Question Can you get a recycled storage unit on a brand new device?

andyhegyes17

Commendable
Jul 8, 2018
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1,510
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Hi there!

I hear that nowadays some manufacturers collect devices (through buy-back programs) and break them down to recycle some parts. I've always wondered if they actually extract the metal and melt it down, and then use it to manufacture new parts, or do they just reuse certain parts as they are, if they consider that it's in good enough condition. I especially wonder this regarding storage units because I know SDDs have a data writing limit and they die when the limit is reached. Say I buy a new PC or mobile phone. How likely is it that the internal storage unit has been used by someone else before, that it has been recycled and now I'm buying it as "new", yet its lifespan would be much shorter than a truly new and previously unused storage unit's?
 
They don't burn them down to recycle, that's pretty costly and a terrible way to recycle electronics, specifically because most computer parts that aren't pure metal have some toxic components in it, so it's incredibly hard to properly smelt PC components to recycle them. Most of the time a failed component just has a bad subcomponent, like a bad logic board on a storage drive or shorted resistor on a motherboard, all it takes is one subcomponent to fail to make a computer part seem completely broken. A sad truth to e-waste, all that's needed to fix it is usually a 1-3$ replacement or even less. They call these kinds of fixes, refurbishment, so you may see on a electronic store a cheaper price on an item that's been 'refurbished'. It just means returned, repaired, and ready to sell.

As for the data on the drive, not every company will wipe the drive completely, they'll just format it but some data may linger, to fully wipe a drive can take hours and time is money. Whatever data you left on the drive is in a sense, your responsibility. Though companies will still tell you they make sure it's wiped, they really only mean that in a technical sense, not in the customer sense.
 

andyhegyes17

Commendable
Jul 8, 2018
18
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1,510
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Hello, Newtonius! Thank you very much for your answer.

I'm afraid you misunderstood the question - I didn't ask what they do with the user data on recycled SSDs or HDDs, I asked if they resell these recycled storage units claiming that they are brand new (what a buyer would expect, unless specifically opting for a used device) while in fact they are not brand new at all, but used, and for who knows how long. Or do they always mention that the item in question has been refurbished, as you say?

Long story short: Do they lie that things are new, while in fact they are not?
 
Long story short: Do they lie that things are new, while in fact they are not?
If you're buying a standalone drive, it's reasonable to expect that you're getting what they advertised. At least if you buy it from reputable channels. As far as system builders go, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they threw in refurbished drives that originally came in DOA.

Also to note, it's also reasonable to expect some usage on a storage drive on a new system built machine beyond what you'd expect from just the OS and whatnot installed. Just like how one shouldn't really expect 0 miles on the odometer of a new car.
 

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