With the rise in prices that the mining of cryptocurrencies has produced today, buying a second-hand graphics card has become an excellent option, especially for those users who can not wait for the arrival of the next generation of NVIDIA and AMD.
We make this point because it is most likely that prices will begin to stabilize between the end of this year and the beginning of the next year thanks to the arrival of the GeForce GTX 2000 and the second-generation Radeon RX Vega , but we must also bear in mind that these new Releases can end up in a “wave” of graphics cards used in the second-hand market.
This makes sense, especially if the improved mining performance of these generations ends up being big enough to motivate the miners to renew their equipment, but we must bear in mind that to choose a second-hand graphics card and to guess right we can not limit ourselves to the price.
If we just choose the cheapest second-hand graphics card we run the risk that it is in poor condition or that it does not directly meet our expectations, so in this article, we are going to give you a series of fundamental tips so that you have clear what you should consider before buying a second-hand graphics card.
We hope that the article is useful to you and we invite you to leave your opinion and any questions in the comments.
1. Be aware of the limitations of your team
It is the first thing you should keep in mind. If you have a very old computer and you buy a very powerful second-hand graphic card in the best of cases you will have a bottleneck that will prevent you from taking advantage of it correctly.
We say at the best of times because you could also have other more serious problems such as:
- Do not have space in the tower to mount the card.
- That your power supply is not able to maintain it.
- That your tower is too small or too poorly ventilated and that temperature problems occur.
- Rate the components you have first and then start thinking about which model best fits your budget, that’s the first step.
2. Think about what resolution you are going to play
This resolution must be the native one of your monitor since it is the optimum level in what to image quality refers. If you play below that resolution you will lose sharpness drastically, so you must prioritize it over any other setting.
In this article, we already made a selection of second-hand graphic cards to play in different resolutions that can serve as a reference, so we recommend you take a look.
To complete this point we leave you as a generic reference a script that will also serve as a starting point to choose:
- Resolution 720p: Graphics cards type GTX 750 / Radeon HD 7790 are the minimum recommended.
- Resolution 1080p: Graphics cards type Radeon R9 270-GTX 670 is the minimum recommended.
- Resolution 1440p: Graphics cards type GTX 970-Radeon RX 480 is the minimum recommended.
- Resolution 2160p: Graphics cards type GTX 980 TI-Radeon R9 Fury X is the minimum recommended
3. Ask for information and if you can test
It is a fundamental point as we will see below. When buying a second-hand graphic card from an individual, we must ask what use it has been given and if it is possible to confirm the date of purchase since we will have a base that will allow us to be clear about the “punishment” received.
We must avoid at all costs cards that have been used to mine cryptocurrencies, since they will have been working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and with high levels of overclocking. This usually ends up shortening its useful life and represents a risk of premature failure. However, if we find a model at a very good price and we can test it thoroughly before buying it, it would not be a bad option.
In general, we recommend you to look for sellers in your area that allow you to see and try the second-hand graphic card that you are going to buy. Then we leave you the most important steps that you must follow to assess the status of this component:
- Pass a synthetic performance test that takes it to the limit, such as Futuremark for example. At the same time, control the temperature of the card to see that it stays within reasonable limits. This will allow you to see that it works without problems and that its thermal values are normal. If any blockage or error occurs during the test or the working temperatures are very high (more than 80 degrees) it could be in poor condition.
- Do a visual analysis of the card and no, I do not mean to look if it has dust, but to check the PCB in search of spots or marches that may indicate any type of anomaly. You do not need to be an expert to realize that a discoloration or a black mark is bad symptoms.
- If the card has more than four years of use ask if the thermal paste has been changed. If this is not the case, the abnormal temperature values may be due to this and the card may work perfectly with a simple cleaning and application of new thermal paste.
4. Compare prices, value the model and do not be afraid to negotiate
We know that the graphic card market is inflated, but this applies to the most recent generations because they are efficient at mining cryptocurrency.
This means that the GTX 960-Radeon R9 380X and below are not very sought after solutions and that their prices must be reasonable. Obviously, there will be sellers who want to inflate, but do not be afraid to negotiate since they have no outlet at high prices.
Compare prices can help you and show the seller that you really have found a better offer than yours could help you reduce the price even more, so take your time and look for several options that interest you.
Remember that the models based on the reference design of each graphic card are usually more economical, have more modest dissipaters (have higher temperatures) and do not bring overclock at home.
As for the payment and we have indicated it, prioritize the deal in hand to minimize the risk of being scammed, and if there is a shipment, use PayPal or pay cash on delivery.