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Buying Used Mining GPU in 2022: A Complete Guide

6 Mins read

In this article I’m going to show you the five best tips and tricks to buy a graphics card safely in 2022. Now, recently there has been a lot of discussion on this topic, especially on YouTube since many cryptominers have started selling off their mining GPUs due cryptocurrency mining becoming unprofitable. Many YouTubers are now telling people to avoid buying used graphics cards, but in reality, this is all nonsense.

I’ve been buying mining cards for a decade now. They’re totally fine. There is no problem with them. And these five tips that I’m going to give you work for mining cards and the non-mining cards alike, and if you follow these five tips you will be just fine.

1. Just buy the graphics card off of eBay.

Now, if you buy the card off of eBay, you can pretty much ignore the other tips because eBay always sides with the buyer when it comes to purchasing protection. What is that mean? That means you can go and you can buy a card, even if it is a scam. You get the box or get some graphics card that you bought. You have 30 days, or more to test that card out and you can refund it and return it hassle-free.

Now, a lot of people don’t know this, but even if the seller puts no returns accepted, you can still return it. All you have to do is put defective card and eBay will always give you your money back. So, what you do? You go buy the card, you get the card, and then you stress test it as hard as possible for the next week or two. You just stress it out and if it doesn’t blow up, then you are good. If it does blow up – that sounds like the seller’s problem.

On that matter, if you are selling a graphics cards, eBay takes a little too extreme in that regard where the buyer can actually send you back a different graphics card and get refunded and just scam you. So, if you’re selling graphics cards, avoid eBay like the plague. Buyer always buy eBay, seller never sell eBay. Now, if eBay isn’t an option, that means you can use Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

2. Go to the seller’s house

This brings us to tip number two. Now when conversing with the seller, you need to just straight up ask him “Are you okay with me coming to your house?” and “Are you okay with me testing the card?”. Now, why do you want to go to their house besides just testing the card? Because if the person allows you into their home, they are letting you know where they live. There is no shady business there. Right away you know the card is 99.9% chance, not a scam.

Now, I understand that as a seller it may be uncomfortable for people to come into your house like strangers. That’s totally fine and that’s fair. Now, from the perspective of the buyer, if you have a problem with your card, then you know exactly where that guy lives and that you can get your money back. If you use Craiglist, there is a high chance that you’ll never come into this kind of situation. This is especially true for 2022, because right now it is a buyers’ market, and not a sellers’ market. So, if some guy out there insists on a “Starbucks meet up, cash only, no testing”, then you can simply say “Sorry dude, I’m going to a different person because there’s a guy charging five dollars more than you to let me into his house”. It is as simple as that.

3. Buy newer cards

If you are buying a used AMD graphics card, only get the 6000 series ones. Do not get 5000. Don’t get Vega or Polaris cards. Only get 6000 series cards. For example, 6600 and up. Those ones are cheap enough now. You can afford any price range and those ones are new enough that you know you’re not going to have any problems with them. They are all also so efficient that even if they were mined on for Ethereum, they don’t pull any power and they don’t get hot, so you don’t have to worry about that with AMD cards at all.

Avoid used NVIDIA cards with SK Hynix VRAM modules

Now, NVIDIA. If you are buying Turing RTX 20 series cards, make sure that seller shows you that the GPU-Z says Samsung memory on it. If you are buying RTX 30 series cards NVIDIA kind of did the work for us on that one. Just ask for LHR variant. It will say LHR in GPU-Z on the very top. Now these cards were not sought after by miners, and even if they were, the LHR variant came halfway through the generation of the RTX 30 series so they have half the time mining on them than the regular ones do. Also, all miners actively sought after the non-LHR versions. So, if someone is advertising non-LHR, they are probably a miner. This is fine, but there’s just no point in going for those when the LHR ones are newer and fresher.

Now, the GDDR6X cards, the 3070 Ti and up – there is a little bit more nuance to that story. However, don’t let that scare you. Many miners who invest in expensive high-end graphics cards actually take really good care of them. They regularly change thermal pads on their GPUs, and make sure that they never run at temps higher than 70 degrees Celsius.

4. Avoid the RTX 3090

Do not buy these cards unless they’ve been water blocked or they are from EVGA or a manufacturer that allows transferable warranty. The only reason the RTX 3090 is the exception is because it has memory on the back of the card and most people didn’t cool that at all.

The RTX 3090s are prone to overheating

The problem is there’s no way for you to know how well the card was taking care of. But if it has a water block on it, the guy who is selling it is usually going to be kind of an enthusiast in the first place. Most people that water block their cards are gamers. There is no crazy mining stuff going on here. So, water block is a good way to go.

5. Go for cards with water blocks

Look for graphics cards ads that say “Optional water block with it”, or “Comes with water block”. The reason being exactly as it was before. Cards that are under water will literally last forever because there’s no temperature fluctuations on those cards. So, the best ones to go for are the ones that are water blocked or have been water blocked. Now you don’t have to buy the water block. You’re just looking for the ad that says “Extra water block for 50 bucks”, or whatever. Those are the ones you want to go for.

Used liquid cooled cards are usually sold in top conditon

6. Trust your gut

Now bonus tip here is very important. Seems pretty common sense, but trust your gut. Humans have an innate ability to sense when something is wrong or off about another human being. So, if you’re in a situation where something doesn’t feel right about the card that you’re holding in your hand or the guy they are talking to on Facebook or Craigslist, just say stuff like “Thank you for your time”, and “I’ll think about it”, and “I’ll get back to you”. Simply be very polite and leave the situation. It is simple as that. You never have to feel pressured to buy anything.

7. Degradation is unpredictable

Keep in mind that degradation can be random a lot of the time. So just because a card is a regular GDDR6, it doesn’t mean it can’t fail. For example, some Gigabyte RTX 3060 Ti Vision cards are known to fail after only five months of mining. To check if the card really has degraded, you can perform a simple test. Go to the sellers house and make him mine Ethereum with the card he is trying to sell to you. If the miner throws up a memory error, and it can’t load the DAG file, it means the card has degraded. That’s one way you can check, but it may not be easy to persuade the seller to run mining software in his house.

What you can do it instead is you can load up 3DMark Time Spy benchmark and you want to use graphics test number 2. This is the one that heats up the memory by a lot. You want to only run Time Spy number 2 and you want to loop it, so it will constantly loop and heat up the memory as much as possible. If the card has degraded, you’re actually going to see visual artifacts on the screen before it crashes. So, if you were at the guy’s house and this should happen, be like “Yeah, I’m good bro. I’m good. Thanks for your time.”

Final words

And that’s all, folks. Follow this guide and you’ll be sitting pretty with a nice $500 GeForce RTX 3080 Ti that will last you until the end time. I hope you learned some. If you like the content, consider supporting our work here at ViCadia by purchasing products through our affiliate links, or by simply sharing this guide with others on social media. Also feel free to comment down below your experience when you’ve bought in the mining card before that didn’t work or that failed a short time after you’ve purchased it.

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About author
Frank is the Editor-in-Chief at ViCadia. He is an avid PC gamer, as well as a tech enthusiast. Besides being a tireless writer, he is also ViCadia’s web developer.
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