The cryptocurrency debacle is having a positive effect on video card prices. Over the past few weeks we have not only seen a steady increase in inventory, but a massive second hand GPU sale at rock bottom prices. If you are considering buying one of the latter to upgrade your equipment, beware! While it may seem appealing, the reality is that you could end up with a headache.
Some GeForce RTX 30 used to mine cryptocurrencies are sold at attractive prices in Asian markets, however, come with many problems. In accordance with Wccftecha user bought a GeForce RTX 3080 for about 510 euros, a bargain at that price.
The detail is that your GPU no longer registered the amount of original VRAM memory due to the fact that two modules stopped working. The user found that his RTX 3080 only had 8 GB, as opposed to 10 or 12 GB of the models sold in the market. The modules may have given way to wear, but the card continued to operate thanks to the memory controller and ECC.
Cases like this could multiply in the coming months due to the indiscriminate offer of cards that appear on websites with second-hand products. Although some mention that a second-hand GPU from an enthusiastic gamer “spends more” than one found in a rig of cryptocurrencies, the truth is that there are factors such as flashing of BIOS, undervolt, constant changes of thermal paste and other adjustments necessary for cope with the burden of being on 24/7 for a long time.
In the most extreme cases, components end up damaged and only one reballing can rescue them.
What you should know before buying a second-hand GPU
Before opening the wallet it is necessary to follow some steps. It is almost a fact that if the card was used to mine cryptocurrencies, the seller will omit this information. Do not venture to pay without first reviewing its operation. The first thing you should do is perform a hardware inspection to find certain details.
if you notice discoloration or debris on the motherboard is that it was subjected to high temperatures for a long time. Oil near the chip means thermal compound is leaking, while no thermal paste means it ran without proper cooling.
After checking the hardware it is important to analyze the BIOS. techpowerup has an updated database which you can use to compare the GPU BIOS with that of models on the market with the help of GPU-Z. This software also helps you confirm if you have suffered overclock. The last step is to run a benchmark with FurMark to know if the card works as expected (does not overheat) or with 3DMark to compare performance with other results on the internet.
These steps are necessary, although if the first inspection of the hardware detects bent or loose components, corrosion on the board, if the heatsink “dances” or there is simply something that looks strange, do not risk it. Needless to say, but a card that does not have enough ports is a model for cryptocurrency miningEven if the seller says otherwise.
The only one that you should never do is buy a used GPU online based on product photos, unless it includes protection to get your money back. On pages like eBay or MercadoLibre there is protection for the buyer. AliExpress allows you to initiate a dispute, although the seller may require that you send the product to China to receive a full refund.
With all this, is it worth the risk?
The short answer is no. Why take chances with hardware that has been operating non-stop for months or years in conditions it was not designed for? While a second-hand GPU sold by an enthusiastic gamer may come with similar issues due to extreme usage, the best thing to do right now is to avoid those deals that seem too good to be true.
The video card prices decrease over time and the inventory is regularized. It’s likely that soon you’ll be able to order an RTX 3080 at the recommended price without having to hunt for it on multiple sites.