Beware! Multiple Used NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Graphics Cards with Defective Memory Modules Sold After Abuse in Cryptomine Operations

The cryptocurrency crash has resulted in several mining operations releasing their graphics cards to the retail market, but although these GPUs will now be available at cheap prices, some users are already experiencing various issues, such as the memory modules being defective.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Graphics Cards with Defective Memory Modules Enter the Reseller Market and Sold After Abuse in Cryptomine Operations

Well, that was to be expected, the GPU mine flood is already here, and there are several resellers that have currently listed the entire range of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards well below their MSRPs.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090, RTX 4080, RTX 4070 Specifications updated again: AD102 GPU with 16384 cores, AD103 with 10240 cores & AD104 with 7168 cores

The Chinese and Asian markets are currently flooded with such graphics cards, but the very first users to buy these used cards are experiencing several issues. A user on the NGA.CN forums recently paid 3600 RMB or $ 536 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 it does not sound like a bad deal to pay half the price for a used variant. Even compared to the MSRP ($ 699 US), it sounds like a solid deal.

However, the reason for such a low price for the graphics card, the user quickly found out. The user noticed that all labels from the screws had been removed, meaning that it was separated at some point. This should be expected as NVIDIA’s initial RTX 30 series graphics card had major heat 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, they could have undergone several pad replacements during their mining.

But that’s not the big problem, the user also discovered that in the GPU-z, the GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card, which was supposed to have 10 GB of memory, only showed up with 8 GB of VRAM. RTX 3080 launched in two variants, 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 contained 8 GB of VRAM across a 256-bit bus, and the reason this card had lower memory was discovered to be the defective memory modules.

Given how badly these graphics cards have been misused in mining, it seems that two of the 10 GDDR6X memory modules at one point gave away and ended up working at all. This resulted in the card not being able to be sent. But there is already a bypass that allows users to continue using their graphics card even if a few memory modules are dead. This is achieved through the memory shielding method, which is very popular in cryptocurrency operations, and miners can continue to use the cards despite the fact that some modules have died out. A video about this method from Bilibili can be seen below:

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The same process works not only for the GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card, but almost any other graphics card, and given that the RTX 3080 is not even the most popular mining card, there may be more used cards in the retail market right now that may have similar modules & masked to show the full VRAM configuration in GPUz (another popular method of fooling users). As such, it is advisable to stay away from all used graphics cards for the time being, no matter how enticing these offers look and as the user himself puts it:

Finally, do not buy a mine card, never buy it, and do not buy even if you just need it.

Now there are several ways to get the rest of the memory to work again by replacing the modules completely. This has already been done by professionals, but it would mean that you would 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 having problems with a used graphics card, avoid them at all costs.

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