It is a long-established point that purchasing a used GPU, especially one that has been used for the express purpose of mining cryptocurrency is generally a bad idea. But despite consumers having wisened up to the fact, that hasn’t stopped miners from coming up with new ways to hawk their damaged goods.
Case in point, the latest trend that has emerged from ex-miners in China selling off their used mining graphics card is to paint over the graphics memory, in order to make the cards look as if they are brand new. The deception was spotted by Brazilian Techtuber Iskandar Souza, who runs the YouTube channel Techlabs, along with fellow technician Paulo Gomes.
Souza’s investigation into the whole scandal is basically a how-to in spotting GPUs that have clearly been used for mining. As a start, he indicates that some of the main tells of a used graphics cards stay the same; missing stickers and screws that have clearly been tampered with a screwdriver are still good indicators that the GPU has gone through some form of alteration.
As for the case of the “renewed” graphics memory, Souza says that one of the biggest indicators would be the yellow tint on the memory and GPU core of the card. Apparently, that yellow tint is a result of miners resoldering the old or defective components on to newer boards. Additionally, the yellow tint also appears due to excess heat, generated from prolonged use. Whatever the case, though, Souza says that the yellow tint is a dead giveaway that the graphics card was previously used for mining.
On another note, this wasn’t the first time Souza and his team had come across used mining GPUs being sold off with modified components. In another video, the Techtuber discovered that some companies in Brazil were unknowingly selling altered graphics cards; the GPUs themselves were found to be using a different epoxy colour and, once again, that tell-tale yellow tint around the PCB could be seen around the core.
With all that’s been said here, though, it is also good practice that you do not jump to conclusions just because you see a yellow tint on your graphics card’s component. As we mentioned, that tint is usually brought about by prolonged usage, as well as wear and tear, meaning that the card itself was used extensively for gaming, and not mining. Also, resoldering components on a GPU is a common practice among board partners, as it helps them save on using more expensive components.