It’s no secret that a big reason for graphics card shortages the past 2 years has been due to crypto miners snatching them up at every chance they could get. So for a lot of us we’ve still been waiting to get our hands on a brand new RTX 30 or RX 6000 series GPU. However, beware of second-hand cards in the market right now, as some are being sold with dead memory chips.
That doesn’t mean the cards won’t work at all, mind you, it just means they won’t be performing as well as they usually would. Which is understandable anyway considering that most of them have been left on 24/7 at maximum power for months (or even years!) at a time.
The reason these GPUs are suddenly flooding the market is because a recent crypto crash has forced a lot of miners to sell off their stock in order to recoup some of their costs. The problem is that it can be hard to tell if a card has been used for mining or just daily use, the latter obviously running less of a risk for reduced performance.
One horror story involves a user who purchased an RTX 3080 online and then later found out that 2GB of their 10GB card had been completely burnt out, leaving them with an 8GB card. However, they did only pay $536 for it, which usually costs around $1000 from inflated prices. So at least there is some silver lining to the story (sort of, I guess?).
Normally, when a memory module dies inside a graphics card, that GPU now fails to post. However, this can be bypassed with a technique known as memory shielding, allowing miners to continue using a card even after those memory chips are completely burnt out. Theoretically, you could replace those memory parts, but it’ll be very hard anyway.
So beware when searching for GPU deals at the moment. The RTX 3080 isn’t even the most popular card used by miners, so considering an RTX 3080 was found with these issues, it’s more than likely that other cards on the market right now can also be found with dead memory chips.
What do you think? Have you seen any second hand GPUs flood the market recently? Are the deals worth the risk? Or do you think it would still be better to buy one brand new from a reputable seller? Let us know your thoughts!