Buying a suitable replacement from a typical online retailer, such as Newegg, may no longer be possible. Brick and mortar stores, with their limited space for inventory, are unlikely to carry a part that is even slightly out of date.
There are, however, a few places that still sell numerous old computer parts.
Buying old computer parts can save you a lot of money compared to upgrading, and for some computer geeks there is great pleasure to be found in keeping an old computer functional.
When you first visit Geeks.com you probably won’t sense that there is anything unusual about the retailer. There is absolutely nothing on their home page that indicates they are not a simple Newegg competitor looking to sell you a plethora of new computer parts. Once you start browsing the Geeks.com site, however, you’ll notice that it is actually a bit different from most retailers. While they do indeed have some new products they also stock a number of older products as well as products that are almost never sold at larger retailers.
This isn’t to say that they have absolutely everything, but Geeks.com is relatively easy to browse compared to other retailers that sell older computer parts. Their inventory generally consists of parts that are up to eight years old. That means you’ll find a lot of Pentium 4 processors, a few AGP video cards, IDE CD-ROM drives and items of that vintage. If the computer you need parts for was built more than a decade ago you’ll need to look somewhere else.
This website looks like it was designed in the late 90’s and never revamped, so it isn’t surprising that you’ll find a huge variety of old computer parts available. Unlike Geek.com, which has an inventory that mostly consists of parts that just recently went out of production, Pacific Geek has a gigantic selection of parts that range from a few years old to nearly two decades old.
There is very little consistency in the inventory – everything is rather disorganized, and you’ll probably only find a few parts of any specific era – but the age of some of the components available is impressive. Do you need an replacement processor for an Intel Pentium II machine? You’ll find them here. Do you need a replacement Socket 370 motherboard for your turn-of-the-century PC? You’ll also find that here. Pacific Geek is the last, best hope for computers that are between one and two decades old.
Ultimately, if the stores fail you, you’ll have to turn to your peers to find the parts that you need. eBay is the ultimate online flea market, and it is one of the best sources for finding old computer parts. Although traditionally framed as an auction website, eBay in recent years has effectively turned into a crowd-sourced online store. The clunky auctions of old still exist, but most sellers ignore them in favor of the easier “Buy It Now” option. Purchasing an item in this way is not much different from purchasing an item from Newegg.
The age of the parts that you’ll find in eBay is impressive. Finding any popular component made within the last two decades is fairly simple, and finding parts older than that is possible if not guaranteed. If you can’t find a part for a very old computer you may be able to find a complete or partially defunct system that you can cannibalize.
That’s not an ideal solution, but it is hard to be picky when looking for such ancient technology. You’ll also have better luck finding more obscure parts – for example, neither Geek.com or Pacific Geek keeps very good stock of older AMD processors and motherboards, but you can find a wide variety of such parts on eBay.
Finding old computer parts isn’t as easy as finding new ones, but websites such as these make the task much easier. So long as the part that you’re looking for was relatively popular in its day you shouldn’t trouble finding what you need.
Where do you go online to find those ancient computer parts?