Buy used graphics card: Should You Buy a Used Graphics Card?

Should You Buy a Used Graphics Card?

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Should you buy a used graphics card? Every few years, cryptocurrencies seem to go nuts and the best graphics cards all disappear into the eager hands of miners. The past two years proved to be a particularly rough time, as component shortages and supply chain issues combined with the pandemic and cryptocurrency miners to make it nearly impossible to find a decent price on a GPU. That house of cards has finally collapsed, and GPU prices are dropping quickly, especially on used cards. Which raised the question: Should you consider buying a used graphics card:?

We’re not alone in warning of the dangers of secondhand GPUs. Recently, graphics card maker Palit warned that 24/7 GPU mining could reduce a GPU’s performance by around 10% per year. Of course, Palit also sells Galax and KFA2 branded GPUs, and it has a vested interest in gamers buying new cards rather than used cards. That goes for every add-in card (AIC) partner of AMD and Nvidia, and if they’re trying to clear inventory on current generation GPUs before the next generation stuff launches later this year, used cards simply represent more competition.

With cryptocurrency mining profitability now in the toilet — an RTX 3090 only nets about $1 per day, an RTX 3080 is down to around $0.80 per day, and the Radeon RX 6900 XT/6800 XT/6800 will do about $0.60 per day — many of the large mining farms are ready to pocket their current gains or cut their losses, selling off used hardware in bulk. You can finally buy an upgraded GPU for less than MSRP, in other words, sometimes a lot less when you buy used.

But even if you can buy a used card, should you? Here are the things you should know when you’re considering buying a used graphics card.

Price and Performance: Searching for a Deal 

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There’s a process to determining what GPU you should buy, and it starts with knowing your budget and setting realistic performance expectations. Whatever budget you’re considering, keep our GPU benchmarks hierarchy handy. That’s the best way to see how the various GPUs from different generations stack up.

There’s basically nothing from the prior generations that can match the performance of a current generation RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT, but an RTX 2070 Super as an example will still generally outperform the newer RTX 3060. For budget cards, there are even more options. The RX 6500 XT might be relatively new, but it offers less performance than the GTX 1060 6GB from 2016.

We’re starting to see a lot more used GPUs hitting places like eBay now. The sage advice is that you should skip buying a used card, as you don’t want to inherit someone else’s problems just to save a few bucks. Except, we’re potentially not talking about saving just a few bucks.

The GeForce RTX 3060 is supposed to start at $330, according to Nvidia’s MSRP, but the cheapest new cards currently sell for $400 on the retail market. Turning to eBay, the average sold price over the past week was $377. Saving $23 by buying used? No thanks! However, some auctions have gone for under $300, and that’s enough to potentially sway some buyers. Alternatively, the RTX 2070 is only slightly slower and had an average eBay price of $326, with some auctions going for as little as $260. Would you be willing to go with a used card of similar performance if you could save $140, or about one third of the price? That’s the conundrum we face.

Basically, you need to determine whether a used card represents a deal or not. For a current-generation card, that probably means 10–20% below the official MSRP for a used card that’s supposed to cost under $700, but you might be able to find a GeForce RTX 3090 as an example for less than half the original MSRP.

Also note that average eBay prices for the latest generation GPUs (Nvidia Ampere and AMD RDNA2) have dropped 10–15% every month for the past several months. Older generation cards have often dropped even more in prices since those are less desirable (see below). The RX 6600 as an example is a bit faster than a GTX 1080 Ti and uses 45% less power. By those metrics, a used GTX 1080 Ti would only make sense if the price was quite a bit less than the cost of an RX 6600, particularly since you can get the latter new.

Assume the Worst and Prepare for it 

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There’s no way to tell what the previous owner(s) might have done with a graphics card when you’re shopping online, so our advice is to assume the worst. Don’t trust the seller to give truthful information. Any listing that says it was «never used for mining» at this point is probably a lie. Some sellers will actually tell you that a card was used for mining, but even then we’d assume maximum overclocks and redlining, with cards potentially pushed beyond safe limits. We’d also be wary of «like new,» «open box,» or even «factory sealed» listings, as all can be faked.

Murphy’s Law is in full effect here. If something could have been done with a GPU, it probably was. But that doesn’t mean a card can’t be salvaged. Thermal pads and thermal paste can deteriorate over time, and dust can build up in the fan blades and heatsink fins. It’s possible a bit of cleaning and TLC will make a card that was struggling run like new. Factor in the cost of new pads and even new fans, as well as the time required to clean a card.

There’s an exception to this, however: If you can meet up in person for a purchase, you can tell a lot about a card just by looking at it. Check for dust, and check to see if the screws holding the card together have been removed. (Those «warranty void» stickers do actually have some benefit.) If someone has a card in hand and it looks clean, especially in the nooks and crevices, there’s a good chance it wasn’t mining flat out for a couple of years. This is where places like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist can be far better than buying from eBay.

Graphics Card Age Matters 

Like any product, age can make a big difference. We’re not dealing with antiques, where older means better. It’s more like buying a used car. If something is only a year old, even if it was driven hard, it should still have a warranty and is less likely to have serious problems. A car that’s ten years old with over 150,000 miles on the other hand could just be asking for trouble.

If you find a reasonable deal on an RTX 3050, worst-case, it’s been used 24/7 for mining since late January 2022 — and it wasn’t ever a really great mining GPU to begin with. While 24/7 mining will put more wear and tear on a card than gaming four or five hours a day, we’d still expect a card that’s less than a year old to run games without any issues. A GTX 1070 Ti meanwhile could have been used on and off for mining for more than four years, and even without mining, it might be a dirty mess.

In short, buying a used GPU that’s from the latest generation tends to be safer than buying a previous top-tier GPU from several years back. You might get lucky with a pristine GTX 1080 Ti, or you could end up with a 1080 Ti on its last legs, with VRMs or other components on the board that are starting to go bad. Plan accordingly.

Related somewhat to age, certain graphics cards haven’t been good for mining — particularly Ethereum mining — for a while. Right now, you need a GPU with over 4GB VRAM to even try to mine Ethereum, and that’s been the case for over a year. So if you’re in the market for a GTX 1060 3GB for whatever reason, as an example, you probably won’t get a card that was in the mines since birth. Not that we’d recommend a 3GB card these days.

Also, if you’re digging deep in the bargain bins, do note that AMD has now officially retired all R9 300-series and earlier GPUs, along with the R9 Fury / Nano cards. Only RX series cards still have active driver support. Nvidia has also retired driver support for GTX 700-series and earlier GPUs. That may not matter too much in the short term, but Windows 11 and future games may not run well or at all on older cards. If you want to play the latest releases, you’ll want at least an RX 400-series AMD GPU or a GTX 900-series Nvidia GPU.

Pay Close Attention to Return Stipulations 

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Generally speaking, if you buy something off eBay, even if the seller says «no returns accepted,» you can still ask for a refund if the product doesn’t work. But it’s better to deal with someone that has a normal 30-day return policy.

Related to this, you’ll be better off buying something from within your country of residence. While returning a faulty product to China might be possible, it takes a lot longer, and shipping will probably cost more. Plus, it might take a week or more to get to you in the first place, which isn’t fun if you just want a working graphics card.

You should also look at the seller’s history. Don’t buy anything from a brand-new seller, particularly if the deal looks too good to be true — it probably is! Someone with hundreds or thousands of past transactions won’t want to damage their reputation. Many graphics card companies also have eBay stores, which should be safer than other options (assuming they have any inventory in stock).

Pay close attention to the description as well, particularly for bogus «box only» or «picture» listings. For eBay, you can put a minus sign in front of terms you wish to exclude from your search results. We recommend using the following terms on any GPU searches:

-image -img -jpg -jpeg -pic -picture -png -parts -drawn -digital -box

AMD or Nvidia 

We’ve discussed AMD vs. Nvidia elsewhere, but that’s a look at the current state of affairs. If you’re buying a used graphics card, particularly one that’s more than a couple of years old, things could be quite different. You’ll want to pay attention to features, so ray tracing as an example is only supported on Nvidia’s RTX series or AMD’s RX 6000-series parts — not that you need ray tracing to play most games. DLSS also requires an Nvidia RTX card. Check the GPU power consumption as well, and make sure your PSU can provide enough juice for whatever card you’re considering.

Outside of those aspects, we don’t have any major concerns with buying an AMD or Nvidia card. Again, it goes back to performance and price as the main considerations. If you find a card that delivers the performance you want at an acceptable price, the GPU brand isn’t usually a critical factor.

Also pay attention to VRAM, which has become more of a factor with the latest games. GPUs with 4GB or less VRAM may limit the settings you can select in some games, and can even struggle to run some recent releases at low-quality settings. AMD tends to offer more VRAM for a similar price compared to Nvidia. Basically, if you want to play the latest games, 6GB should be the absolute minimum, and 8GB or more is a safer choice.

