Since the new GPUs are sold at outrageous prices, people are now looking for used graphics card options. Every now and then, cryptocurrencies go crazy, and miners would get their hands on some of the best graphics cards. Due to this, it is often impossible to find GPUs at a decent price.
Besides, gamers who wished to buy new GPUs have also experienced potential bankruptcy and frustration over the past few years. On top of that, the global semiconductor shortage and the advancement of bitcoin mining resulted in increasing GPU prices.
Thus, during this time, buying a used GPU seems like a better option. Well, in some cases, choosing it may be beneficial but you must be a little cautious while considering it.
Risks of Buying a Used Graphics Card
The most significant risk while buying a used graphics card is that you’ll probably get the one that was used for mining. These cards might have run for days, weeks, or months at full power.
So, when the constant high power couples with heat and taxing workload, there are chances that the card may damage the onboard circuitry and fail sooner than expected. If the card wasn’t ventilated properly for some reason, then the situation may even get worse.
Unfortunately, there’s also no way to tell if the graphics card was used for mining or how long it will last. However, if your seller accepts that it was used for mining, then it is best to stay away from it.
What Must You Look for While Buying a Used Graphics Card?
1. Compare the price of the old-gen card with the new-gen card
If you’re purchasing a used graphics card with the hope of saving some money, then you need to check its current price and performance. Be it the new one or the old one, it is expected to see a price bump when the demand increases.
Let’s say you go to eBay and look for used GTX 980s. These will probably cost you around $300-$400. If you compare GTX 980 with a newer version, such as GTX 1060, then the latter may lack in performance but it has more advantages than the former.
For example, it is new, has more vRAM, uses less power, and can be under warranty. In that case, GTX 1060 is a safer and better option than GTX 980.
2. Run the GPU through a stress test
Some cards fail to work properly when they need to perform at 100%. So, doing a stress test will help you determine whether the card is stable under a heavy load or not. While running the stress test, also check if the fans spin correctly. Some GPUs tend to turn off the fan when idle.
3. Closely examine the board
You must always evaluate the reward or risk of buying a used graphics card. It will help you to land a better deal than the new graphics card. So, make sure that you immediately test the card as soon as it arrives.
See if it works fine. In case you find any discoloration on the card’s PCB, it is obvious that it is damaged by heat and won’t last long.
So, think it through before you plan to buy a used graphics card. If you’re hesitating even for a bit now, then it’s a good thing as there are always chances that you may end up spending a lot on something non-functional.
However, in the case of desperate times, like when you’re trying to get into PC gaming or your GPU completely fails, you may consider buying a used GPU.