that more tech waste didn’t end up in the land fill!

* It needs to be mentioned that any device we get that takes DDR2 and only has 2 RAM slots will only be upgraded to a maximum of 4GBs as 4GB RAM sticks are not common and cost far more then a machine is worth (~$100 per 4GB SODIMM vs ~$15 per 2GB SODIMM)

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