Stress Testing and Benchmarking 

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If you find a used card that meets all of your criteria and you decide to buy it, there’s still one final step once the card arrives: Test the hell out of it! Our graphics card reviews and benchmarks can give you some idea of what to expect in terms of performance, assuming you have a similarly fast CPU and system, but stability is just as important as speed for a used part.

We recommend breaking out some strenuous benchmarks once you get the card, to verify it works properly. 3DMark might suffice, but it’s most useful if you have a paid version where you can tell it to loop a test sequence 50 times. FurMark is a good torture test, but any demanding 3D game can suffice. You’ll want to have some other utilities running to check GPU temperatures, fan speeds, and power use. In fact, we have a whole article on how to test your graphics card.

The point is that you want to throw some serious work at the GPU to ensure it runs properly. If it doesn’t, the sooner you can ask for a refund and return the card, the better. You should also check clock speeds and memory speeds. If you’re only seeing 1500MHz while gaming on an RTX 2070, or your memory runs at a lower speed than it should, something is wrong. See our how to check your graphics card temperature for additional details.

If you run HWInfo64, MSI Afterburner, or some other utility and log the results, look for a decline in clocks accompanied by a fast ramp in temperatures. It’s not unusual to see 70–80 degrees Celsius on many GPUs, but anything above 80C tends to be worrisome. This does vary by GPU (e.g. AMD’s RX Vega cards tended to get hotter than competing GPUs), so do some research as well, but we prefer to keep our GPU temperatures in the 70s or below.

Final Thoughts on Buying a Used Graphics Card 

If reading this has you worried that you’ll spend a bunch of money on a used graphics card only to end up with a non-functional lemon, we’ve done our job. Given what we’ve seen from cryptomining over the past few years, we’d be hesitant to buy a used card as well. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and if your main GPU just went belly up or you’re hoping to get into PC gaming for the first time, you might need to consider a used GPU.

Dealing with a local seller (e.g. via Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist or similar) might offer you more peace of mind in some cases, but once you pay cash it becomes far more difficult to get a refund. eBay and auction sites aren’t necessarily great either, but eBay tends to side with buyers far more often than sellers. Shop from an established eBay seller with a long history (years of activity) and good feedback, and you probably (hopefully) won’t get burned.

Given the choice between buying a new graphics card for MSRP and saving a bit of money by going with a previous generation card that might perform a bit worse, we’d almost invariably advise PC gamers to suck it up and spend the extra money on a new card. It’s simply so much safer and less likely to cause problems. But if money is short or you’ve stumbled on a particularly compelling deal — and if you know how to clean and service a used GPU — there’s perhaps worse things you could do than buying a used graphics card.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: GPU Benchmarks and Hierarchy

MORE: All Graphics Content

Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom’s Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge ‘3D decelerators’ to today’s GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

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Graphics: Reviews, Testing and News About GPUs

6 things to consider before buying a used graphics card

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Especially if it’s on something that’s basically new or lightly used. We’ve been devoid of any such deals on graphics cards for the last few years, thanks to a combination of supply shortages, logistics woes, and booming cryptocurrency demands, but there’s finally good news! The GPU market has taken a nosedive, meaning that brand new retail Nvidia and AMD graphics cards are cheaper than ever. They’re still expensive, however, and GPU miners hurting from crypto’s crash are trying to sell off their hardware at significant discounts. So we now turn our attention to the used graphics card market.

There are deals to be found with used GPUs, but there are risks involved too. And is it even a good time to be shopping? We’re going to cover the top things that you need to know before buying a used GPU, ranging from the current market conditions to what you should look for with the graphics card itself. If you’d rather avoid all the potential headaches associated with buying a used graphics cards, our roundup of the best GPUs for PC gaming can help you find the best new cards to suit your needs as well.

1) Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4000 and AMD’s Radeon RDNA 3 – coming soon?

One of the reasons that current-gen GPU prices are dropping so fast is the imminent arrival of Nvidia and AMD’s next generation GPUs. No official release dates have been released to date, so it’s difficult to pin down exactly when we are seeing something new, though AMD says its new RDNA 3-powered Radeon GPUs will debut sometime in Q4 (October through December). Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4000-series is also heavily rumored to launch sometime this year.

Regardless of whether Nvidia or AMD strikes first, expect the biggest, baddest next-gen GPUs to launch first, such as the GeForce RTX 4090 and 4080. We’d be more likely to see more affordable graphics cards, like the RTX 4070 and below, next year.

the best 4k graphics card for high-end gaming

GeForce RTX 3080

What does that mean if you’re looking at picking up a used GPU? Second hand prices will continue to fall, and could decrease even more sharply when the next generations of graphics cards are announced. Even if you don’t have plans to buy an RTX 4090, its mere existence means you can likely get much cheaper pricing for a used GeForce RTX 30- or Radeon 6000-series GPU.

2) Mining GPUs hitting the market

Many of the used graphics cards currently hitting the used market were used for crypto mining. With the recent downturn in cryptocurrency profitability, there has been a massive increase in these becoming available for sale. Some will be disclosed by the seller, but many will not.

Should you be worried? We cover the details more fully in our guide to whether you should buy a used mining GPU. But (spoiler alert) you’ll probably be fine, and here’s why:

  1. Some may be GPUs bought during the last few months before the “crash,” so may still be close to new.
  2. Most hardcore cryptocurrency miners will underclock and power limit their graphics cards, and good owners will also keep an eye on temperatures.
  3. GPUs historically have not shown any significant degradation or long-term issues from being mined on. You’re likely more easily to damage it by overclocking for gaming in some cases.

Having said that, the most important thing is to ask the seller some pointed questions. If they say a used GPU was used for mining, ask them in what type of environment was the system in. Was it hot all of the time? Did it have good ventilation, airflow, and dust control? Was it handled carefully? What voltage and clock speed tweaks did they make? The answers will give you good guidance. If you’re not comfortable buying a used mining GPU, that’s OK too. Just move on. The market is flush with options right now, including discounts on new graphics cards.

3) Beware GPUs with GDDR6X memory

We covered above how you’re generally fine buying a used mining GPU, but there are some very important technical details you should give some extra attention. Some high-end Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics cards use hot and powerful GDDR6X VRAM. It’s particularly taxed by mining, given how memory-intensive mining is, and some models have suffered from heat issues if they came with poor thermal pads from the factory. It’s a more pronounced concern for Nvidia’s own Founders Edition cards.

This disassembled RTX 3090 Founders Edition reveals the card’s GDDR6X memory chips.

Thiago Trevisan/IDG

GPUs utilizing GDDR6X includes the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, 3080, 3080 Ti, and 3090. The monstrous RTX 3090 Ti features an improved VRAM design and is less likely to suffer from these issues. AMD’s rival Radeon offerings, on the other hand, use typical GDDR6 (no X) memory so you don’t need to worry about those.

The most crucial one (by far) to be careful with is the big guy here, the GeForce RTX 3090. An inexperienced crypto miner who is unaware of the VRAM issues may have run their RTX 3090 nonstop, with the memory constantly being thermally throttled to its 110C cutoff temperature. The GDDR6X memory temperatures on healthy GPUs should ideally run well under 100C. (In fact, 94C or below in a good airflow environment is even better)

Some custom RTX 3090s had decent out of the box thermal pads, but some did not—even amongst graphics cards with the same model, from the same brand. I’ve tested lower-end 3090s that had wonderful temperatures—and some higher-end models that were abysmal due to bad stock thermal pads, and vice versa. Ask the seller about this. Some gamers may be unaware of VRAM issues if they didn’t mine with their graphics card, and that’s likely OK, but questions are always good before purchasing.

4) Stress test the GPU

If you have a friendly seller, you could ask them for 3DMark scores to verify performance, or even ask them to run the GPU for a while in Heaven Benchmark. That will tell you if the GPU is stable and at least performing to spec.

the best graphics card for 1080p gaming

Radeon RX 6600 Swft 210

If you buy the GPU from a used market place that has a good return policy, such as a store open box or eBay, test it yourself. Our guide to benchmarking your graphics card can help. Make sure there are no visual artifacts or other aberrant behavior that would crash it using the above referenced benchmarking software, and try playing a mixture of fast-paced and visually intensive games. If a used graphics card does have problems, you’d have a return policy to fall back on with those places.

If you buy a used graphics card directly from the previous owner, off sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, getting a return may be tougher. It’s best to ask them to provide benchmark results before the sale if possible, and let you know of any potential issues.

5) Physical conditions matter

The eyeball test is your best friend. Does something look off or damaged in the picture of that used graphics card? It can have real life consequences. That GPU fan blade with the missing tip might seem innocent enough, but when it’s spinning, the oscillation is likely to create lots of vibration and cooling issues.

