Who doesn’t love a very good deal? Especially if it’s on one thing that’s mainly new or evenly used. We’ve been devoid of any such offers on graphics playing cards for the previous couple of years, because of a mixture of provide shortages, logistics woes, and booming cryptocurrency calls for, however there’s lastly excellent news! The GPU market has taken a nosedive, which means that model new retail Nvidia and AMD graphics playing cards are cheaper than ever. They’re nonetheless costly, nonetheless, and GPU miners hurting from crypto’s crash are trying to sell off their hardware at important reductions. So we now flip our consideration to the used graphics card market.
There are offers to be discovered with used GPUs, however there are dangers concerned too. And is it even a very good time to be procuring? We’re going to cowl the highest issues that it is advisable know earlier than shopping for a used GPU, starting from the present market circumstances to what it is best to search for with the graphics card itself. If you’d moderately keep away from all of the potential complications related to shopping for a used graphics playing cards, our roundup of the best GPUs for PC gaming may also help you discover the most effective new playing cards to fit your wants as nicely.
One of the explanations that current-gen GPU costs are dropping so quick is the upcoming arrival of Nvidia and AMD’s subsequent era GPUs. No official launch dates have been launched to this point, so it’s troublesome to pin down precisely after we are seeing one thing new, although AMD says its new RDNA 3-powered Radeon GPUs will debut sometime in Q4 (October via December). Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4000-series can be closely rumored to launch someday this 12 months.
Regardless of whether or not Nvidia or AMD strikes first, count on the largest, baddest next-gen GPUs to launch first, such because the GeForce RTX 4090 and 4080. We’d be extra prone to see extra inexpensive graphics playing cards, just like the RTX 4070 and under, subsequent 12 months.
What does that imply for those who’re taking a look at choosing up a used GPU? Second hand costs will proceed to fall, and will lower much more sharply when the following generations of graphics playing cards are introduced. Even for those who don’t have plans to purchase an RTX 4090, its mere existence means you may probably get less expensive pricing for a used GeForce RTX 30- or Radeon 6000-series GPU.
2) Mining GPUs hitting the market
Many of the used graphics playing cards at the moment hitting the used market had been used for crypto mining. With the current downturn in cryptocurrency profitability, there was a large improve in these changing into out there on the market. Some might be disclosed by the vendor, however many is not going to.
Should you be nervous? We cowl the main points extra absolutely in our information to whether you should buy a used mining GPU. But (spoiler alert) you’ll most likely be tremendous, and right here’s why:
Some could also be GPUs purchased throughout the previous couple of months earlier than the “crash,” so should be near new.
Most hardcore cryptocurrency miners will underclock and energy restrict their graphics playing cards, and good homeowners can even control temperatures.
GPUs traditionally haven’t proven any important degradation or long-term points from being mined on. You’re probably extra simply to wreck it by overclocking for gaming in some circumstances.
Having stated that, crucial factor is to ask the vendor some pointed questions. If they are saying a used GPU was used for mining, ask them in what kind of surroundings was the system in. Was it sizzling the entire time? Did it have good air flow, airflow, and dirt management? Was it dealt with rigorously? What voltage and clock pace tweaks did they make? The solutions will provide you with good steering. If you’re not comfy shopping for a used mining GPU, that’s OK too. Just transfer on. The market is flush with choices proper now, together with reductions on new graphics playing cards.
3) Beware GPUs with GDDR6X reminiscence
We coated above the way you’re usually tremendous shopping for a used mining GPU, however there are some crucial technical particulars it is best to give some additional consideration. Some high-end Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics playing cards use sizzling and highly effective GDDR6X VRAM. It’s significantly taxed by mining, given how memory-intensive mining is, and a few fashions have suffered from warmth points in the event that they got here with poor thermal pads from the manufacturing facility. It’s a extra pronounced concern for Nvidia’s personal Founders Edition playing cards.
GPUs using GDDR6X consists of the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, 3080, 3080 Ti, and 3090. The monstrous RTX 3090 Ti options an improved VRAM design and is much less prone to undergo from these points. AMD’s rival Radeon choices, however, use typical GDDR6 (no X) reminiscence so that you don’t want to fret about these.
