Finding a Graphic Cards that is both strong now and future-proof may be expensive.
And when you throw in crypto miners and their insatiable need for new technology, the cost issue for new GPUs only worsens.
As a result, secondhand GPUs may be fairly appealing since they are substantially less expensive than new ones. However, if you don’t know what you’re searching for, you can end up with a secondhand bitcoin mining card.
Let’s look at why you shouldn’t buy old mining cards and how to tell whether a GPU has been changed for mining.
Should You Purchase a Pre-Owned Crypto Mining GPU?
Every silicone component, whether a CPU or a GPU, has a certain lifetime. You can’t utilize a GPU indefinitely because thermal damage to the GPU increases over time.
When Graphic Cards are overworked, they get heated. If the heat is not promptly removed, it might permanently harm the silicone. As a result, manufacturers outfit GPUs with cooling methods.
However, controlling heat can only go so far.
Every GPU develops damage over time, and the pace of GPU damage increases substantially if you use it continuously for strenuous activities, such as crypto mining.
In other words, you don’t want to buy a secondhand crypto mining GPU since you may not receive the performance you paid for. In severe circumstances, you may wind up with a defective item or something on the point of failing completely. Furthermore, miners often modify their GPUs for mining purposes. For example, they may have overclocked the GPU or installed a fresh BIOS.
As a result, you must ensure that if you acquire a used GPU, it is not a used mining GPU that has been modified.
1. Examine the Hardware
The hardware is the first item to look at. The hardware profile of GPUs designed expressly for mining differs. A mining GPU, for example, may not have any connectors for output to a monitor. This is a clear indication that the GPU is not intended for gaming.
Next, inspect the printed circuit board for any anomalies (PCB). Is there any staining? When a GPU is exposed to high temperatures for an extended length of time, the PCB might brown.
Similarly, inspect the board to determine whether there is any residue. Residue may indicate that the GPU has been subjected to a great deal of stress at high temperatures.
Next, do you see any oil on the chips? Thermal compounds may be seeping onto the board if there is oil or residue near the GPU. This is due, once again, to the circumstances that mining GPUs are subjected to.
Finally, disassemble the GPU cooling solution and check for enough thermal compound on the chips. The absence of any thermal compound may indicate that the GPU has been operating for an extended period of time with insufficient cooling.
So, before committing to a GPU, be sure to examine all of these concerns. If you see any anomalies and think that the hardware is pointing to a mining GPU, you should locate another one.
2. Examine the GPU BIOS
Miners often flash their GPUs with a fresh BIOS to maximize the card’s mining performance. These improvements might involve lowering memory timings, raising memory clock rates, undervaluing the card to improve thermals, and speeding up overall processing.
The issue with a crypto mining BIOS is that it is ineffective for gaming. For example, you may experience decreased performance. Games may even fail to start in some cases. As a result, you must determine if your card has a changed BIOS. However, this is easier said than done.
GPUs lack any built-in system for tracking various BIOS versions that have been flashed on their card. Instead, you can only examine the card’s current BIOS version and verify whether it matches any previously known versions.
3. Execute GPU Benchmarks
Mining GPUs may have worse performance than non-mining GPUs. Because cryptocurrency mining GPUs are often used 24 hours a day, they may sustain lasting damage, lowering their performance and, in some cases, rendering them irreparable.
Run a GPU benchmark test, such as Furmark, and compare your results to fresh new ones on the internet.
If you notice a significant performance difference, your card may be damaged. This might indicate that the previous owner used the card for mining.
However, even if you use a mining card, there may or may not be a substantial performance difference. Mining cards’ performance isn’t always diminished, particularly if they’ve only been utilized for a brief time. Performance deficiencies become more difficult to identify if the GPU was used with proper cooling, but they may also signal that the used GPU is in excellent working order.
4. Examine for Overclocking
Mining GPUs often feature overclocked memory speeds, in addition to hardware and software changes. Overclocking the VRAM speed and GPU frequency may dramatically increase the hash rate, hence practically all miners do it.
It is simple to check for overclocking. First, if you haven’t already, download and install GPU-Z. Run the software and keep track of the clock speeds. Then, compare your card’s clock speeds to those of others on the internet.
Not All Cryptocurrency Mining Cards Are Dangerous
You have no choice but to go elsewhere if a mining card has been updated and cannot be used for gaming.
However, if a mining card has a display output, no hardware damage, and a regular BIOS, it is probable that it may be used for gaming without trouble.
So, if you can only find a used GPU that was previously used for crypto mining, go for it, but proceed with care and first go through our GPU checklist.