Thiago Trevisan/IDG

Has the seller opened the GPU or applied new thermal pads? While new pads can theoretically improve temperatures, inexperienced users who try and change them out can also possibly damage the GPU itself if they’re not careful.

If the GPU looks clean, without damage, and the seller has the original box in nice shape, those can all be great signs.

Don’t overlook some specific situations where you can save loads of money, though. Sometimes a GPU may just be cosmetically damaged without performance problems, and you can save lot of money because of that if you don’t mind a few scratches on the shroud. You can also save more cash if you buy something you know you can repair (such as the fan blades if you’re handy and know what you’re doing). Overall, however, a clean, nicely kept GPU is generally ideal.

6) Choose your source wisely

Not all used GPUs are sold the same way. There can be large monetary differences and safety net protections depending on where you go.

First, one of the safer ways to get a cheaper “used” graphics is to look for open box offerings from physical retailers. If you’re lucky to live near a Micro Center, you can even physically inspect the GPU, put a warranty on it, and return it if it’s not working right. You’ll save compared to a new GPU, but it may still cost slightly more than elsewhere. You can often find similar open box items on Amazon, Newegg, and similar retailers. Make sure you’re covered by a solid return policy If you can’t inspect it beforehand.

Next, there are various online market places such as eBay. These can typically have good return policies, product pictures, and seller feedback so you have a higher chance of getting something good. You may pay more due to the fee structures, but you’ll still save over new.

the best new graphics card under $200

Radeon RX 6500 XT

The cheapest route is likely a direct person to person sale, often found on places like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. While you can often score the cheapest pricing on used GPUs this way, there are a lot of precautions that need to be taken for your own safety, such as meeting in a public place. The good news is that you can often physically inspect the graphics card, but it may be harder to get your money back if something goes wrong later. Good pricing, but buyer must use more caution.

Certain GPU brands may also have warranties that apply to a second owner with some limitations, such as EVGA. Your mileage will vary here, so be sure to research the exact brand you’re buying as they all differ.  

Buying a used GPU: It’s not so bad!

GPUs can last for years if taken care of, and the last few years have inflated GPU pricing to astronomical levels. But at long last, the tide is turning. At the end of the day, there can be tremendous price savings if you’re savvy when buying a used graphics card. If you take precautions, you can often score a great deal—especially in a suddenly soft market where sellers are eager to get rid of their units. Be sure to check out our roundup of the best graphics cards for PC gaming so you’re armed with the knowledge you need whether you’re buying new or used.

Why You Probably Shouldn’t Buy A Used Graphics Card

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By Dave McQuilling/June 26, 2022 2:37 pm EDT

Over the last few years, gamers in search of a new GPU have experienced nothing but frustration and potential bankruptcy. Events like a global semiconductor shortage and the rise of bitcoin mining drove graphics card prices well above their usual retail price. Cards that had previously cost hundreds now cost thousands. An already expensive part suddenly costs more than the rest of the build combined in some cases, so it’s understandable if a lot of PC builders put a new rig or a GPU update on the back burner.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The recent crypto crash has reduced the profitability of mining to the point where it isn’t worth the effort. Mining rigs, which were basically money printing machines when crypto was on the up, are now making their owners less than a dollar per day. As a result, the demand for GPUs is plummeting and the costs are falling with it. For the first time in years, you can buy high-end graphics cards for their MSRP. Some new cards are currently selling for around 33% less than the prices they were listed for a few months ago. Prices could potentially fall even further if suppliers end up overstocked because of reduced demand.

Then there is the second-hand market. Some crypto miners are trying to recoup money by dismantling their mining rigs and selling their GPUs. Second-hand cards are flooding the market and some are available at a massive discount. This could mean the difference between a budget card and a high-end one, give you more money to use elsewhere in a build, or just leave a bit of extra cash in your bank account. But is saving a few hundred dollars by buying a used card worth the risk?

Why a used graphics card may not be all bad

Syafiq Adnan/Shutterstock

In most circumstances, you have no way of knowing what a second-hand card was used for and how it was treated before you bought it. If you do know and trust the previous owner — say your PC gaming friend who treats their tech with the utmost respect is upgrading and offers you their old card at a discount — you’ll probably be fine taking them up on the offer. However, the majority of used cards on the market at the moment will have been used to mine crypto. That means they were running at high capacity 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. The bigger miners may have had hundreds of cards, so were unlikely to have cleaned and inspected every one of them routinely.

However, this may not necessarily mean a card will have problems. Linus, of Linus Tech Tips fame, responded to GPU manufacturer Palit Microsystems’ claim that «a card used for mining 24 hours per day, seven days per week, will lose 10% of its performance each year.» He tested cards that had been mining crypto for different periods of time all the way up to four years. Linus came to the conclusion that the cards will either break completely or they won’t — mining will not make them lose a set amount of performance over a period of time. The tech vlogger did note that maintenance would make a difference and overheating problems caused by dust and dirt buildup would affect performance. Linus’ conclusion was that a clean, well-maintained card should be okay no matter what it was used for — and at a significant discount, it could be worth a gamble.

And why it might not be worth the risk

Artie Medvedev/Shutterstock

Linus did admit his test involved cards that were kept clean, so it is possible to view the whole thing as a best-case scenario. When you’re buying a used card, you have no idea how it was treated. Worse yet, a dust-free life may not actually guarantee a working card. Individuals who purchased second-hand cards from Chinese resellers have reported a plethora of problems.

Some of the deals may seem too good to turn down. WCCF Tech reports that one used MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X went for less than half of its list price on NewEgg and over $100 less than its MSRP in one of the online sales. On paper, that’s a reasonable deal, but it came with a catch. The card in question had been disassembled and reassembled, presumably to replace its thermal pads. That was just the tip of the iceberg, and instead of the 10 GB of VRAM the RTX 3080 should have had, the second-hand example was only registering eight. The card had presumably been used intensely until two of its memory modules failed, then was jerry-rigged to work and used a bit more.

Even if memory modules have failed, it is possible to get them working and rig the card to show that it has the correct amount of VRAM. This sort of technique could be used to trick buyers into thinking they have purchased a fully functional card. You can replace a damaged card’s faulty memory modules, but at that point, the costs and effort involved may make the whole process pointless. Another risk with used cards is their far shorter life expectancy, so buying new is probably your best option.


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Should You Buy A Used Graphics Card? [2022 Answer]

With the high GPU prices, you likely pondered if you should buy a used graphics card. Well, we’re here to help you out with that decision.

By Aleksandar Cosic

Given the ever-present GPU hype, you might have wondered if paying the retail price is worth it or if you should simply buy a used graphics card.

This is a perfectly reasonable way of thinking, especially when you consider that almost every other piece of technology can be bought second-hand and used perfectly well.

That is the crux of the issue; it could be fine but it might not be. This article will break down some of the possible risks when buying a used graphics card, but we will also consider the positive aspects.

Table of ContentsShow

    The Key Reason To Buy A Used Graphics Card

    As with any other used item, not only technology but also cars or kitchen appliances, the biggest advantage of buying a used product is a far more affordable price and that same logic applies to graphics cards. The truth is that you can easily find a much cheaper used GPU from a previous generation but is it worth it?

    In most cases, a used graphics card will be safe to buy and you will have nothing to worry about. Due to the drop in pricing, it may even be more reasonable to buy a used graphics card than a new one. It’s certainly far more budget-friendly and it’s usually better to buy the last generation’s flagship than the current generation’s mid-range card.

    Before buying, you should first consider the benchmarks and additional specifications. For example, if you consider buying NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 Ti over an RTX 2070, it would be a better option to choose the newer card, mainly due to its revolutionary ray-tracing capabilities.

    However, buying a used RTX 2080 Ti might be a better option than an RTX 3060 Ti. Yes, the RTX 3060 Ti is technically considered a budget card and their performances are relatively similar. However, with the hype of this new generation, the RTX 2080 Ti is rapidly losing popularity and its price will only lower as time goes by, while the price of the RTX 3060 Ti will likely remain the same until the next generation arrives, presumably around the end of 2022.

    This doesn’t only apply to generational jumps as you can achieve a similar effect with the mid-generation update. This was particularly noticeable in NVIDIA’s RTX 2000 series card. An RTX 2060 dropped by around $100-120 in price when the RTX 2060 Super was released.

    In short, the performance-to-price ratio makes buying an older, used card a better option, especially if you are buying on a tighter budget.

    The Cons Of Buying A Used GPU

    As with any other used item, there are inherent risks and some things that you might need to gamble on. An important note here is that there is a difference between fixable problems and unfixable problems.

    Saggy PCB

    Today, a sagging PCB is rarely a big issue, but it is still something that can happen so you should pay attention to it. If you encounter this problem, we can’t in good conscience recommend that you buy the card. Another issue that could affect the PCB is that it simply isn’t working, which is why you should ensure the card works before buying.

