See how an RTX 2080 Ti's gaming performance compares to a new card after 18 months of...

midian182

Posts: 6,578   +58
Staff member
In brief: We've long been warned not to buy older, second-hand graphics cards from eBay that have been used for mining. It's assumed their continued use causes wear and tear that impacts gaming performance, and a YouTube channel has investigated this claim by testing an RTX 2080 Ti that's been mining for 18 months.

Testing Games (via Tom's Hardware) compared the 4K performance of several titles, pitting a brand-new Turing consumer flagship against one that had been mining for around 18 months. Not too surprisingly, the newer card was the better performer, offering about 10 percent more FPS in games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Battlefield V, and Assassin's Creed Valhalla. One exception was Forza Horizon 4, where the difference was slightly greater.

As you can see in the video, the main reason behind the performance difference is the mining card running at a lower clock speed and with higher temperatures. The older RTX 2080 Ti is often between 15C - 20C hotter than the new version, resulting in a lower boost frequency.

This doesn't necessarily mean you should avoid ex-mining cards like the plague. As noted in some of the video's comments, the slower RTX 2080 Ti's performance could be improved by replacing the thermal pads and applying a new layer of thermal paste, which can dry out after periods of prolonged use. This should bring down temperatures and push framerates back up.

Users who might not be confident with tinkering inside their cards could do something as simple as dusting and cleaning their components—dust and debris build-up can also affect cooling performance.

So, buying an ex-mining card on eBay might not be a bad idea if you're willing to put in the work. The only problem is finding one that isn't selling for way above the MSRP.

Permalink to story.

 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,427   +1,033
I bought an ex mining card a few years back, it arrived in immaculate condition as the seller cleaned and re-pasted it prior to dispatch.

Mining itself doesn’t damage cards. Hot, dusty enrionments do. So it’s really down the seller.

If you can get an ex miner for a good price I say go for it. Just make sure you flash the bios as miners use custom bios to maximise efficiency.
 

Peter Farkas

Posts: 527   +374
I have recently sold an RX-580 that I bought from a miner about 2 years ago. I only used it for gaming. Before I sold it I replaced the thermal pads with Thermal Grizzly pads and the paste with Acrtic MX-4. The fans were replcaed too with decent ones from AliExpress.
Since 580s were heavily overvolted by default, we did a bit of undervolting on it to approx. 1040mV.
The card still performs much better than out of the box when it was released. There is absolutely no depreciation of the chip due to mining. You have to watch out for the pads and paste as well as the fans where bearings tend to die after 3-4 years of heavy use.
It is really safe to buy a mining card imo and I would buy one, especially for a discount, in the future again.
Now those who dare not disassemble a card should not buy it because then they will only have a card that runs hotter at lower clock speeds with higher noise....
 

mrtraver

Posts: 482   +226
I tend to use GPUs until they don't work any more, so my concern about used cards has always been longevity rather than performance. I would guess that the majority of used cards do not have new thermal paste, pads, and fans.
 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,719   +1,520
What is a heavily used card worth? If I spend an hour getting the card and supplies and another hour changing pads and paste and fans, what is that 'out of warranty' card worth?

My current PC is second hand 10 years old and going strong. I bought it on eBay for about $250 all in 3 years ago. I put about 6 hours into cleaning and 'fixing'. MSRP was originally $2800 (6-core, 12 thread, Win10 Pro).

Should a 3 year old GPU run about 50% of MSRP? or less?
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 362   +651
Avoid all second hand cards.
Do not give these miners who wreck our chances in buying a new card to get their money back. let them hurt.

The ones to blame here are the sellers.

All they care for is moving inventory and whoever comes with the money, gets it.

Specially when the sellers themselves are actually over charging for GPUs, because they know the miners have the money to buy them.

The other problem with this is that GPU manufacturers are wary of increasing production and then get stuck with warehouses full of cards if a mining boom dies.

