Beware of that Used 3080

Jul 08, 2022 at 02:51 pm by Warlord720


With the drop in cryptocurrency prices recently there might be an opportunity to purchase a much-needed video card like a nice 3080 at a reduced price. Hold on though, if those cards were used in a crypto mining operation without proper ventilation and maintenance, they might have burned through some of their projected lifetimes, enough so they might not last long enough to pay back the reduced purchase price.

Now, this would be an extreme but possible scenario. Apparently, mining operators are trying to recoup some of their investment by selling equipment. Namely the video cards that a lot of 3D artists and code hounds would love to get their hands on… without taking out a second mortgage on their home. Besides have you seen those interest rates???

I’m more of a “use them than understand them” kind of guy with video cards. Even with computer science training, I’ve spent little time learning the architecture of modern-day video cards but there are a lot of people out there that do know.

So, is this for real or is the sky falling? Well… there is a lot out there recently on how crypto cards might not be the best buy and it’s backed up with a bit of research. I’m not an expert here even though I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but I have found that to be lacking in video card knowledge as well.

There are, however, people we can listen to and make up our minds. So, pardon me for leaning on people far savvier on the subject, like John Loeffler over at TechRadar:

Whatever you do, don't buy a used graphics card under any circumstances right now:

https://www.techradar.com/news/whatever-you-do-dont-buy-a-used-graphics-card-under-any-circumstances-right-now

And his follow-up article with:

Did I make it harder to sell your crappy, used crypto mining graphics card? Good

https://www.techradar.com/news/did-i-make-it-harder-to-sell-your-crappy-used-crypto-mining-graphics-card-good

Thiago Trevisan covers the matter over at PCWorld:

Should you buy a used mining GPU?

https://www.pcworld.com/article/395149/should-you-buy-a-used-mining-gpu.html

Josh Norem at ExtremeTech:

As The Great GPU Selloff Begins, Buyer Beware

https://www.extremetech.com/computing/337345-as-the-great-gpu-selloff-begins-buyer-beware

Over at Tom’s Hardware Jarred Walton shared his thoughts:

Should You Buy a Used Graphics Card?

https://www.tomshardware.com/opinion/should-you-buy-a-used-graphics-card

and Michael Justin Allen Sexton tells us what to watch for when buying though it dates back to 2018:

Buying a Used Graphics Card? What to Watch For

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/used-gpu-warning,36579.html

Michael Crider over at How-To-Geek gives us a “broad yes” on this article updated from 2018 with a more positive view:

Is It Safe to Buy Used GPUs From Cryptocurrency Miners?

https://www.howtogeek.com/342079/is-it-safe-to-buy-used-gpus-from-cryptocurrency-miners/

So, with the above links, you can do what Renderosity readers and users always do, make up your own mind about the pros and cons of such a purchase. Tools like Omniverse can make this a very attractive option as I have used it with the entry-level 3060 that came with my latest system, and I love it. Omniverse is the kind of tool you can step away from for a few weeks or months and go back to without missing a beat so a used 3080 looks sexier than a Lamborghini on the beach.

The main question seems to be… is heat (improper cooling and maintenance) a real culprit for shortening the life of a video card or are gamers just as hard on them? Hopefully, this gamut of articles will provide you with enough information to make a decision that won’t bite you in the pocketbook like everything else is nowadays.

As to myself… I’ll probably take a gamble in the right situation from the right seller. I had already intended to buy a 3090 for my new system but the 3060 has worked so well that I’ve yet to do so. Buying a used 3080 or 3090 is very enticing to me but then again… with inflation and other drags on the budget we may not have a choice if we need this type of video card to stay in the game.

Also, neither Renderosity nor I am endorsing any particular side of this argument. We are just putting it out there for you to make your own, hopefully, informed, decision.


M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years.  Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website

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