The most important one (by far) to watch out with is the large man right here, the GeForce RTX 3090. An inexperienced crypto miner who’s unaware of the VRAM points could have run their RTX 3090 nonstop, with the reminiscence consistently being thermally throttled to its 110C cutoff temperature. The GDDR6X reminiscence temperatures on wholesome GPUs ought to ideally run nicely beneath 100C. (In truth, 94C or under in a good airflow environment is even higher)
Some customized RTX 3090s had first rate out of the field thermal pads, however some didn’t—even amongst graphics playing cards with the identical mannequin, from the identical model. I’ve examined lower-end 3090s that had great temperatures—and a few higher-end fashions that had been abysmal attributable to dangerous inventory thermal pads, and vice versa. Ask the vendor about this. Some avid gamers could also be unaware of VRAM points in the event that they didn’t mine with their graphics card, and that’s probably OK, however questions are all the time good earlier than buying.
4) Stress take a look at the GPU
If you’ve gotten a pleasant vendor, you may ask them for 3DMark scores to confirm efficiency, and even ask them to run the GPU for some time in Heaven Benchmark. That will let you know if the GPU is steady and at the least performing to spec.
If you purchase the GPU from a used market place that has a very good return coverage, equivalent to a retailer open field or eBay, take a look at it your self. Our information to benchmarking your graphics card may also help. Make certain there aren’t any visible artifacts or different aberrant habits that will crash it utilizing the above referenced benchmarking software program, and check out enjoying a mix of fast-paced and visually intensive video games. If a used graphics card does have issues, you’d have a return coverage to fall again on with these locations.
If you purchase a used graphics card immediately from the earlier proprietor, off websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, getting a return could also be harder. It’s greatest to ask them to supply benchmark outcomes earlier than the sale if potential, and allow you to know of any potential points.
5) Physical circumstances matter
The eyeball take a look at is your greatest buddy. Does one thing look off or broken within the image of that used graphics card? It can have actual life penalties. That GPU fan blade with the lacking tip would possibly appear harmless sufficient, however when it’s spinning, the oscillation is prone to create numerous vibration and cooling points.
Has the vendor opened the GPU or utilized new thermal pads? While new pads can theoretically enhance temperatures, inexperienced customers who attempt to change them out may also probably injury the GPU itself in the event that they’re not cautious.
If the GPU seems to be clear, with out injury, and the vendor has the unique field in good form, these can all be nice indicators.
Don’t overlook some particular conditions the place it can save you a great deal of cash, although. Sometimes a GPU could be cosmetically broken with out efficiency issues, and it can save you lot of cash due to that for those who don’t thoughts a number of scratches on the shroud. You may also save additional cash for those who purchase one thing you recognize you may restore (such because the fan blades for those who’re useful and know what you’re doing). Overall, nonetheless, a clear, properly stored GPU is mostly supreme.
6) Choose your supply properly
Not all used GPUs are offered the identical method. There may be massive financial variations and security internet protections relying on the place you go.
First, one of many safer methods to get a less expensive “used” graphics is to search for open field choices from bodily retailers. If you’re fortunate to stay close to a Micro Center, you may even bodily examine the GPU, put a guaranty on it, and return it if it’s not working proper. You’ll save in comparison with a brand new GPU, however it might nonetheless price barely greater than elsewhere. You can usually discover related open field gadgets on Amazon, Newegg, and related retailers. Make certain you’re coated by a stable return coverage If you may’t examine it beforehand.
Next, there are numerous on-line market locations equivalent to eBay. These can usually have good return insurance policies, product photos, and vendor suggestions so you’ve gotten a better probability of getting one thing good. You could pay extra because of the price buildings, however you’ll nonetheless save over new.
The least expensive route is probably going a direct individual to individual sale, usually discovered on locations like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. While you may usually rating the most cost effective pricing on used GPUs this manner, there are loads of precautions that have to be taken in your personal security, equivalent to assembly in a public place. The excellent news is which you can usually bodily examine the graphics card, however it might be more durable to get your a reimbursement if one thing goes improper later. Good pricing, however purchaser should use extra warning.
Certain GPU manufacturers may have warranties that apply to a second proprietor with some limitations, equivalent to EVGA. Your mileage will differ right here, so be sure you analysis the precise model you’re shopping for as all of them differ.
Buying a used GPU: It’s not so dangerous!
GPUs can final for years if taken care of, and the previous couple of years have inflated GPU pricing to astronomical ranges. But in the end, the tide is popping. At the tip of the day, there may be large worth financial savings for those who’re savvy when shopping for a used graphics card. If you are taking precautions, you may usually rating a terrific deal—particularly in a all of a sudden delicate market the place sellers are desirous to eliminate their items. Be certain to take a look at our roundup of the best graphics cards for PC gaming so that you’re armed with the data you want whether or not you’re shopping for new or used.