Placeholder. Pic of my own rig to come.
Any prices mentioned are as of August 22nd, 2016 and as per PC Part Picker.
How to price & sell your custom rig
So, you’ve decided you want to sell your custom-built desktop. There are many possible reasons;
• Perhaps you’re looking to build something new
• Maybe you need a laptop for portability
• Lost interest in your desktop all-together?
• Or maybe you simply need the money for other, more urgent needs
Whatever the reason, there are a few things you should understand before you start listing your rig for sale.
So, where do you start?
Likely a long read, but I feel this can provide some valuable information.
I will provide a list of considerations, with comments & examples where applicable – and a full-on example at the end, using my own personal rig as a comparison.
First, you must understand the two options available:
1. Sell a complete desktop
Generally, the easier of the options. You only really need to wipe your drive(s) fully, reinstall the Operating System and you’re good to go. This does require a buyer who happens to like each individual component.
There are many free programs you can use to write zeros to your drive, to stop even the most determined recovery efforts. A handy guide is posted here : http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-2524477/wipe-hard-drive-dban.html
Note, this will destroy data, and nothing contained on the drive can be recovered - so ensure you have everything you need from it.
Consider your Operating System. Did you purchase an OEM copy of Windows? If so, this may* be limited to use solely with the specific system. This may favour the ‘complete’ sale, as the OS can be included.
*Historically, OEM Windows ‘ties’ itself to the Motherboard it’s installed on. There have been some modifications to Microsoft’s EULA which appears to indicate a license can be moved to another system, but it’s certainly not crystal clear.
2. ‘Part out’ and sell the components individually
More time consuming, but likely to yield greater results.
Will require you to disassemble your rig, either down to individual components, or to ‘combos’.
Many buyers are looking for an affordable GPU upgrade, or a new CPU+Mobo combo, or may take a liking to that fancy case you loved so much when you bought it.
You can also choose to keep components to be repurposed.
Certain components don’t hold too much second-hand value.
A used 1TB Hard Drive may appeal more to you to reuse in future, than it will to a buyer. Storage is cheap. Unless selling as a whole, I’d recommend retaining it yourself for future use.
Remember, custom builds are quite unique. The chances of finding a buyer who is interested in every single component you chose, are pretty slim.
Second, give consideration to;
• Who is your target buyer?
Marketing 101. Understand your target audience.
If you’re trying to sell an older rig, you may want to focus on the ‘first time’ buyer. Be truthful, but represent the facts that will benefit you.
Can it play CS:GO at 1080p on High at 60FPS? A good selling feature.
The same rig might not be able to perform greater than 10FPS on Medium/Low in the Witcher III. Probably not a good selling feature.
Play to the component (or system;s) strengths. Got an i5, market ‘quad core’. An i3? 4 logical cores.
• Were components ‘high end’ when new?
Higher-end CPUs, motherboards, GPUs may hold some value longer. If this was a mid-range setup numerous years ago, there may only be minimal value in certain components today.
• Do any components still have an applicable warranty?
If so, can it be transferred?
Consult component manufacturer’s Websites for this. PSUs commonly have a minimum of 3 years warranty. Quality PSUs provide anywhere from 5-10 years. Whether it is transferrable to a new owner depends on the brand in question.
Consider ‘in store’ warranties also. If you bought components locally and purchased an extended warranty, this could be a significant bonus when selling locally (assuming it can be transferred). A local warranty, selling online to a buyer overseas, it has zero value.
• Are you components still sought after for use today?
A Core2Quad is still viable for certain uses (HTPC, home server etc), but it’s not exactly desirable in 2016+. Even components that are a few generations old still have some use in budget orientated rigs. The i5-2500K is still perfectly viable in 2016.
Look further afield when answering this question. Consult eBay or other auction sites for completed sales. There may be a demand internationally, which will help answer the ‘where/how’ to sell question;
• Are they still available for sale ‘new’, at reasonable prices?
If components are still available new*, this will help you establish reasonable selling prices. If not the specific item, are comparables available to compare? You can always use another GPU of the same ‘model’ (eg. GTX 960) of another brand to get an idea.
*This does not apply if pricing is inflated due to any ‘new, old stock’ status of components; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_old_stock
A ‘new’ motherboard that is 4-5+ years old may have an inflated price-tag as replacement motherboard ‘brand new’ in the box may be difficult to come by. You are not selling a new in box item (which is the only ‘worth’ of this component), therefor, the list pricing for these components have no comparable value to the product you are offering.
• Are there newer/better components for comparable money?
With every passing generation (CPUs, GPUs), prior generation components should reduce in price. This rarely happens instantly, as sellers can still ship older product at a perceived ‘discount’ to consumers.
For example, a 2GB GTX 960 (a poor value for money, even when new) can be picked up new for $160 USD at it’s lowest price today.
A newer, substantially better performing card (example a GTX 1060 6GB can be had for $250, or an RX480 8GB for $240-$250).
If the retail costs are unrealistic, using those as any sort of benchmark is unlikely to yield significant results.
• Have you overclocked any component? CPU, GPU, RAM?
This is a debatable topic. Look at online listings and you’ll see a ridiculous amount of ‘overclock’ suited components that, supposedly, have never been overclocked.
People tend to view a previously overclocked component as more risky than one that (supposedly) has not been. I don’t necessarily agree with that.
First of all, there’s very few ways of knowing for sure that a seller is being truthful.
