Not much to say about the functionality of memory sticks, though one may seriously consider doing a test for working units, working units may be sold at a higher price that will far exceed the precious metals (PM's) contained in them.
With that being said, first we need to distinguish between two main memory types, those with gold plated connector edge (i.e. Fingers) and the Tin fingers type, just to be clear, the silver colored fingers on old memory sticks is not Silver, it is just Tin and worth a lot less.
There are basically 3 components of interest in scrap RAM memory stick at a gold and palladium recovery point of view.
Let's have a look:
A – Gold plated fingers (i.e. Connector Edge)
B – Monolithic Ceramic Capacitor, contains Palladium or Silver/Palladium Matrix.
C – Integrated Circuit (IC) Chip, contains micro scale Gold wires.
A healthy work methodology is to sort each component separately to prepare it for its own individual precious metal recovery process.
Start with the IC's, with a screw driver/box opener or what ever you find suitable, slide the tip on the IC legs to cut them free, and pull out the chip, store it for later processing.
Remove Capacitors with flat screw driver or a small chisel.
Note: Capacitors are the SMD's (Surface Mount Device) that have the marking Cxxx beside them, of course, we focus on the monolithic ceramic capacitors, the other SMD's do not contain precious metals in them and should be left on the stick.
Here is the final result of our work, three separated components, each has its own ways of processing and reclaiming of Gold, Palladium and Silver.
Depopulated RAM sticks and boards still have small metal value (Copper mainly) and you should collect them as well, selling them to your local scrap yard.
Please consider that those are not a definite numbers, and yields may vary significantly with different types of RAM memory, but as basic rule of thumb this are usually the yields from assorted scrap RAM memory sticks.
Fingers: 0.6 – 0.9 grams of gold per 100 RAM units
Monolithic Ceramic Capacitors: Palladium; 1.5-3% by mass. Silver; 3-9% by mass.
IC Chips: Variation too great.