- Why is GPU used for mining?
- Does Mining Destroy GPU?
- Tips For Buying A Used GPU From A Miner
- Can I Use A Mining GPU For Gaming?
As the price of cryptocurrencies continues to find their bottoms, lots of miners are looking to offload their old GPUs used for mining. The big question now for gamers is, are they still in good enough condition to use for gaming, or are these graphics card toast from being run 24/7 at full speed?
Is it safe to buy GPU from miners? The short answer is yes, although there are some risks in buying a GPU used for mining. However, these risks are no more significant than buying used computer hardware in general.
For those that dont know, cryptocurrency mining requires the use of computing power, whether it be a CPU, GPU, or the advanced ASIC miners, to be under a 24/7 load to solve the cryptographic puzzles. In previous articles, we touched on whether mining has any damaging effects on GPU.
However, we didn’t go into the specifics about purchasing second-hand graphics cards that were used by miners. Now obviously, the whole point of looking into buying these second-hand cards is to be able to get them at an incredibly reduced price. Heck, even professional miners that are long term on cryptocurrency mining, are looking into buying these cards as well.
So if your like everyone else that’s been wondering if this is a safe bet route to go, then stick around and keep reading. In this guide, we cover all the significant concerns like whether it’s safe to buy used GPUs and the red flag warnings that signal if the card is, in fact, damaged goods. But, before we begin, it’s relevant to understand why GPUs are even used for this purpose.
Why is GPU used for mining?
In the beginning, cryptocurrency mining was initially executed on CPUs using everyday computers and was the only way a miner could get any Bitcoin. However, it wasn’t long after that many users of this new tech found ways to earn more Bitcoin by using GPUs.
The whole process of creating new Bitcoin revolves around solving mathematical puzzles repeatedly. Graphics cards in comparison to CPUs can do these calculations more efficiently, which is why they have a higher hashrate than a CPU.
In early 2010, only a year after Bitcoin’s inception, a developer created software that enabled users to mine Bitcoin via GPU, and ever since then, CPUs have been left to mine only a few alternative cryptocurrencies called altcoins. Additionally, the GPU has abruptly phased out of Bitcoin mining as well by even more advanced hardware called ASICs.
These days the GPU mining has taken on a very different form, which you can learn all about here in one of our previous guides.
Does Mining Destroy GPU?
As stated earlier, buying used graphics is a relatively safe bet for the most part. The common misconception is that mining damages the GPU and dramatically shortens the lifespan of a card. What’s funny about this is that mining on a GPU is no different than using it for gaming when it comes to putting wear and tears on the cards.
In reality, you could say that mining is safer on the hardware than gaming is due to their being fewer temperature fluctuations in mining vs. a gamer who may play a game for several hours just to beat the boss and shut the computer off for the night. The random heating up and cooling down effects from gaming can cause the solder joints to expand and contract, thus weakening the solder joints over time.
In mining, the stress load is constant, with minimal fluctuations in temperature. Miners also tend to put more care into keeping their video cards running as cool as possible. You see, GPUs won’t mine as efficiently when operating under high temperatures, and most miners know this, so again, extra care is put aside to ensure these cards don’t run too hot. If anything miners are hard on the fans but those can be replaced rather quickly.
Additionally, miners tend to overclock and under volt their GPUs for max mining performance. While this does increase the card clock speeds, it also configures the hardware to use less power to keep them running at optimal operating temperatures. This, too, can extend the overall life of the hardware when properly executed.
Tips For Buying A Used GPU Mining GPU
Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to tell how much lifespan is left on a graphics card, let alone determining whether it was, in fact, used to mine. However, we searched the internet and found some tips for you to use when going about buying used cards from miners.
Stick with buyers protection sites: Sites like Amazon and eBay offer buyer protection where you can at least get the chance to return the item if found to be faulty. Additionally, you could purchase from highly rated sellers to lower the chances of buying a bad card.
Make sure the price is half MSRP: The whole point of doing this is to get an excellent deal on a card to build a rig. If a card is priced to close to its original retail value, then your better off just buying brand new. On the contrary, if the card is priced low in comparison to similar offers, then the deal is probably too good to be true.
Stick with the newer series cards: Using this method can prevent you from buying cards that have been mined on for too long or are just outdated and old in general. However, if you don’t know what the latest cards are, then we suggest you check out our list of top recommended cards that we miners like to use here. Just about any GTX or RX series or newer is the best bet.
Feel the seller out: Again, this ties into buying from trusted sites with buyer protection, but you may want to try FB marketplace to catch some deals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the hardware, especially in asking them if the hardware was ever used to mine. We might even go as far as to ask them to send close up pictures of the hardware to inspect it for wear and tear visually or to know whether the card was well maintained.
In the end, you might even want to request that the seller send you a video of them physically running a series of benchmarks on the card to see if it starts to artifact or causes the computer screen to freeze and blackout. If buying from the FB marketplace, then maybe consider meeting in a public place where you can test the card yourself.
Can I Use A Mining GPU For Gaming?
We get asked this question a lot, so we felt compelled to answer it here in this article. As for most cards that get used to mine cryptocurrencies, their original intended use is for gaming. So in this instance, yes, you can game with them.
However, some manufacturers like ASUS decided it would be wise to make mining-specific cards. Since these cards were never intended to be gamed with, the manufacturer’s never engineered them with the respective outputs to allow a gaming monitor to be attached. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t be reconfigured to play games with either, although to get them to do so will require you to alter the card, which is highly not recommended.
So there you have it. This concluded our second-hand GPU buyers guide, so we hope you enjoyed what you have learned here. If you feel that this information helped you in some way then, by all means, please drop a comment below.