With the world going through a crypto-currency mining meltdown, the market is seeing an influx in the number of used mined-on GPUs flooding the market. There has been a corresponding increase in demand for them, mostly because of a fake sense of purchasing parity caused by the new GPUs hitting the shelves at near MSRP.
Cryptocurrency mining is a process that requires a lot of energy and computing power. This process can damage graphics cards, making them less effective for gaming and other uses. Furthermore, mined cards are often very heavily abused, narrowing the odds of the card dying.
So, if you’re looking to buy a GPU in 2022, we recommend that you avoid mined ones. Instead, look for alternatives that will be more affordable and better for the environment. Despite the fact that mining graphics cards are not inherently problematic, the hazards frequently exceed the cost savings.
In this article, we will explore the reasons why buying a mined graphics card is not a good idea and what you can do instead.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the opinions of the writer
Issues with purchasing a secondhand mining GPU
1) Problems with VRAM
VRAM is the first thing to consider when buying a mined GPU. Memory on cards has a lifetime, much like any other type of memory.
A user who purchased an RTX 3080 to be used for mining said that his GPU, which is meant to have 10GB of VRAM, only has 8GB. In reality, several memory modules have failed, and the card has been reconfigured to use 8GB of remaining memory.
Fewer VRAM modules mean less memory bandwidth, or the amount of data that can be transported to and from the VRAM in a second, in addition to capacity. Fewer bandwidth results from fewer modules.
However, receiving a card with less VRAM than you anticipated is hardly the worst-case scenario. Having a card with memory that is about to fail would be much worse because it is possible that it would just stop working while being used and become completely worthless.
Since replacing memory modules on your own is almost impossible, the only practical course of action for repair is to send the device back to the manufacturer for service.
2) Over-worked and worn-out fans
Fans may only run for a few hours each day on a normal PC. This is especially true for GPU models that don't allow the fans to run until a specific temperature is met (usually around 50 C), known as fan strop, 0 DB mode, and so on.
Although fan problems are not unusual, complete fan failure is highly exceptional. With a card that is only utilized for standard desktop tasks like online surfing, gaming, and work, fans often last for years before failing.
However, since mining cards are anticipated to operate continuously and do medium to heavyweight activities, fans will constantly be spinning at a greater RPM. Even the best bearings eventually lose their effectiveness.
3) Possible risk of voiding warranty
Used mining GPUs are likely to be in terrible condition, and a manufacturer's warranty won't protect them. There is a very significant probability that warranty coverage will be refused, even if the card's warranty hasn't yet run out and may be transferred from the original owner.
Many companies' warranties (including those from EVGA, Asus, and Gigabyte) expressly declare that products used for mining are not covered by their terms and conditions. Others simply mention that "improper usage," "neglect," or "misuse" voids the guarantee; we can assume that mining comes under at least one of these headings.
Used mining graphics cards that have been modified may also no longer be covered by the warranty. Most manufacturers will refuse warranty coverage if the cooler is removed. They have procedures in place to determine whether this has occurred, often by placing a label over a screw.
A secondhand mining GPU is probably going to have undergone some modification at some point.
The above-mentioned reasons are why it is absurd to purchase an old mining card at any cost. These cards are most certainly close to failure, and the chances of receiving any warranty coverage are limited to none, which means any repairs will be costly.
The worst-case scenario is that there are no fixes available and you have to purchase a new graphics card. The idea of purchasing an old mining GPU doesn't make sense, given these dangers.
How can you avoid purchasing a secondhand mining GPU by mistake?
The majority of miners have many reasons to hide the fact that the GPUs they're selling are used for mining.
The most apparent indication that a graphics card has been used for mining is usually the seller themselves. However, ads at low prices or without the original box may also be a cause for concern.
There's a significant probability that a vendor selling many cards at once gets them from a mining setup, especially if they're not all the same type.