    Overheating/Broken Fans

    The most common issue that you’ll run into with used graphics cards is overheating. Fortunately, this is usually just an issue with excess dust and is a fixable problem. Sometimes, this will cause the GPU fans to stop spinning, but that is also something that can be fixed relatively simply.

    You should also note that it’s possible that sometimes the fans won’t work at all, but the rest of the card works perfectly, so you might be able to knock a few bucks off that card. However, you will have to spend some time, and likely some more money, replacing the fans to restore the card to working order.

    Crypto Mining Wear And Tear

    The biggest drawback of getting a used card is that you can never be truly sure what the card was previously used for. It’s possible that the card was used for standard, run-of-the-mill gaming and is perfectly fine to use. However, it’s also possible that it was used for crypto mining.

    If the card was used as a part of a mining setup, it can definitely have some inherent flaws. These cards have to be turned on and working at their full capacity for obscene amounts of time. This could be weeks, months, or even years.

    This excessive workload means the circuitry is exposed to great amounts of power running through it, which can shorten its lifespan. Other things that could cause damage to the card include the conditions in which it was used.

    Miners often look to use as many GPUs as they can in as small an area as possible, which means the card will be tightly packed inside a rig and is heated not only by itself but also by its neighboring cards.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way to tell if a GPU was used for mining. The best thing you can do to notice any heat damage is to look very closely at the PCB and try to spot any sort of discoloration. This is usually the clearest indicator that a graphics card won’t last long.

    Another way to check how much the GPU can handle is to run a stress test on it with software designed for the task, such as Furmark. That way, you can see how the card reacts under load and if it can maintain a stable temperature.

    So, Should You Get A Used GPU?

    We hope that we have clearly presented arguments for and against buying a used graphics card and that you can now make an informed decision on your own. Our best advice would be to consider your budget first and foremost but to also do some research to find the best price-to-performance ratio.

    If possible, you should be patient and wait for the right time to buy a new graphics card. We hope that you will consider choosing to buy a used one.

    GDDR5 vs GDDR5X vs HBM vs HBM2 vs GDDR6 vs GDDR6X

    Related Topics
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    • AMD
    • Nvidia

    How to buy a used graphics card | Graphic Card Buying Guide 101

    Updated: Apr 22, 2022 9:39 am

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    The Graphics Card Lingo

    Common Used Graphics Cards Problems And How To Fix Them

    Problem: Dust Buildup

    Solution: Compressed Air

    Problem: Severe Overheating

    Solution: Replace Thermal Compound

    Problem: “GPU Sag”

    Solution: Add GPU Brace

    Severe Problems With Used Graphics Cards

    Problem: Damaged Card/PCB

    Problem: Fake GPUs

    Used Graphics Cards: How To Buy

    1. Only Buy From Trusted Sellers

    2. Thoroughly Research Pricing

    3. Never Buy MSRP or Full Price

    Used Graphics Cards: What To Buy

    Budget Range (Up to $130)

    Midrange ($200 to $350)

    Low-Mid (~$200)

    High-Mid (~$300)

    High End (Up to $450)

    Parting Words

    Today, we’re going to discuss buying used graphics cards.

    Thanks to the recent release of Nvidia’s RTX series and the end of the GPU shortage of early 2018, the used market for GPUs is thriving right now. Because of this, we opted to write a detailed guide on navigating the used GPU market, including what deals are currently available.

    Think of this as a detailed guide for buying used GPUs in 2019 and beyond. We’re going to tackle the common issues you might face with a used GPU purchase, where to buy used GPUs, what prices and levels of performance to expect, and more.

    By the end of this article, you’re going to be more than ready to start buying used GPUs. If you’re already familiar with the lingo, feel free to skip the next section– otherwise, let’s bring you up to par.

    MORE: Best Graphics Card Deals

    The Graphics Card Lingo

    Here are common terms used throughout this article that you should know before continuing.

    • GPU – While this is often used as an alternate term for “graphics card”, there are some graphics cards out there that actually have multiple GPUs inside them, such as the GTX 690 and Radeon HD 7990. Assume the former usage in this article unless stated otherwise.
    • VRAM – This is memory used exclusively by your GPU, which is often much faster than DDR3/DDR4 RAM. VRAM usually impacts performance at higher display resolutions and with higher-resolution textures.
    • Mining – This refers to cryptocurrency mining. If a GPU has been used for mining by an irresponsible reseller, it may have problems with overheating. You typically want to avoid these just to be safe, but you can also use this as leverage while bargaining.
    • Overclocking – Overclocking refers to the practice of pushing your GPU’s performance to higher tiers, though it may come at the cost of worse thermal performance or instability. Some cards you buy may be overclocked, though factory overclocks usually don’t suffer the same problems associated with doing it yourself.
    • PCB – Printed Circuit Board. This is often visible on the “back” of your GPU, though some GPUs may come with backplates to protect it.

    Common Used Graphics Cards Problems And How To Fix Them

    These problems are usually pretty fixable but may require some extra work on your part. If you buy a used GPU, especially from an independent reseller, these are the most likely issues you’ll face.

    Problem: Dust Buildup

    This is the most common of them all: an old GPU that simply has a lot of dust inside of it. This usually won’t cause severe overheating, but it can raise your temps noticeably. Most often, this will be found in the heatsink behind the fans and can be difficult to get rid of during routine PC maintenance.

    Solution: Compressed Air

    Fortunately, taking care of it is pretty straightforward. You’ll want to take the GPU out of your system completely and take a can of compressed air to it, removing any pockets of dust you can find. If you’re blowing compressed air anywhere near the fans, you’ll want to hold the fans to avoid damaging their bearings.

    Problem: Severe Overheating

    If taking compressed air to your card hasn’t worked, you may be dealing with a deeper cooling issue. Sometimes, dust will be in places that you simply can’t reach with your compressed air, your cooler may not be mounted onto your graphics card securely, or your thermal compound may be long expired. In any of these cases…

    Solution: Replace Thermal Compound

    You’ll want to remove the fan and cooler from your GPU entirely so you can more thoroughly clear them of dust and apply the new thermal compound to the GPU die. Instructions for this will vary depending on the exact make and model of your card, but if you’re comfortable with a screwdriver and have a safe, static-free workspace, you shouldn’t need to worry too much.

    If you’ve ever removed your CPU cooler and added new thermal paste, you’re pretty much dealing with the same concept here.

    Need thermal paste? Click here!

    Problem: “GPU Sag”

    If a graphics card has been in use for a long time, you may notice it begin to sag. This phenomenon is called “GPU sag”, and if you’re buying an older used GPU, you’re fairly likely to encounter it. Fortunately, GPU sag is harmless to your hardware, as graphics cards are actually built with some flex to account for it. (Otherwise, they’d simply snap in half.)

    If you really want to fix it, though…

    Solution: Add GPU Brace

    You’ll need to find a mounting arm or brace to fix the problem. You can either jerry-rig this yourself or use the solution we’ve linked below.

    Want a GPU brace? Click here!

    Severe Problems With Used Graphics Cards

    These problems are much more severe, and likely completely unfixable. The only “solution” you have here are returns and refunds. These are relatively rare, though, and if you follow the best practices you shouldn’t usually encounter them.

    Problem: Damaged Card/PCB

    By “damage”, we mean damage. Dust buildup and expired thermal paste will negatively impact your card, but don’t necessarily constitute damage. If your card is damaged, the most likely part of it to be damaged is the PCB, usually with small parts of it being scraped or blasted off.

    A common cause of this is using an air compressor instead of compressed air to clean a GPU. While a compressor works, if it’s too strong it can and will blast off parts of the PCB.

    Symptoms of damaged graphics cards include:

    • Frequent instability and crashing in games
    • Blue Screens of Death
    • Faulty temperature readings

    Ensure that your graphics card isn’t overclocked. If you’re still encountering any of these problems, especially the first two, chances are your GPU is damaged and needs to be returned.

    While used GPUs don’t usually come with a warranty, some manufacturers may be willing to repair or replace your card for a reasonable price. This will vary on a case-by-case basis, though, and usually, you’ll be better off just getting your money back.

    Problem: Fake GPUs

    Fake GPUs are particularly malicious because only the most attentive customers will be able to catch the ruse. If you don’t know what kind of performance to expect out of a graphics card you’re buying, you may not ever find out that the “GTX 1060” you’re using is actually a rebranded GTX 960, for instance.

    To detect this problem, your best bet is to use GPU-Z, which will take advanced readings from your graphics card and alert you if you’re using a fake. If you find out you’ve been sold a fake GPU, report the problem to eBay and try to get your money back. If you purchased it directly, however… you may be out of luck.

    Used Graphics Cards: How To Buy

    The problems above may sound scary, but with the right practices, they can be easily avoided! Here are the top three rules of buying used GPUs.