The other side of the coin is, in the end, a miner has the same right as a gamer to buy and use a GPU as they see fit.

Overall, the current situation sucks, but is the reality.

 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,791   +1,030
I definitely think we should draw conclusions from one solitary card that was tested by someone on YouTube....
Yeah, I would be less concerned about the GPU chip itself, and more about the MOSFETs and drivers (electrical, not software) on the card itself. If those start to get even a little hot, they'll begin downward spiral of heat>damage>lower performance>even more heat>even more damage>even lower performance>etc.

Usually the integrated heat spreader on things like FETs are just fine for cooling, no active cooling, thermal pads/paste necessary. But that is because the assumption is their environment is at a reasonable temperature. Cramming as many GPUs into a room as possible likely will push them above their safe operating temps, shortening their life. And replacing those is much trickier, both in terms of identifying the failure, and doing the repair (since most people have neither the skills nor tools to do SMT rework soldering at home).
 

Thretosix

Posts: 59   +68
I bought an ex mining card a few years back, it arrived in immaculate condition as the seller cleaned and re-pasted it prior to dispatch.

Mining itself doesn’t damage cards. Hot, dusty enrionments do. So it’s really down the seller.

If you can get an ex miner for a good price I say go for it. Just make sure you flash the bios as miners use custom bios to maximise efficiency.
Only problem is they are selling you the old card to buy the card you really want that you can't get because they bought it first. I sure hope the GPU companies find a way to separate their line ups in a way that allows gamers to get their hands on gaming GPUs. The problem is really elsewhere though, it's not the miners fault. They are just in the market for the same device.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,427   +1,033
Only problem is they are selling you the old card to buy the card you really want that you can't get because they bought it first. I sure hope the GPU companies find a way to separate their line ups in a way that allows gamers to get their hands on gaming GPUs. The problem is really elsewhere though, it's not the miners fault. They are just in the market for the same device.
Well in my case it was a second GPU that I only bought as it was going so cheap. This was back in 2014 though. And I don’t recommend crossfire after that lol.
 

Thretosix

Posts: 59   +68
Well in my case it was a second GPU that I only bought as it was going so cheap. This was back in 2014 though. And I don’t recommend crossfire after that lol.
Nothing wrong with that at all. Starting to wish I bought a 2080ti on the cheap when the 3000 series cards were announced. Now I'm either going to wait for them to sell for MSRP, or wait another generation and stalk the release in hopes of getting one at launch.
 

DaveBG

Posts: 539   +228
They should have mentioned the ambient temps. The old card is running hot. Either needs cleaning of heat sink or was run in hotter room.
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 80   +184
People need to understand how electronics actually fail. Electronics doesn't experience 'wear' like mechanical systems (like car engines) do, so running electronics 24/7 is rarely detrimental if kept within its design envelope (temperature, voltage, humidity, etc).

Solder-related failures (often the dominant type in mass produced electronics) are driven by thermal cycles (heat up/cool down), which mining cards don't experience. The main failures that are driven by operating time are mechanical parts (ie fans) which can easily be repaired and also depend heavily on how dusty the environment the fan operated in.

Electro-migration, whilst loosely linked to operating time, is far more affected by operating temperature and voltage. If kept within its temperature and voltage limits, electro-migration is likely to be so slow that something else (ie solder or fans) will fail first. Electro-migration also doesn't tend to insta-kill electronics, instead it is likely to result in gradually higher leakage current (so higher idle power draw and temp) and worsening OC potential. As mining cards are usually undervolted and underclocked to maximise power efficiency, electro-migration is likely to be less severe in a mining card running 24/7 than a gamers video card overclocked and overvolted running for 3-4 hours a day.

Lastly, most miners keep their rigs pretty clean and run in open systems/racking, compared to many gaming systems that are under desks collecting a lot of dust. I'd actually trust an ex-miner card over a Jo Bloggs gamer card, unless said Jo Bloggs could show how well they maintained the card (dust free, not overclocked, etc).