Second-hand GPU lottery: Mining playing cards lose 10% efficiency yearly

Racks of graphics cards being used for cryptocurrency mining

(Picture credit score: NiseriN, Getty Pictures)

A mined GPU will lose an estimated 10% of its authentic efficiency annually. That’s the phrase from graphics card producer, Palit Microsystems. Firm representatives have spoken to, and are eager to warn avid gamers in opposition to the lure of low-cost second-hand GPUs beforehand used for cryptocurrency mining.

There’s a present inflow of extra reasonably priced trendy graphics playing cards, primarily in Asia, as a current crackdown in China has shut down many outfits in several elements of the nation. That has pushed some mining operations abroad as an alternative, with the US now accounting for over a 3rd of the world’s Ethereum nodes, and China now sitting under Germany within the desk with lower than a ten% share.

Newly shut down operations are attempting to recoup a few of their losses by capitalising on the nonetheless intense demand for graphics playing cards from on a regular basis PC avid gamers. These used, and infrequently abused, playing cards are then pushed out into the second-hand market, with a tempting price ticket, and each try made to cover their mining origins.

However do you have to truly be tempted? If there’s a second worldwide crypto crash and it turns into unprofitable to mine Ethereum in any respect, then we’ll see the second-hand GPU market throughout the globe flooded with all of the playing cards we have been determined to get our arms on for the final 12 months or so. Then it stops being a theoretical query and one thing plenty of us are going to must suppose lengthy and laborious about.

With the potential for these GPUs to have crawled out of the cryptocurrency mines, the second-hand graphics card then turns into extra of a lottery than traditional. It is extremely laborious to have the ability to inform from a easy itemizing whether or not the GPU in query has been used for mining. 

Except there’s some type of non-standard cooler connected to it, that’s.

That ought to be a significant pink flag. If a card has had its inventory cooler changed there’s a better than regular likelihood that is as a result of the GPU has had a difficulty previously, and it might additionally point out that different modifications might have been made to the board. Any adjustments to the graphics card itself will imply any potential guarantee is instantly voided.

Nonetheless, some modded playing cards can nonetheless have their authentic coolers strapped again on, and should even have some seemingly authentic packaging too, and from a easy second hand itemizing you would be laborious pushed to inform the distinction.

On the flip aspect, there are some cautious miners on the market who will studiously undervolt their GPUs, which might enhance sustained clock speeds, effectivity, and due to this fact present higher hash charges. Such second-hand playing cards may very well come out of the mines comparatively intact, although there isn’t a approach to know if that’s certainly the state of affairs a selected GPU has discovered itself in.

Palit reps level to impartial exams carried out on mining playing cards, which recommend you can anticipate a ten% degradation in GPU efficiency for annually of service in a 24/7 cryptocurrency operation. Which looks like a fairly good yardstick to make use of when contemplating your choices within the second-hand market; even when a given card truly works once you pay money for it, there is a good likelihood it will not be working at its peak.

Inevitably Palit—a graphics card producer which good points nothing from the second-hand sale of GPUs—has a vested curiosity in ensuring you purchase your graphics playing cards new. However these are nonetheless vital issues to recollect when that tantalising Ebay itemizing all of a sudden pops up for a ‘practically new RTX 3070’ and not using a ludicrous mark up.

Positive, you may get fortunate and your used GPU will probably be lovingly cared for miner, one which provides you with many lengthy years of gaming service, comfortable to not be simply quantity crunching day-in-day-out. 

Or you may find yourself with a brick that breaks down after just a few days enjoying CS:GO. Yeah, as I mentioned, a lottery. And a probably costly one in the event you’re not fortunate.

Dave James

Dave has been gaming for the reason that days of Zaxxon and Girl Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Dying Race 2000!). He constructed his first gaming PC on the tender age of 16, and eventually completed bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system round a 12 months later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first began writing for Official PlayStation Journal and Xbox World many many years in the past, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 amongst others. Now he is again, writing concerning the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with extra cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the solar, and SSDs extra capacious than a Cybertruck.