    1. Only Buy From Trusted Sellers

    There are a number of viable places to search for used GPUs. Similar to many products, you can look on eBay or the Facebook Marketplace, but make sure you’re buying from a trusted seller. No matter how enticing a price might look, if a seller has a rating any lower than ~95% percent, you probably shouldn’t buy something from them.

    While there are honest-hearted sellers out there just getting started, it’s not on you to bet hundreds of dollars on them. Be smart and stick to sellers who have consistently high ratings.

    2. Thoroughly Research Pricing

    This may go without saying, but don’t grab the first great deal you see! Keep looking around for alternative options, and also check to make sure that the “great deal” you’ve spotted is actually a great deal. We’re going to give current examples of GPUs to buy and expected price ranges later on in the article, which should serve as a great place to start.

    3. Never Buy MSRP or Full Price

    This applies to anything used, honestly. If you’re going to pay full price for something, just buy it new from Amazon. If it’s used and it’s anywhere near MSRP, don’t bother! Either keep looking for a better deal or find a different card with a similar performance level. The GPU shortage ended a long time ago, so there’s no reason to buy used cards at MSRP anymore.

    Used Graphics Cards: What To Buy

    Finally, let’s get to the graphics cards that you should be buying and the expected price range you’ll be buying them in! If you’re unfamiliar with the modern graphics card landscape, then check out our GPU hierarchy or best graphics card guide.

    Budget Range (Up to $130)

    In the budget range, you should be looking for GPUs that perform better than or on par with the GTX 1050/1050 Ti, if not those exact cards.

    These cards will usually have 2GB or less of VRAM, which is just fine for 1080p and 720p gaming, though you may need to turn down a few texture-related detail settings.

    Cards that you may find in this range include:

    • GTX 760
    • GTX 770 (good deal)
    • GTX 960
    • GTX 970 (great deal)
    • RX 560
    • RX 470/570 (amazing deal)

    Midrange ($200 to $350)

    In this range, you’ll find the most cards, the most competition, and the most deals. Closer to $200, you should be looking for cards that perform on par with the GTX 1060 6GB. Closer to $300, you should be looking for cards that perform on par with the GTX 1070.

    In this performance range, you’ll find cards that are better-suited for tackling 1440p and VR gaming. Anywhere from 4GB to 8GB of VRAM is common here, with the higher meaning the better for VR/1440p.

    Low-Mid (~$200)
    • RX 480
    • RX 580 (amazing deal)
    • GTX 970
    • GTX 780 Ti (amazing deal)

    GTX 980/980 Ti (amazing deal)

    High-Mid (~$300)
    • RX Vega 56 (amazing deal)
    • RX Vega 64 (amazing deal)
    • GTX 1070 (amazing deal)
    • GTX 1070 Ti (best deal, but unlikely)

    High End (Up to $450)

    Truth be told, you probably aren’t going to find much in the way of bargains here. Since all the GPUs that perform in this price range are still current-gen, their used prices are often very lackluster, generally less than $50 off from MSRP, which honestly isn’t worth losing your warranty over.

    We’ll still go ahead and list GPUs here, but we’re also going to list their MSRPs so you can judge for yourself whether or not the deal you’ve found is worth it. You shouldn’t be spending more than $450 on any of these used, though.

    The general performance level you should expect in this price range is pretty high, though. 1440p maxed and 4K high start to become possible here.

    • GTX 1080 – $549
    • GTX 1080 Ti – $699
    • GTX 2070 – $599

    Worth noting is that with the release of the RTX GPUs, GTX 1080s and 1080 Tis are starting to see more noticeable discounts, even when being sold new. If you really want high-end performance and are willing to spend a lot extra for it, keep an eye out for deals on those cards.

    Parting Words

    We think it’s fair to say, pretty definitively, that this is the best used GPU buying guide that you’re going to find out there since buying used GPUs still seem to be flying under the radar somewhat. We also monitor our comment section pretty closely, so if you happen to notice any issues or just need some help with buying a used graphics card, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll do our best to help you out!

    Now that you know what’s out there, what do you have your eyes on? Personally, we’re eyeing deals on the RX 580! It’s already the best price-performance card from a new perspective, and amongst used GPUs that seems to only be exemplified.

    WePC is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

    Nvidia: Ethereum Merge Unleashes A Tsunami Of Used Graphics Cards (NASDAQ:NVDA)

    • Long Ideas

    Sep. 16, 2022 12:31 PM ETNVIDIA Corporation (NVDA)AMD, INTC59 Comments

    Mark Hibben

    Marketplace

    • Ethereum completes its transition to proof-of-stake, ending lucrative and energy-consuming “mining”.
    • Correcting the Ethereum hash rate model to account for used graphics card sales accounts for Nvidia’s fiscal Q2 results.
    • The impact of the Merge on Nvidia’s sales will be, at best, ugly.
    • How will the Merge affect Nvidia’s expected RTX 40 series launch?
    • Investor takeaways: Will Nvidia need to restate guidance for this quarter?
    • This idea was discussed in more depth with members of my private investing community, Rethink Technology. Learn More »

    vzphotos/iStock Editorial via Getty Images

    The Ethereum Foundation, which manages the Ether cryptocurrency, has announced completion of what it calls the Merge, whereby validation of new blocks of transactions no longer takes place by «mining». The millions of high-end graphics cards that are used for this will no longer be needed for the new «proof-of-stake» approach, so that most of these will likely find their way into the used card market. This will depress demand for new graphics cards just when Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) is set to announce its next-generation GeForce 40 series.

    Ethereum completes its transition to proof-of-stake, ending lucrative and energy consuming «mining»

    The transition of Ethereum to proof-of-stake was called the Merge because it involved combining the parallel block chain that was already using proof-of-stake experimentally with the main block chain that was using traditional mining, called proof-of-work. This is shown below in this diagram from the Ethereum Foundation:

    Ethereum.org

    Mining was really just transaction processing, in which a number of Ethereum transactions would be bundled into a block and encrypted. But the encryption process was made artificially difficult, requiring millions of high end graphics cards in the mining pool to process a block in a reasonable period of time.

    In the new proof-of-stake approach, the artificial difficulty is removed, so that hardware requirements can be met by almost any computer, ending the need for graphics card processing and the attendant energy consumption. Ethereum claims this will reduce energy consumption by 99.95%.

    Some miners may go to work on a «hard fork» of Ethereum, in effect, a secession of the currency into a new one called EthereumPOW. This currency will continue to use proof-of-work, but it’s unclear whether mining this will be profitable.

    Probably, the vast majority of cards will go on the used card market and be sold on venues such as eBay.

    Correcting the Ethereum hash rate model to account for used graphics card sales

    Following Nvidia’s revised guidance for its fiscal 2023 Q2, I realized that I needed to revise my model of Ethereum-related sales of graphics cards. I had published an article detailing the model in July.

    The problem with the model was that it only accounted for sales into the Ethereum mining pool when the pool was adding capacity, i.e., adding new cards to the pool. It worked fine as long as the pool was still growing.

    However, starting in mid-May, the Ethereum mining pool hash rate, a measure of mining capacity, started to decline, as shown in the following chart from BitInfoCharts:

    BinInfoCharts

    This implied that a substantial number of graphics cards were being removed from the pool. If I assumed that these cards were comparable to current generation Nvidia and AMD (AMD) cards, then it was reasonable to assume that every used card sold was a lost new card sale.

    This turned out to account very well for Nvidia’s fiscal Q2 results, if we assume that a normal quarterly revenue in Nvidia’s Gaming segment is about $2.5 billion. During the Fiscal Q2 conference call, Nvidia specifically claimed that this would be their normal average Gaming segment revenue without crypto. In my spreadsheet calculations, it was easy to calculate the used card effect simply by allowing the change in mining pool cards to go negative, with a negative net revenue for the cards:

    Mark Hibben

    Note that the revenue impact doesn’t only fall on Nvidia, but the timing of Nvidia’s fiscal Q2 lined up better with the fall in Ethereum mining capacity and likely release of cards into the used card market. AMD will likely feel the impact in its Q3 results.

    The impact of the Merge on Nvidia’s sales will be, at best, ugly

    The model provides a means of anticipating what happens when the Ethereum hash rate effectively goes to zero, post Merge. And it’s not pretty. In an article on August 21, I gave my subscribers a heads-up concerning the impact of the Merge, and I further revised my model results on September 11.

    If we assume that the entire mining pool consists of newer graphics cards released since September 2020 (RTX 30 series for Nvidia), then Nvidia’s RTX 30 series sales for Q3 are completely wiped out, as shown in the spreadsheet calculations extended to Q3:

    Mark Hibben

    The model deducts the hash rate contribution due to Nvidia Crypto Mining Processors (CMP). These cannot be sold into the used graphics cards market, since they lack display outputs.

