The crypto crash has resulted in several mining operations offloading their graphics cards into the reseller marketplace but while these GPUs will be available at dirt cheap prices now, some users are already finding various issues such as the memory modules being defective.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Graphics Cards With Defective Memory Modules Enter The Reseller Market, Being Sold After Getting Abused In Crypto Mining
Well, this was to be expected, the GPU mining flood is already here and there are several resale sites that have currently listed the entire range of NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards well below their MSRPs.
GPU flood is here.
Chinese miners and South Asian ecafes now dismantling their mining rigs and putting cards up for auction on livestreams.
3060 Ti's going for $300-$350 US ... pic.twitter.com/kphmIt7vZw
— Hassan Mujtaba (@hms1193) June 21, 2022
The Chinese and Asian markets are currently being flooded with such graphics cards but the very first users who are buying these used cards are finding several issues. A user over at the NGA.CN forums recently paid 3600 RMB or $536 US for a used MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X graphics card. This graphics card is currently listed at Newegg for over $1100 US and is a premium model. So paying half the price for a used variant doesn't sound like a bad deal. Even compared to MSRP ($699 US), it sounds like a solid deal.
However, the reason for such a low price for the graphics card was quickly found out by the user. The user noticed that all labels from the screws had been removed which means that it was taken apart at some point. This should be expected as NVIDIA's initial RTX 30 series graphics card had major heating issues and thermal pads had to be replaced manually by users to achieve better memory temperatures on the GDDR6X modules. Since these cards have been used in crypto mining operations, they could have undergone multiple pad replacements during their mining lifetime.
But that isn't the major problem, the user also discovered that in GPU-z, the GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card which is supposed to have 10 GB of memory, only showed up with 8 GB of VRAM. The RTX 3080 launched in two flavors, a 10 GB model with a 320-bit bus and a 12 GB model with a 384-bit bus. There was no in-production variant that featured 8 GB VRAM across a 256-bit bus and the reason why this card featured lower memory was discovered to be the defective memory modules.
Considering just how bad these graphics cards have been abused in mining operations, it looks like at some point, two of the 10 GDDR6X memory modules gave away and ended up functioning at all. This resulted in the card failing to post. But there's already a bypass that allows users to continue using their graphics cards even if a few memory modules have died. This is achieved through the memory shielding method which is very popular in crypto mining and miners can continue using the cards despite some modules having died out. A video on this method from Bilibili can be seen below:
The same process not only works for the GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card but almost any other graphics card and considering that RTX 3080 isn't even the most popular card for mining, there could be several used cards in the reseller market right now that might have similar modules & masked to show the full VRAM configuration in GPUz (another popular method to trick users). As such, it is advised to stay away from all used graphics cards for now, regardless of how enticing these deals look and as the user himself puts it:
Finally, don't buy a mining card, never buy it, and don't buy even if you just need it.
Now there are several ways to make the rest of the memory work again by replacing the modules entirely. This has already been done by professionals but that would mean you'd have to end up paying for another graphics card with the same memory modules which defeats the whole point of paying cheap in the first place. So instead of getting into trouble with a used graphics card, just avoid them at all costs.