Consumers are being warned not to buy second-hand graphics cards from an influx of cryptocurrency miners looking to sell, with one manufacturer claiming that the practice significantly damages GPU performance.
Despite an increase in cryptocurrency miners selling their used graphics cards, GPU manufacturer Palit Microsystems has warned against purchasing any graphics cards that have been used for mining.
Speaking to Benchmark.pl (thanks, PC Gamer), the company explains that cards used for cryptocurrency are used at much higher temperatures than normal, which leads to “problems with the cooling systems” and “accelerated oxidation of soldered joints, which can lead to a failure of the graphics processor or memory chip”.
Palit Microsystems also refers to finds from independent testing, which suggest “graphics cards after one year of operation in excavators [cryptocurrency mining rigs] can have about 10% lower performance than identical new models.”
The article further describes buying graphics cards from cryptocurrency miners as a “lottery” that buyers can lose money in.
These warnings follow a rush for cryptocurrency miners trying to sell their often extensive collections of graphics cards, following crackdowns in China, specifically in areas where miners were taking advantage of low energy costs.
As well as an increase in second-hand GPU sales, there are further signs this has worked. Earlier in the month, it was reported that GPU power for the Ethereum network had plummeted 19 per cent in just one month.
Supply problems in the industry has lead to widespread GPU shortages across the globe, which has been exacerbated by demand from cryptocurrency miners – in the first quarter of 2021 alone, crypto-miners bought around 700,000 graphics cards.
Though it might be tempting to see so many readily-available graphics cards, it’s likely best to wait for a chance at an official purchase – last month, Nvidia predicted that more RTX 3060s will soon reach consumers.