    This amounts to assuming that all of the cards used in mining before September 2020 (about when the RTX 30 series launched) were replaced with newer cards. This probably isn’t absolutely correct, and the mining pool has consisted of a mixture of older and newer cards.

    As a lower bound, we can assume that none of the older cards were replaced. These cards would not impact new card sales, since they aren’t comparable to current generation cards. The model can deduct these cards from the calculated revenue impact by simply deducting the pre-September 2020 hash rate of 228.2361 terahash/sec (THASH) for the mining pool:

    Mark Hibben

    So the lost revenue impact for Nvidia looks to be in the range of $2-3 billion, and it probably won’t fall all in Q3 but be distributed over several quarters. The effect of the Merge is to effectively zero out Nvidia’s crypto revenue over time. The revenue made during Ethereum’s mining pool expansion is negated by lost revenue post Merge, with the exception of CMP revenue and revenue from older graphics cards that might still have been in the pool at the time of the Merge.

    How will the Merge affect Nvidia’s expected RTX 40 series launch?

    Nvidia has been expected to announce its GeForce RTX 40 series cards for some time, and Nvidia posted this announcement on its website:

    Nvidia

    Various tech pundits are claiming that this is the worst time for Nvidia to launch a new generation of gaming graphics cards. One important feature expected of the RTX 40 series is support for PCIE 5.0. This could be important in reducing the impact of the Ethereum Merge.

    The current generation of Nvidia and AMD cards only support PCIE 4.0, the prevailing standard at the time of their introduction in late 2020. PCIE 5.0 will double the communication bandwidth compared to 4.0. It’s not clear how critical that will be to gaming performance, but it should eliminate PCIE as a bottleneck, if it ever was.

    Just as important, new generation CPUs will have to support PCIE 5.0, since the GPU is typically linked directly to the CPU through a built in PCIE 16 lane (x16) interface. This is the preferred architecture for maximum gaming performance, and all modern CPUs provide at least 16 lanes of PCIE for this purpose.

    Intel (INTC) already supports PCIE 5.0 in its latest Alder Lake 12th generation Core series of desktop CPUs. Since Alder Lake launched early this year, there have been no PCIE 5.0 graphics cards to take advantage of the interface, but the current installed base of Alder Lake systems represents a waiting market for the new PCIE 5. 0 cards.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have an estimate of Alder Lake sales, so I have no idea what the size of that market might be. Current generation AMD Ryzen 5000 series desktop CPUs only offer PCIE 4.0, but the Ryzen 7000 series has been announced with support for PCIE 5.0, with a launch expected in October. AMD’s next-generation GPUs have only been «teased» but are expected to support PCIE 5.0 as well.

    The performance desktop market (mostly gamers) is moving rapidly to PCIE 5.0, and Nvidia will have, at least for a few months, the only graphics cards that support it. Gamers tend to be early adopters and favor the highest performance technology.

    Since none of the used cards released from the Merge will support PCIE 5.0, this may serve to somewhat isolate the RTX 40 series launch from the impact of the Merge. How much isolation is still unclear.

    Most of the current population of gaming systems will only support PCIE 4.0, so this part of the market would probably not buy RTX 40 series in any case. Most 40 series sales will go into new system builds.

    Certainly, the impact of the Merge will be to weaken sales of the RTX 40 series at launch. However, overall sales in the Gaming segment will probably benefit from the launch. The 40 series launch will give the segment a revenue stream it would not have had otherwise.

    Investor takeaways: will Nvidia need to restate guidance for this quarter?

    Nvidia guided to revenue of $5.9 billion for fiscal Q3 during the Q2 conference call, and this implies revenue in the gaming segment of about $1 billion. Did Nvidia account for the Merge in their guidance?

    When asked specifically about the impact of the Merge, Nvidia management had no comment, and professed an inability to account for the crypto impact. The guidance was claimed to be due to a retail channel inventory glut.

    If Nvidia really wasn’t accounting for the Merge, then almost certainly it will need to restate guidance for Q3. Probably, the RTX 40 series launch will not be enough to provide the roughly $1 billion in Gaming segment revenue.

    In my Nvidia integrated financial model, I’m assuming a $3 billion hit due to the Merge and another $1 billion due to inventory correction. In the model, this is distributed over the next four quarters from fiscal 2023 Q3 to fiscal 2024 Q2, with Gaming segment sales only starting to recover in fiscal 2024 Q3.

    Despite this, I’m still modeling growth in the all-important Data Center segment. Nvidia’s next-generation data center accelerator, the Hopper h200, is testing out to be very impressive and is in production now with deliveries expected by the end of the calendar year.

    Hopper should ensure continued growth in the Data Center segment, and the advent of Grace, Nvidia’s ARM architecture CPU for the data center, should further enhance growth. Data Center growth largely compensates for revenue declines expected in Gaming for this year and next, according to the model:

    Mark Hibben

    According to my long-term Discounted Cash Flow model, Nvidia has a fair value of $192. I consider Nvidia’s future to be very bright, despite the impact of crypto in the near term.

    Currently, I have Nvidia rated at Hold, and Nvidia has been a relatively small part of the Rethink Technology portfolio since selling most of my Nvidia shares (at a substantial profit) in April. I’m pretty close to upgrading Nvidia to Buy, but I’m waiting to see if the Merge (and possible guidance restatement) will drive Nvidia’s price even lower.

    Also, I’m waiting to see what Nvidia has to offer in its new 40 series on September 20. Nvidia has consistently set the performance bar in the desktop graphics card market. Most likely, Nvidia is already undervalued.

    Consider joining Rethink Technology for in depth coverage of technology companies such as Apple.

    This article was written by

    Mark Hibben

    19.12K Followers

    Author of Rethink Technology

    Balanced, expert investing strategies from a technologist’s perspective

    Mark has a masters in Electrical Engineering from USC, is an independent iOS developer, and blogs about technology trends and companies, the focus of his investments.

    Disclosure: I/we have a beneficial long position in the shares of NVDA either through stock ownership, options, or other derivatives. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Comments (59)

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    Hello everyone! Today I will talk about ten noteworthy graphics accelerators that can be found on the secondary market — taking into account the prices of video cards in stores and their availability in general, this topic is now very relevant.

    Contents

    1. NVIDIA GeForce GT 710
    2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
    3. AMD Radeon RX 570
    4. AMD Radeon RX 580
      1. 2 GeForce

          2 GeForce GTX4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
        1. AMD Radeon RX 590
        2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
        3. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
        4. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

        NVIDIA GeForce GT 710

        • Architecture: Kepler
        • Process technology: 28 nm
        • Number of universal processors: 192
        • Number of texture units: 16
        • Number of ROPs: 8
        • 9No video cards, the so-called «plugs», on which you can sit out hard times if your processor does not have integrated graphics. Of course, it is not so expensive in the store either, but still, it will be much more profitable to take the GT 710 on the secondary market. «Seven hundred and tenth» consumes very little energy, so it is suitable, including for home multimedia and office systems with a weak power supply, and many of its modifications cost passive cooling in the form of a radiator and do not require additional airflow. At the same time, I would like to emphasize that this card is not a game card at all: even far from the newest projects like the third Witcher or Crysis 3, you won’t be able to play, including at the lowest settings. Moreover, even Skyrim, released almost 10 years ago, will turn out to be an impossible task for the GT 710 — it will be possible to comfortably spend time either in very old or in completely undemanding games: such hits of old years as Half-Life 2, The Elder Scrolls 3 can serve as examples: Morrowind, the first and second Gothic, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Star Wars: KoToR, and so on — they have enough performance to watch videos on Youtube.

        • Ray tracing: no

        So, I suggested an option for those who are really bad with a budget for a video card, then there will be at least some gaming ones. And the first of them is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. By the way, the production of this video card was recently resumed due to a shortage of more powerful graphics accelerators, and even though in 2021 it already belongs to the initial gaming segment, it still copes with light projects like Dota 2, Overwatch, World of Tanks, while it costs remember about the good overclocking potential of the model — manual overclocking will help add a few more frames per second. Yes, even projects that are not the most demanding by modern standards are hard enough: on medium or medium-low, the model produces 50-60 frames per second in the third Witcher, the same in Watch Dogs 2, 40-50 in Rise of Tomb Raider, but at least you can at the very least, with FPS drawdowns, but you can play almost everything, even in Red Dead Redemption 2 at minimum you can count on a frame rate higher than 40.

