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davebc112

How to tell whether a GPU is new or has been used before

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hey,

 

I wanna upgrade my GTX 970 to something more powerful and I've been looking into the used market of Pascal cards.

Before someone asks, yes, I know that the 30XX gen is gonna come out in like september, but rn would just be very convenient for me to upgrade, since the Radeon HD 6870 in my second rig (back home at my parents' place) has finally given up the ghost but I wanna do at least a bit of gaming when I'm back home during the uni break in summer.

In the Netherlands (where I live), GTX 1080 ti's seem to be easy to get your hands on, however there is a lot of scammers on marktplaats (kinda like craigslist or kijiji for you Canadians out there).

So I found a dude (let's call him William) who's willing to sell me a 1080ti for cheap, we text back and forth, I ask the usual stuff like Have you ever overclocked it? ; Has it been used for mining? and Do you still have the receipt/warranty?. Turns out, apparently (and I'm inclined to believe him, he sent me some videos) his uncle is this rich tech guy who has like a whole mining operation and stuff. Said uncle gave him five (!) 1080ti's that he (the uncle) bought but then allegedly ended up not needing, so he gave them to his nephew who wanted to game. Makes sense I guess. William of course doesn't have a receipt or an original box or anything. 
William did however agree on coming to my place to let me test the card(s) in my own personal rig (why not his place? idk, I think he only has five 1080ti's, not the rest of the rig). He also came across like a reasonably trustworthy guy. Poor dude just doesn't know what to do with five graphics cards.

Now my worry is that the graphics cards have actually been used for mining and the uncle simply didn't tell William (or he lied to me, but let's believe in the good in people for now).
From the pictures it looks like the fans/heatsink on the cards (MSI 1080ti Gaming X) are actually unused. However, even if they are, uncle could have just used an aftermarket cooler and put the original heatsink back on.

Is there a sure-fire way for me to tell whether that's the case? Or to see immediately that it's unused? I was thinking look at the PCB to see colouration, cuz I've heard that the heat from mining can cause those. Or looking at the screws of the fan etc.

I have attached the picture he sent me. They do look new, but they might have been cleaned...

Or do I just have to hope that he's not trying to get me to buy a card used for mining?
Mind you, I am no expert on this stuff. I can build my own PC no problem, but I've never changed a GPU cooler before...

 


TLDR: Guy trying to sell me a GTX 1080 ti without original box or receipt, he says it's new, I'm afraid it was used for mining (maybe with an aftermarket (water-)cooler) and cleaned up. 
           How can I tell?

 

 

Thanks a lot in advance, sorry for the wall of text. 

 

Picture in spoiler.

 

Spoiler

$_85.jpg

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there is no fool proof easy way i know of. you can look at the pins, it will have some marks, even after only one install, but this would be there from testing... check for dust very carefully, this also isn't fool-proof, but i find that even the best cleaners neglect the pcb board and components under the heat sink, so a flashlight shine under the heat sink(w/o removing of coarse) is a good way to know. otherwise, the best you can do is make sure to see it pass a benchmark, and don't touch if the warranty seal looks iffy.

 

edit: after checking the picture (didn't see it at first), i don't know if a have much faith in someone who keeps them wrapped in a blanket... you would need a better pic to get more detail.

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One thought is look at the screws.  If the interiors are marred they have been removed.  Still not foolproof.  The standard method is run them, test them, see if they work.  All that tells you though is if they work.   Some models of some cards have “void of removed” stickers over some screws.  theyre not legally actionable but an unmarked sticker would mean the screw has not been removed.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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If it's cheap and you can test it properly, why not? It's not like proper mining is any worse than gaming for the GPU.

 

Also make sure you're getting it actually for a good price, for example if it costs around the same as a 2070 Super it isn't a good deal.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
45 minutes ago, bmx6454 said:

there is no fool proof easy way i know of. you can look at the pins, [...] check for dust very carefully, this also isn't fool-proof, but i find that even the best cleaners neglect the pcb board and components under the heat sink, so a flashlight shine under the heat sink(w/o removing of coarse) is a good way to know. [...]
edit: after checking the picture (didn't see it at first), i don't know if a have much faith in someone who keeps them wrapped in a blanket... you would need a better pic to get more detail.

By pins you mean the part that I plug into the PCIe slot, right? I will look at those. The flashlight is a good idea.

Regarding the pcb: From what I can see from a quick Google search, there is a backplate. Should I also just kind of look underneath that? Without removing it I guess.

 

The blanket also left me quite bamboozled, ESD who?

 

 

37 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

One thought is look at the screws.  If the interiors are marred they have been removed.  Still not foolproof.  The standard method is run them, test them, see if they work.  All that tells you though is if they work.   Some models of some cards have “void of removed” stickers over some screws.  theyre not legally actionable but an unmarked sticker would mean the screw has not been removed.