Secondly, if you are interested in overclocking – wouldn’t it be helpful to know what was achievable, and under what circumstances?
This is the debatable part. If you have a component that OC’s well, and you’re aiming to target that demographic, play to it’s strengths. If you’re looking to sell to the broader, average consumer, you may not want to get into too many specifics in your initial listing.
Then, decide where/how you’re prepared to sell. Options:
• Locally – Craigslist, Kijiji, Gumtree (for the US, Canada & UK) or other local classified ad service
You’re limited to your local area. This may work if you’re in a well populated area. If you live in a rural area, you may have no interest at all, or might have to accept a lower selling price due to limited interest.
Generally, no shipping fees but you will likely have to deal with low-ball offers, and haggling. There are added risks of face-to-face sales too.
*Use common sense when using this method. Meet in a public place, don’t invite strangers to your home. Deal in cash, no email transfers, no cheques etc.
• Online – eBay, Amazon, online Forums
You broaden your catchment area. Essentially, your market of buyers is worldwide*.
You will need to consider shipping costs, and who’s responsibility they will be (seller vs buyer). Heavier items may well cost more to ship, than any selling price.
There may also be fees involved.
*There may be limitations of products/components that can be sold/shipped to certain countries, so do your homework & ensure you specify any limitations you’ve found in your listing.
I have found that anywhere from 40-75% of the cost new today (not of what you paid for it), is a reasonable expectation, depending on what you’re trying to sell.
Provided you’re not trying to sell obsolete technology, and ‘new’ prices are not in ‘new, old stock’ territory. Somewhere in the ~60% range should be achievable.
How to achieve that will depend on the numerous variables mentioned above.
An example, using my own personal rig:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($0.00)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($0.00)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A/USB 3.1 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($0.00)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($0.00)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($0.00)
Storage: Samsung 950 PRO 256GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($0.00)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($0.00)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($0.00)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 960 2GB SuperSC ACX 2.0+ Video Card ($0.00)
Case: Fractal Design Define R5 w/Window (Titanium) ATX Mid Tower Case ($0.00)
Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($0.00)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($0.00)
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-08-22 13:40 EDT-0400
Over time, I have probably spent around $1,800 CAD in components through sales etc.
Comparing the cost to put together this system ‘new’ today, PCPP informs me it would cost around $1,750 CAD
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($295.54 @ Vuugo)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($108.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A/USB 3.1 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($154.99 @ NCIX)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($87.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($114.99 @ Memory Express)
Storage: Samsung 950 PRO 256GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($229.99 @ Memory Express)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($60.95 @ Vuugo)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($62.95 @ shopRBC)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 960 2GB SuperSC ACX 2.0+ Video Card ($269.00 @ shopRBC)
Case: Fractal Design Define R5 w/Window (Titanium) ATX Mid Tower Case ($144.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($87.99 @ NCIX)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($115.95 @ shopRBC)
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-08-22 13:41 EDT-0400
Sounds like I could recoup a substantial portion of my investment, right? Not necessarily.
If I had $1,750 today, is that the system I would put together? Highly unlikely.
• A Skylake i5-6600K, paired with a Z170 motherboard and DDR4 RAM are near identical in price.
• I would not buy an 850 EVO and a 950 PRO (I replaced the 850 with the 950), so that removes an additional cost.
• I would not spend $270 CAD on a GTX960 2GB, when a GTX 1060 6GB can be had for around $335.
A comparable setup today, with newer components and overall higher performance, would cost around $1,720 CAD.
Ideally, I’d look to get somewhere around 60-65% of the cost of the comparable build. $1,720 @ 60% = $1,032 or 65% = $1,118. For simplicity let’s call it $1,000 to $1,100.
So, how would I go about attempting to sell this?
I’m in Calgary, AB, Canada – so I have a decent catchment area to sell as a completed rig. Likely ask around $1,400 and take $1,000 if/when offered.
If I wanted to maximise my return, I could part it out.
For comparison, I head over to eBay.ca and search for completed listings for each component. Try to be realistic here.
• Always assume the lower end of sold prices – that’ll give you a reasonable expectation.
• Personally, I try to view sold items that people then paid shipping on top of. People will pay a little extra for the item itself if the shipping is free. Besides, it’s unlikely you’ll be in a position to provide free shipping on many items (if any at all).
• Search for recent sales. Prices components were going for 6+ months ago have very little bearing on a price you’d obtain today.
• Ensure you’re looking at comparable condition. ‘New in box’ is not the product you’re offering. If you’re offering used, but with the original box etc, try to find a listing for similar.
Example (all prices are the lower end, rounded to the nearest $, are in CAD and + Shipping)
2x8GB RipjawsX $58
256GB 950 PRO $206
250GB 850 EVO $78
1TB Seagate $38
1TB WD Blue $51
GTX 960 $190
SuperNOVA B2 750W $38
Total: $1,142 + shipping.
Now, your mileage may vary here.
With the exact items sold on eBay, I’d expect to recoup a minimum $1,142.
Less eBay fees (around 10%), I’d recoup somewhere right around $1,000.
That assumed I would only get the lowest price a component had sold for. It is a little risky, and will vary depending on the component(s) you have to sell.
Selling as whole locally, I’d hope to get $1,000 and may have to sell a little lower.
Selling each component individually, I’d expect to clear a minimum of $1,000 – with a little extra time & effort after deducting fees.
Hopefully this helps a little for anyone considering selling their custom rig.