Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Cheap Second-Hand Graphics Card Without Noticing This Detail

Computers & Laptops | November 18, 2023

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Cheap Second-Hand Graphics Card Without Noticing This Detail

The past few years have been particularly tough for gamers who faced difficulties in finding the necessary hardware to run their games. New consoles suffered from a lack of stock, and the PC sector was affected by the cryptocurrency fever; as a result, both products were challenging to find at their MSRP, especially graphics cards.

Fortunately, things have changed. Graphics card deals are easy to find in stores, and the same can be said for consoles. In fact, the situation is so good that it’s possible to find good discounts on new products or second-hand units at spectacular prices.

However, caution is needed if you opt for the second option. The second-hand market is filling up with cheap graphics cards that were used for cryptocurrency mining, meaning they have received more ‘abuse’ than a conventional graphics card used simply for occasional gaming. Many of these units have failed or are on the verge of failure due to the extensive usage.

Beware of Cheap Graphics Cards

Therefore, it’s essential to avoid deals that seem too good to be true because they probably are. There is no reliable way to know if a graphics card has been used for cryptocurrency mining, apart from disassembling it and checking if the thermal paste is dry or if the performance is lower than that of a normal graphics card.

Of course, this might not matter to some buyers. In fact, some might genuinely want a graphics card used for cryptocurrency mining to get real bargains. That’s why some people are looking for Nvidia’s CMP graphics cards, which were specifically launched for the crypto market. These graphics cards are designed specifically for mining, so they are somewhat different from ‘gaming’ models. For example, they don’t have a video output (not needed for mining), and they don’t have drivers adapted for gaming. Still, this hasn’t stopped many enthusiasts from devising methods to bypass these restrictions and use these graphics cards for gaming at a very low cost.

A simple search on eBay reveals that these graphics cards can be found at prices ranging from 90 to 200 euros, depending on the model; even the more powerful versions, which cost 500 euros, might be worth it for their on-paper performance. However, it is not recommended at all, and you could be wasting your money.

This is what the YouTube channel Sfdx Show revealed when they obtained an Nvidia CMP 50HX, a model based on the same chip as the RTX 2080 Ti, a model that until recently was one of the best for gaming. Unfortunately, there are too many obstacles to using this graphics card for gaming.

Firstly, even if it’s based on the same design as the chip of the RTX 2080 Ti, it doesn’t mean it’s the same chip; these cards use chips that have been rejected for use in commercial products because they have some defect or don’t meet the expected level. Performance is also affected by a reduction in the number of PCI Express lines used to connect to the motherboard; this severely limits data transfer and, therefore, performance. And even if all that didn’t matter, there is the driver problem; Nvidia does not support these models, so you would depend on “unofficial” software created by enthusiasts.

The result of all these obstacles is evident. Sfdx Show couldn’t achieve the results one would expect from an RTX 2080 Ti, and in some games, such as Cyberpunk 2077, the FPS figures were really poor due to the PCIe line problem. Therefore, it is still advisable to look for a discount on one of the recently launched graphics cards.

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