The new GPU market either leaves users with no GPUs to purchase or prohibitively expensive pricing for those that exist. Several individuals, naturally, are resorting to the used GPU market—but there are other hazards along the way!
It’s improbable that you’ll find a current-generation GPU for sale on the used market. The majority of GPUs for sale are from the previous or prior generation of goods. This makes deciding which cards are best for oneself and how much one should pay for them more difficult.
This is the reason it’s crucial to evaluate the used card you’re considering to the current generation of cards. Two or three generations ago, a high-end GPU might only be as good as today’s entry-level or midrange card.
This implies one should be able to get a better deal on a used card than one would on a new one. If not, it’s better to just get the new lower-end card, presuming it satisfies the performance requirements.
The general rule still holds in the face of card shortages and higher retail pricing. When one acquires a used model, one should save money compared to the inflated price of a new performance-equivalent card.
Examine the Card’s History
Considering the history of a used GPU is crucial, but it’s not as important as one may assume. The most prevalent piece of advice here is to avoid purchasing GPUs that have previously been used for cryptocurrency mining. But, such concerns are exaggerated, and if you know what you’re doing, ex-mining GPUs might be a terrific value.
The card’s past isn’t quite as essential as its current condition, however, some details are worth remembering. Particularly if the card was an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) board that was never sold at a retail store. These cards are normally unbranded and were designed to be supplied as part of a pre-built computer. In principle, there’s nothing wrong with an OEM card, however, you should check to see if it has the same specifications, clock rates, and build quality as a retail card.
Insist on the Card Being Tested and Inspected
This is likely the most crucial aspect of purchasing a pre-owned GPU. It’s best to inspect and test the card before handing over any money whether you’re buying it from a private seller in person. This implies either bringing your desktop computer or requesting the merchant to install the card on a computer.
It’s a nice concept to run a stress-testing application like FurMark to see if there are any visual abnormalities or if the GPU is overheating. One might also want to use a tool like 3DMark to do a benchmark to verify if the card is operating as it should. Launch GPUZ as well to confirm that the information it displays corresponds to what the merchant claims the card is.
Listen to the card when it’s under load, in addition to software-based testing. Is there any rattling or squeaking coming from the fan? This is most likely a hint that the fan has to be changed, which based on the card might be an easy or difficult task.
The fan may not be functioning perfectly if the card overheated or displayed graphical problems. Furthermore, the thermal paste between the GPU and the heatsink may have degraded, particularly on older cards. If you’re prepared to disassemble the card, clean the heatsink and fan, and then reapply new thermal paste, this could work. It’s generally advisable to pass on it unless the vendor is ready to let you return it if it’s still not working properly after such repairs.
Lastly, remove the card from the test machine and carefully inspect it. A little dirt isn’t an issue, but if the heatsink or fan is loose, any of the attachment components are broken, or there are electronic components that don’t appear good, such as the capacitors, you’re better off discarding the card.
When Shopping Online, Use Payment Protection
If you’re buying a used card online, you won’t be able to test it until after you’ve paid for it and received it. This emphasizes the importance of sticking to online sites that provide some form of protection so that you can get your money back if you purchase a lemon.
Before actually making a payment, attach importance to the terms and conditions of sale and make sure you understand them.