Is it worth buying a GPU previously used for mining?

The advent of video cards used for cryptocurrency mining in the used market raises many questions, we are trying to answer them now.

In some countries, the mining of cryptocurrencies has been banned, while others choose to sell used video cards because they are just settling their positions, buying new ones. Or they just get out of business. Surprisingly, the latter is a rational move nowadays, as the profitability of cryptocurrency mining continues to decline as exchange rates rise.

But the reasons aren’t really interesting, the point is that from time to time a lot of used video cards appear on the market at a time when there is a constant shortage of new products. So more and more people are asking the question:

is it worth considering buying a used GPU if the description also says in black and white that the card was used for cryptocurrency mining?

In fact, of course, you never know when the moment will come when miners will decide to sell en masse. Falling exchange rates, high prices for video cards, and legal regulations can all result in suddenly more GPUs becoming available in the second-hand market. So if you’re thinking about buying a used video card (too), you need to keep an eye out for online classifieds, as luck can smile at us at any time.

Pitfalls that are worth noticing

In general, buying a used product is risky. For example, there is probably no warranty on the product (although there are manufacturers who can transfer the warranty if it is still valid), so even if you have to pay less than the modern price, there is always every chance that the money spent will end up in the trash. .

Obviously, the biggest fear may arise that the used card will run slower than the new one and / or break down prematurely.

As with any used product, when you buy a used video card, you can’t know for sure exactly where and in what environment that gadget was used. However, a video card is not a car, even a ten-year-old hardware works smoothly without any problems (= power loss) so that it has up to another 10-20 years, provided there are no moving parts in it. And it’s not in a video card, except of course the fan. This, in turn, can be easily and inexpensively replaced in the event of a failure.

Thus, the lifespan and performance of a chip is not reduced by the mere fact that it has been used – here, however, the small part is because it is only valid if the chip has not overheated during use. This is because heat generation is one of the biggest threats to the life of a chip.

Fortunately, video cards used for mining are not typically not tuned, but just run at lower voltages and clock speeds, which is a good starting point. Unfortunately, however, it is not possible to know whether the room where it operated was adequately ventilated. If not, it could easily be that the RAM is often on the verge of overheating, in which case the card will automatically reduce performance, but it can be seen that if this is repeated repeatedly, it will sooner or later lead to memory being permanently damaged. .

What does this mean in practice? If the card works when we buy it, it’s probably nothing. Provided we can provide proper cooling, the depreciation of the GPU and RAM will slow down to such an extent that it will not be a problem. However, it is worth noting that GDDR6x cards are more prone to overheating (GeForce 3070/80/80 Ti / 90), these should be avoided.

Questions and answers

Although not a life insurance policy, you may want to ask the seller when you took the card, how long and under what conditions you used it, and whether you took the factory voltage and clock values ​​lower. Obviously a person from far away says what he wants, but if there is a kind of prior communication and there is still a problem with the product later, it can be helpful to have something in our hands that we can use to prove that the seller tried to deceive us.

A much better, but unfortunately not necessarily feasible, solution is to test the card before making a purchase – in the presence of the seller. In the absence of a trial, you should at least visually inspect the card. It can be a telltale sign if the cooling has been replaced (the problem here is not the replacement itself, but the fact that you don’t know how much the card “went” until you noticed the cooling fault), the thermal paste has leaked, or if there is too much dirt. on the fan blades, between the ribs, or possibly between the heat sink and the card.

Or, of course, any other physical injury or “burn mark” is also a warning. Many sellers are readily available, but only with photos – in which case it’s worth a minimum of suspicion. And keep in mind that cleaning a card isn’t a big deal, so if everything is spotless, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have to be careful.

Agree with the presenter that you will take the card back for three days if you have any problems with it. As this is a used product, the trial period is not unreasonable. And three days is just enough for us to thoroughly test the new composition. It is very important that it is not enough to just test with games to see if the card does not freeze or produce image defects, a stress test is definitely needed that takes full advantage of both the GPU and memory. There are several options, and benchmark programs are a good choice because their evaluation also provides a good basis for comparison.

It won’t be cheap that way either

Nowadays, used video cards are not very cheap either, which is mainly due to the fact that it is almost impossible to buy a new card – whoever manages still pays for it well above the realistic price. Used cards are just cheaper, not cheap. In general, however, we can say that if there are no clear signs of wear and tear, the purchase does not carry too much risk. And if the GPU survives the first three days, 99 percent will have no problem with it later.

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Source: PC World Online Hírek by pcworld.hu.

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