Of course I will run a benchmark, 3D Mark I guess. Maybe fire up Battlefield or so to check how it handles that.

The void sticker is a good tip. Thanks.

 

 

28 minutes ago, KaitouX said:

If it's cheap and you can test it properly, why not? It's not like proper mining is any worse than gaming for the GPU.

 

Also make sure you're getting it actually for a good price, for example if it costs around the same as a 2070 Super it isn't a good deal.

It appears that people have conflicting opinions on whether mining is actually bad for the GPU or not. But it seems as though some say it's worse because GPUs aren't made for constant load, while others say Gaming is actually worse, because of all the fluctuating loads

Never really quite sure what to make of it.

 

He's agreed to 400 Europe-Dollars. 2070 Super's start at 530ish (new), probably 550 for one with a cooler that isn't complete rubbish. There aren't really any used ones available in the greater Amsterdam area, and the ones further out would have to be shipped, which is too much of a risk. I do wanna see it live before I buy a used video card. Also, they're around 500 used.

So I think that it's a pretty sweet deal.

 

 

Thanks for the advice so far! 
I guess I'll tell him to bring it over some time soon (hope he's still willing, he didn't seem too happy about all my questions).

 

 

If anybody has some other tips or recommendations, please share your thoughts!
Since it is almost four AM here (oops), I will go to bed now and hope for much more great feedback when waking up.

Thanks again!

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$400 for a 2080ti is a good deal.  Less so than it used to be but good.  I’d buy one as long as it worked ok even if it was a mining card.  Even with the new GPUs coming out it can’t be that bad a deal.  Maybe not great but unlikely to be bad.   New upcoming cards may be faster but I doubt they’ll also be cheaper. 


The deal with mining is a mining card often uses a special bios and reflashinf bios is always a bit of a die roll.  A corrupted bios can brick a card.  There’s also the issue of possible misuse.    Mining is by definition industrial.  People treat industrial equipment differently.  Some people thrash it within an inch of its life.  Massive overclocks, dusty environments, lack of maintenance.  Mines with doesn’t mean bad, but there are whole other levels of hardware mistreatment that can but don’t necessarily do take place.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

$400 for a 2080ti is a good deal.  

[...] Massive overclocks [...] 

1080ti

2080ti I wish :D

 

 

I thought undervolting was more common, since saving on power would usually be more monetarily efficient than the performance gained through OCing. 

 

And now a good night (or evening) for real (;

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7 minutes ago, davebc112 said:

1080ti

2080ti I wish :D

 

 

I thought undervolting was more common, since saving on power would usually be more monetarily efficient than the performance gained through OCing. 

 

And now a good night (or evening) for real (;

Possibly.  You never know though.  Mining was always a get-rich-quick kind of endeavor and such people are prone to strange things. Mining was always about turning electricity into money and someone stealing electricity might overclock because free stuff.  1080ti less of a good deal for $400.  I’d call that top dollar or close.  Same cost as a 5700xt that is nearly as fast. 


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

 1080ti less of a good deal for $400.  I’d call that top dollar or close.  Same cost as a 5700xt that is nearly as fast. 

 

I read that there were some nasty driver issues with the 5700xt, which kind of scared me away from buying one. Is it really that good? Cuz I can find those new from trustworthy vendors for 400 or less. See spoiler for prices. 

Makes me kinda question the whole thing... 

Spoiler

Screenshot_20200604_122022_com.android.chrome.thumb.jpg.71840e8545d5077de7a95aed9e67ac52.jpg

 

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55 minutes ago, davebc112 said:

 

I read that there were some nasty driver issues with the 5700xt, which kind of scared me away from buying one. Is it really that good? Cuz I can find those new from trustworthy vendors for 400 or less. See spoiler for prices. 

Makes me kinda question the whole thing... 

  Reveal hidden contents

Screenshot_20200604_122022_com.android.chrome.thumb.jpg.71840e8545d5077de7a95aed9e67ac52.jpg

 

My understanding is that there were issues but they got resolved.  Not unusual for a brand new architecture.  The 5700xt is considered a “1080” class card and competes with the 2070s.  So these 1080tis are a bit faster.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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58 minutes ago, davebc112 said:

 

I read that there were some nasty driver issues with the 5700xt, which kind of scared me away from buying one. Is it really that good? Cuz I can find those new from trustworthy vendors for 400 or less. See spoiler for prices. 

Makes me kinda question the whole thing... 

  Reveal hidden contents

Screenshot_20200604_122022_com.android.chrome.thumb.jpg.71840e8545d5077de7a95aed9e67ac52.jpg

 

I have a 5500XT and there does seem to be issues with the latest driver, I rolled back to March and it's not crashed yet. Got a return lined up just in case it craps out on me again.

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