The crypto crash has led several mining operations to move their graphics cards to the reseller marketplace, but while these GPUs will now be available at dirt-cheap prices, some users are already experiencing various issues such as faulty memory modules.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Graphics Cards With Defective Memory Modules Enter Reseller Market And Sell After Being Abused In Crypto Mining
Well this was to be expected, the GPU mining flood is already here and there are several resale sites currently listing the full range of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards, well below their suggested retail price.
GPU flood is here.
Chinese miners and South Asian ecafes are now dismantling their mining rigs and offering tickets for the auction via live streams.
3060 Ti goes for $300-$350 US… pic.twitter.com/kphmIt7vZw
— Hassan Mujtaba (@hms1193) June 21, 2022
The Chinese and Asian markets are currently flooded with such graphics cards, but the very first users to buy these used cards are facing several issues. A user at the NGA.CN Forums recently paid 3600 RMB or $536 US for a used MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X graphics card. This graphics card is currently offered at Newegg for over $1100 US and is a premium model. So paying half the price for a used variant doesn’t sound like a bad deal. Even compared to the MSRP ($699 US), it sounds like a solid deal.
However, the reason for such a low price for the graphics card was quickly discovered by the user. The user noticed that all the labels had been removed from the screws, which means that it came apart at some point. This was to be expected as NVIDIA’s original RTX 30 series graphics card had major heating issues and had to manually replace thermal pads by users to achieve better memory temperatures on the GDDR6X modules. Since these cards have been used in crypto mining activities, they may have undergone multiple pad replacements during their mining life.
But that’s not the main problem, the user also found that in GPU-z, the GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card which should have 10 GB of memory showed only 8 GB of VRAM. The RTX 3080 was launched in two flavors, a 10 GB model with a 320-bit bus and a 12 GB model with a 384-bit bus. There was no in-production variant with 8 GB of VRAM over a 256-bit bus and the reason this card had less memory turned out to be the faulty memory modules.
Considering how badly these graphics cards have been misused in mining operations, it seems that at some point two of the 10 GDDR6X memory modules failed and eventually functioned completely. As a result, the card could not be inserted. But there is already a bypass that allows users to continue using their graphics cards even if a few memory modules have died. This is achieved by the memory shielding method which is very popular in crypto mining and miners can continue to use the cards despite some modules being extinct. A video about this method from bilibili can be seen below:
The same process works not only for the GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card, but for almost any other graphics card and since RTX 3080 isn’t even the most popular card for mining, there could be several used cards on the reseller market right now that may have similar modules and masked to show the full VRAM configuration in GPUz (another popular method of tricking users). As such, it is advised to stay away from all used graphics cards for now, no matter how enticing these deals look and as the user puts it:
Finally, don’t buy a mining card, never buy it and don’t buy even if you just need it.
Now there are several ways to get the rest of the memory working again by completely replacing the modules. This has already done by professionals but that would mean you’d end up paying for another graphics card with the same memory modules, which defeats the whole point of paying cheaply. So instead of getting into trouble with a used graphics card, avoid them at all costs.