Selling vs refining PI products

This has probably been asked a milion time, but I want to ask more experienced people about my situation.

-I don’t need to haul. My corp has buybacks and buys at a decent Jita percentage
-POCOS belongs to my corp, so taxes are really low.
-I do my PI in a -0.9 system, so the extraction yields a lot of materials
-All my 5 planets are in the same system of the HQ where I sell my stuff to the buyback.

Doing a bit of calculation. (I’m producing smartfabs)

In my P1 -> P3 chain factory i put 13k of each four P1 components to make smartfabs. (2 inputs launchpads)

I prepare a factory and let it run until the input materials runs out and at the same time I start and let my mining planets do their job from zero (empty storage) getting me the P1 (axtraction+ refinement into P1), resetting them once a day.

How I end up? My 4 mining planets (extract + P1) generate much more income in the same amount of time my 1 factory planet generates smartfabs (confronting Jita prices to make and estimate).
Or in other words. My P3 refinement generates (for an average example) 20 mils in 24 hours while my 4 mining planets (again, extract + P1) generate 23/25 mils woth of P1 IN THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME. Do that for a week and the spread increases exponentially.
This is a P1/P3 comparison. If I consider P0/P3, the spread increases even more, so even by refining raw P0s I lose money and time.

I did a bit of research online, and that confirms my calculations.
The threads end always with the same argument. You refine stuff so that it takes less space in hauling.
Just that?

Then, what’s the incentive to refine if I lose MONEY AND TIME for each PI tier I refine?? Just less space for the logistic dudes?

An idiotic and horrendous analogy: I’m a cook who also owns a wheat field (makes the bread), a slaughter house (meat), a grocery field (salad) and a tomato field (ketchup).
Why should I waste time making sandwiches if I can earn more in the same time frame by selling the four resources (bread, meat, ketchup and salad) individually?

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It’s basically depends on what you (or your Corp/Alliance) need. I assume that you primarily do PI (Planetary Production) to earn ISK passively. If you however would also like to consider what your Corp/Alliance needs, it could make it worth your time to refine your PI past Tier 2.

Your setup is as follows?:

  • 1 (Base Metals) Extraction > Reactive Metals
  • 1 (Felsic Magma) Extraction > Silicon
  • 1 (Heavy Metals) Extraction > Toxic Metals
  • 1 (Non-CS Crystals) Extraction > Chiral Structures
  • 1 “Factory” Planet (P2 and P3)

What sort of Cycle Timer are you using? As you know, this influences the amount of resources you can extract. I usually use a 24h Cycle Timer.

My P4 setup, using 11 planets (2 characters), was and I could earn 1 bn á month producing Organic Mortar Applicators/Sterile Conduits:

  • 9 P2 “Extraction” Planets: Viral Agents, 2x Consumer Electronics, Livestock, Mechanical Parts, Construction Blocks, Miniature Electronics, Oxides, Coolant
  • 1 P1 “Extraction” Planet: Water and Bacteria
  • 1 “Factory” Planet: refining P2 into P4; Sterile Conduits or Organic Mortar Applicators.

While this sort of setup is not optimized for maximum productivity, it does generate a fair bit of ISK for the time spent managing it, about 20 min/day.

Now back to your dilemma; perhaps you’d be better off just refining your resources into P2 product (Miniature Electronics and Construction Blocks). It’s commonly assumed that the ISK/m³ peaks at P2, and deteriorating drastically at P3 and P4. I’d estimate that with 5-6 Planets (single Character) you can expect to be making 500 mil or more per month, anything more than that is excellent.


Yes, exactly like that. And I reset my extractors every 24h, too.

And to your previous statment: yes, I’m doing it just to earn some ISK passively, excellent when you have to train other skills or you are busy with something else. My corp didn’t specify the need for anyting, I just rationally planned what P3 I could produce given the planets in our home system, and smartfabs was one of the best candidates. :slight_smile:

That’s exaclty what my calculations where all about. P0 is the most valuable but takes an enormous amount of space, and P4 the opposite. So the sweet spot is, pretty much, P1 or P2, right in the middle.

The dilemma is not only about income, that can be immediatly figured out by doing some basic math. I wonder why any player looking for a passive income, like me, would refine stuff even more. The economic side of EVE is what I love the most.
Sure, if your corp/alliance/friends/whatever needs to manufacture specific things for specific reasons and they require more refined parts, that’s totally justified. But in a “capitalist” view, it just cuts down profits. Again, not by much at the beginning, but it increases exponentially the more you compact P0s into P4s.

I’ll do some more runs to confirm this theory. I’ll also learn something in the end :slight_smile:

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You’re in a system with a very low sec status (-0.9), which means you’re extractors are pulling out much more P0 than someone in hi-sec would get. On the other hand, factories are every bit as efficient in hi-sec as they are in null. So while you’re seeing extraction being the most profitable, someone in hi-sec would think the opposite and wonder why anyone would bother with extracting when refining is that much better.

If logistics weren’t an issue, players in null would extract and players in hi-sec would refine. But Eve doesn’t have magical instant-teleporters (which is a good thing), so both sides have to find a compromise solution between expected profits and the burdens of hauling.

On a different note, your corp may not be happy if you overload their buyback program with P0. It uses up 4 times as much space as the amount of P1 you can produce with it and if you replace all factories with more extractors, the total volume of your output is going to increase even further. The price-per-volume of many P0 commodities is at or below typical prices for JF services from null to a trade hub.


In continuation of Erin’s post, if you look at the value of what you can haul using a Jump Freighter vs the cost to haul.
Jump Freighter hauling 330k m³:

  • P1 = 868421 units = 528,555,757.40 ISK
  • P2 = 220000 units = 2,562,126,600 ISK
  • P3 = 55000 units = 5,318,157,900 ISK
  • P4 = 3300 units = 5,845,640,790 ISK

Cost for jumping is estimated at 148,500,000 ISK (my current Alliance’s logistic fee, 450k ISK per 1k m³), so hauling wise it’s best to haul P3 or P4 to achieve the best buck for the efford.

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Also consider the value of your time. Making P2 on a planet is very low maintenance. Reset your extractors every 2-3 days, collect your product every week or two. If you are doing PI with 1 or 2 characters it’s not a big deal. If you have 3 or 4 accounts each with 3 characters each with 6 planets, time constraints will force you to choose a less labor intensive setup.

Maybe one of the toon trained to max the IC and CCU to V then makes it the factory character for all of your PI accounts? So you can make compressing further more fast and efficient?

Yeah, with the cost of reducing the number extractor planet you have. Might be good for people with two or more PI account.

Because hauling P0 is a goliath level of task.

Or, or, OR…
You the one buys them P0 from your corpsmate and slap a good pricetag to haul them off. Have you try the math for it? The number might impressive if you have silver tongue and can convince your corpsmates.

This has the same issue as T3 cruiser or T1 frigate production.

P3 and p4 all though in theory for the amount of work it takes should cost more but production way outscales the demand.
People rarely need p4, and most people that need p2 or producing their own and normally need to buy p1 that are from specific planets, like silicon or oxidizing.

When people do need p4, its for stuff like plantary offices for wormholes, which rarely happen but takes A LOT of it.

Which is why the cost randomly spikes, but then drops.


actually the P4 market is pretty active as compared to the other tiers. P4 is used in huge quantities for building structures. Sure the prices fluctuate, that is how a market works after all, but if you look at the sales volumes in Jita, you can see huge numbers.

And you can earn a lot of money by refining P1 or P2 to P4.


You may be right, I only recently got back.
I plated pre citidels

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