      2. Auxiliary power: yes
      3. Ray tracing: no
      4. AMD Radeon RX 570 is a well-deserved veteran of gaming and mining, and there are many such graphics accelerators on the secondary market, the main thing is not to run into a completely dead one, which in most cases can be avoided, checking the device upon purchase: both by visually inspecting it and by asking the seller to run several stress tests and games. Perhaps, of all the offers presented on the secondary market, this card is one of the best options in terms of price and performance; if we talk about FullHD resolution, then it still pulls any games, even the most demanding of them and not at high, and even less at maximum settings, but at medium or medium-low, it’s for sure, especially after overclocking. Unfortunately, the video card does not have a margin of safety for future years — it is only suitable for users who want to play «here and now» and who are not ready to pay extra money for something more productive.

      5. Ray tracing: no
      6. The overclocking potential of the AMD Radeon RX 580 has significantly increased compared to its predecessor «480», which means that the attractiveness for buyers has also increased, because in the price segment to which this card belongs, it is really important every FPS. At one time, the “580th” competed with the GTX 1060, but now its rivals are also the GTX 1650 Super from the “greens” and the RX 5500 XT from the “reds”. The model is gradually giving way to the young ones, but is still able to please the gamer with a modest budget — Red Dead Redemption 2 can be played at high settings with a stable 30+ FPS or 60+ at medium-low, as for less demanding games like the third Witcher or fifth Battles, there it is quite possible to count on 50-60 frames per second at settings close to the maximum. Light e-sports games, such as Dota 2 or League of Legends, are not difficult at all for the RX 580, and even though, like the RX 570, this card is only for today, and not for tomorrow, it may well help to sit out difficult times .

      7. Ray tracing: no
      8. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 — the video card is far from new, but it has its advantages; sometimes it pops up on the secondary at a very affordable price, as for performance, the model can be compared with the GTX 1060, RX 5500 XT and GTX 1650 Super — somewhere it is stronger, and somewhere weaker, while I emphasize that if there is a choice , it is better to look towards solutions based on a more modern microarchitecture: as a rule, game developers optimize their projects specifically for them and certainly do not look at five-year-old graphics accelerators, and even more so, even older ones. However, in the same third Witcher GTX 980 quite pulls ultra-settings, it allows you to play Red Dead Redemption 2 relatively comfortably on medium, albeit with 50, not 60 frames per second — you can fix this by overclocking and moving individual sliders to the left. In general, the option is not ideal, but if you meet at a good price — why not?

        NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060

        • Architecture: Pascal
        • Process: 16 nm
        • General purpose processors: 1152/1280
        • Texture units: 72/80
        • ROPs: 48
        • Base clock: ~1506MHz
        • Turbo clock purity: ~1708MHz
        • Video memory type: G2DR5X4
        • Video memory size: 3/6 GB
        • Additional power supply: yes
        • Ray tracing: no memory in 2021 is strictly not recommended. At one time, the graphics accelerator in question won the status of «people’s», and is still the most popular among Steam users, which, given the demand for this service among gamers, says a lot. The performance of the GTX 1060, as I said, can be compared with the performance of the RX 580 — there are games in which green cards perform better, and there are those that tend to be red; at the same time, in neutral projects, the difference in performance is rather insignificant, so you can choose one or another option based on personal sympathies.
        • Ray tracing: no

        The AMD Radeon RX 590 is hard to find at a reasonable price, but it beats not only the GTX 1060, but also the RX 5500 XT and GTX 1650 Super in games. It is important that the “590th” is equipped with only eight gigabytes of video memory, which means that it should be enough for a few more years, even if the outdated microarchitecture and the transistor budget, which is not the most impressive by the standards of 2021, will force you to greatly reduce the settings in new games. No less important is another point — RX 590 is quite demanding on power and cooling, so look for an option with a high-quality two- or three-fan CO and do not put the card in cramped windproof office cases — then it will serve you faithfully and will allow you to enjoy many modern games at maximum, high or at least medium settings, albeit in FullHD resolution.

        NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti

        • Architecture: Maxwell
        • Technic process: 28 nm
        • The number of universal processors: 2816
        • The number of texture blocks: 176
        • Number of cuts of rasterization: 96
        • Basic clock frequency: ~ 1000 MHz
        • TURBOOT VIDELOTY: ~ 1075 MGTs: ~ 1075 MHITSU GDDR5
        • Video memory: 6 GB
        • Additional power supply: yes
        • Ray tracing: no if you remember how many years have passed, you can conclude that this is very good. The card, of course, is quite hot, its declared TDP is 250 watts, but for modern top-end graphics accelerators it easily exceeds 300, and high-quality cooling systems were able to make 5 years ago. In terms of performance, the model can be compared with the RX 5
        • Number of texture blocks: 160
        • The number of rasterization blocks: 64
        • Basic clock frequency: ~ 1607 MHz
        • Turbo CLECTION: ~ 1733 MHz
        • Type of video memory: gddr5x
        • Video
        • Additional power supply: 8 GB
        • yes
        • Ray tracing: no

        The Pascal generation brought a significant performance boost over Maxwell, so many gamers immediately rushed to sweep new graphics cards off the shelves. The GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 are some of the most popular models, both outperforming the GTX 9.80 Ti both in terms of frame rate in games and in terms of energy efficiency — the transition to a new 16-nanometer process has affected. An important plus is the presence of eight gigabytes of video memory in the «thousand and eightieth» — we can say with confidence that the model is also relevant in 2021: in terms of performance, it is almost equivalent to the much more modern GTX 1660 Super, and in many projects even ahead of it. The only negative here is the price: the coronavirus pandemic and a new wave of mining fever have driven up the cost of graphics accelerators not only in stores, but also in the secondary market, and it is quite difficult to find a GTX 1080 for an adequate amount. 9No 2060, RTX 2060 Super, or RTX 2070 for non-ray tracing scenarios; however, in some projects, the card can also aim at the results of the RTX 2070 Super, in other words, it will be possible to play comfortably not only in FullHD resolution, but also in the heavier QuadHD mode, even if in the most demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 you will have to lower the settings to medium-high or medium. But you should not count on 4K anymore — in order for your PC to submit to this resolution, it should be equipped with at least an RTX 2080 Ti or RTX 3070, and even better — an RTX 3080. At the same time, the price of the GTX 1080 Ti on the secondary this graphics accelerator is not sold so often, which only confirms its continued relevance.

        Buying a used video card — guide from Gray Dog

        ©

        seriypes


        News

        In connection with the main boom on the portal PG users have repeatedly expressed their wishes — but how do you know if the video card you want to buy is working or not. This guide, written on the basis of experience in various SCs for more than 10 years of practice, can just answer this question. The guide was written SPECIALLY for portal PG , on all sorts of TCG Overclockers and so on — this is not and will not be. So, let’s begin.

        Before purchase.

        So according to the price tag. Remember kittens — the correct price for a used video card is minus 25-35% from a new (similar) model. An example — if a card in a store costs 20tr, then an adequate person will sell it for about 15. If the price is more expensive, you don’t need it, it’s easier to buy a new one. If the card is cheaper, you should think 10 times why the seller is dumping so much, in fact, this is the 1st call that something is wrong with the video card.

        Next — the adequacy of the seller. It should be something like this — the seller (not a company — now we are talking about private individuals) either tests the device with you or gives a guarantee with a moneyback for 2-3 days, or ideally — both at once (firms selling used goods generally usually give a guarantee of 1 month ). All those who sell a la “the card is under warranty, I won’t show any papers and I won’t return the money” or simply “I don’t show my mother-in-law anything and I won’t return the loot — I don’t know anything about the WORKING card” should be BOLDLY sent by the forest — these are false moral freaks.

        Well, in general, you need to evaluate the seller as a whole — how he answers the call, in time (when he meets, etc.) does not deceive, etc. Remember, if it seems to you that the asshole has been sold, it doesn’t seem to you, immediately cancel the deal with such.

        Visual inspection.

        Even with an external examination, in some cases, you can already conclude whether to buy a card or not. Of course, 100% is never an indicator — but in some cases you can immediately judge the expediency of a purchase.

        Dust/dirt/appearance/packaging.

        A good seller always has a completely clean card without dust, ideally — there is a box and docks. Coolers \ attachments, etc. — without external damage. IN MOST cases, such a video card works like new — the plus sign is already sold. If the card is covered in dust / dirt, there is damage — you should already think about refusing to buy.

        Traces of overheating.

        In the photo, I bring you a card that is already 100% impossible to buy. If during inspection the card has dark spots in the area of ​​the chip and power bridges, definitely DO NOT BUY the card. The card was either warmed up with a hair dryer or worked in constant overheating mode — boh knows how long it will last even if it passes all the following tests.

        Tests themselves.

        So the seller turned out to be adequate, the external examination suited you, now we can safely proceed to the test of the video card “in the field”.

        Noise

        The very first test does not require any programs — this is a cooler performance test (CO — cooling system). Correctly, the cooler on the video card works like this — at the start of the computer — a little noise, then when the OS is loaded — either the cooler stops altogether or spins silently at low speeds. Further under load — a uniform increase in speed. There should not be any extra sounds — cod, creaking, etc. — an even rumble that intensifies with increasing speed. If there is external noise interference — the CO is faulty or is in a dying state — this is a bell either about a good bargain or a refusal to buy at all.

        Video memory.

        Video memory test. From experience — on relatively inexpensive video cards with DDR3 and 1-2g — «broken» memory has never been encountered in nature. But on more expensive video cards on GDDR5 and / or 4g — there were rare precedents, so it’s worth testing. We use the program for these tests — Video Memory stress Test executable:

        www.softportal.com/software-6432-video-memory-stress-test.html

        Everything is simple — we run the program, it tests memory bit by bit, if there are errors — shows them. What is not unimportant — it works directly from under Windows. There are no errors — the video card in terms of memory is working.

        Stability test (warm-up).

        Testing a video card for performance at maximum TPD (those at maximum GPU load). Program — FurMark

        www.techpowerup. com/download/furmark/

        The program is able to fully load the GPU of the video card + additionally displays a graph of temperature over time. The test usually takes 1-2 hours. An ideal card works without crashes from the program, and even more so, OS crashes into a blue screen — in both cases, the card is most likely faulty. You should also pay attention to the temperature graph — ideally, the temperature of a modern video card should not exceed 75-80 degrees in full load. Above — there is a high probability of overheating (especially considering the gradual contamination of the card in the case during operation) — it is also better not to buy such a video card.

        Shader processor test

        Although in most cases the previous program is enough to understand whether a working video card is working or not, for expensive solutions, another test is ALWAYS applied — 3D Mark 2011.

        www.3dmark.com/

        The name of the program is not correct — this is a benchmark. But it allows you to check the performance of the blocks that are responsible for various post-effects — blur, lance, etc., which FurMark does not use. The version must be used MANDATORY under DX11 and higher — because there were cases when the card passed without problems 9th mark on 11m crashed. How to test — run, wait for the end of the test. Usually we test pass 3 — although already at 1-2 if there are chip defects — the card falls into Windows with an error in accessing the driver or similar.

        But there is a nuance, very rare, but it exists — in more than 10 years of practice, I met literally 2 times. The video card passes the benchmark, but at the same time, small graphics distortions occasionally slip on the screen. The situation is VERY rare, but on expensive video cards I recommend visually monitoring the testing process — fortunately, 1 test run takes about 15 minutes on average. It’s up to you to decide whether to take such a video card, in real games it will show up in few places (if it appears at all), but in my understanding it’s better not to risk it.

        So in conclusion. These tests allow you to be 90% sure that you will buy a serviceable product. In my practice, the tests have never failed, but as they say — once a year and the stick shoots, so naturally they will not give you 100% confidence. In our SC, in addition to the tests, expensive solutions are shown to our “soldering iron”, which is engaged in reboiling and replacing chips BGA — it can always say 100% whether the card is “fried” or not + additionally we still carry out some tests at the stand. But as I said above, in the vast majority of cases, this will be enough for an ordinary user.

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        Fortnite Crash and Technical Troubleshooting — Support

        Before doing any of the steps below, explore our Trello board on game issues and learn more about them. This board is regularly updated by our community managers to include the most significant known issues in Battle Royale, Creative Mode, Save the World, and Mobile. If the issue you’re experiencing is listed on our board, then all you have to do is wait for us to release a fix update. If the issue you are experiencing is not listed on our board, follow these steps.

        • Troubleshoot PC or Mac
        • Solve connection drops
        • Troubleshoot consoles and mobile devices

        Troubleshoot PC or Mac

        Make sure your system meets the requirements to run Fortnite 902 902 To get the most out of Fortnite, make sure your PC meets the minimum requirements to run the game. This article provides the system requirements for Fortnite and how to make sure your device meets those requirements.

        Verifying game files

        Verifying game files allows you to verify that all files are in place and not damaged. If files are missing or corrupted, they will be redownloaded in the Epic Games Launcher.

        1. Open the Epic Games Launcher.
        2. Go to library .
        3. Click on the three dots next to Fortnite.
        4. In the drop-down menu, select Manage.

        5. In the window that opens, select «Check files».

        Run the Epic Games Launcher as an administrator

        By running the program as an administrator, you can bypass the restrictions on some actions that are set for a standard user on your computer.

        1. Right-click the Epic Games Launcher shortcut.
        2. Select «Run as administrator» .
        3. Launch Fortnite.

        Update your graphics card drivers

        Driver updates are released regularly by graphics card manufacturers to fix bugs and improve performance. We highly recommend installing the latest driver for your graphics card to get the best Fortnite experience. The latest drivers can be found by going to the graphics card manufacturer’s website at these links:

        • Nvidia
        • AMD
        • Intel

        Disable applications running in the background

        Sometimes apps running in the background cause crashes or slow performance when playing Fortnite. Follow the tips in this article to make sure apps running in the background are turned off.

        Restoring Visual C++ Redistributable Packages

        Visual C++ Redistributable Packages are required to play Fortnite. Make sure they are installed and not damaged.

        1. Download all Visual C++ Redistributable Packages from this link.
        2. Be sure to download both x64 and x86 versions.
        3. When the download is complete, run the files and select «Restore» .
          Note: If you do not have the Repair option, follow the on-screen instructions for a typical installation.
        4. Once the files have been restored, restart your computer.
        5. Restart Fortnite.

        Set Compatibility Mode

        Setting Compatibility Mode can help troubleshoot Fortnite.

        1. Navigate to the Fortnite binaries folder (default: C:\Program Files\Epic Games\Fortnite\FortniteGame\Binaries\Win64\)
        2. Locate the file FortniteClient-Win64-Shipping.exe .
        3. Right click on it and then select Properties .
        4. Click on the Compatibility tab .
        5. Check «Run this program in compatibility mode for:» .
        6. Make sure Windows 8 is selected.
        7. Check «Disable full screen optimization» .
        8. Click «Apply» .
        9. Press OK .
        10. Restart Fortnite.

        Use DirectX 11

        If you’re using DirectX 12 and you’re having problems playing Fortnite, you can switch to DirectX 11.

        1. Open the Epic Games Launcher .
        2. In the upper right corner, click on the first letter of your display name.
        3. Select «Settings» .
        4. Scroll down and expand the Fortnite section.
        5. Check the box next to «Advanced command line options» .
        6. Enter the command d3d11 and restart Fortnite.
          Note. to revert to DirectX 12 you need to remove/uncheck this command.

        Troubleshooting connection drops

        Epic Games 9 server status1025

        Check the status of the Epic Games servers on the appropriate page to make sure all systems are working. If the issue you’re experiencing is caused by a system outage or crash, you won’t be able to connect to Fortnite until the system is restored.

        Set matchmaking region to automatic

        Allowing to automatically select a matchmaking region will connect you to the server with minimal network latency.

        1. Launch Fortnite .
        2. Select Battle Royale .
        3. Click the menu icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
        4. Select «Settings» .
        5. Click on the gear icon.
        6. Set matchmaking region to auto mode .

        Packet loss

        «Packet loss» means that data packets sent from your computer to our servers and vice versa do not reach their destination. The following is a command line option that can fix the packet loss problem:

        1. Open Epic Games Launcher .
        2. Select «Settings» .
        3. Scroll down and expand subsection Fortnite .
        4. Check the box next to «Additional command line options» .
        5. In the empty field, type -limitclientticks to limit the frequency of network communications.

        If packet loss continues, contact your ISP for further assistance.

        Fortnite Console Troubleshooting

        If you’re playing on console, check out our standard troubleshooting steps here.

        If you continue to experience problems playing your console, we recommend contacting the console manufacturer for further assistance.

        • PlayStation Support
        • Xbox Support
        • Nintendo Support

        Login Error Message

        If you receive this message when trying to start playing Fortnite, your system is not loading fast enough.

        This happens when the system does not meet the minimum requirements to play Fortnite. The minimum requirements can be found at this link.


        Console and mobile troubleshooting

        WARNING: Apple has blocked access to Fortnite on iOS devices. Fortnite for Android can currently be downloaded using the Epic Games app from the Samsung Galaxy Store or from epicgames.com. Fortnite is currently not available on Google Play. Find out the details.

        Unable to enter username on Nintendo Switch

        If you are unable to enter your username when creating an Epic Games account on Nintendo Switch, try entering it using touch on your console or docking your console and using your controller.

        Check for game updates

        Update your game or applications to the latest version. You can download and install game updates automatically or manually. You can also try restarting your console or contacting the device manufacturer’s support.

        Reinstall Fortnite

        Consoles and mobile devices are closed systems, which means that there are not many ways to solve problems that have arisen on them. The problem can usually be fixed by reinstalling Fortnite. Here’s how to uninstall an app on Android.

        Android:

        1. Press and hold the Fortnite icon.
        2. Select Remove.