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

Gland Computers Mining Rig
(Image credit: Gland Computers)

We've all been waiting for graphics cards to make their way into our hands for a while now, and even though it might be tempting, whatever you do, resist the urge to buy a cheap graphics card right now on a resale site, even if it claims to be new.

With the recent bursting of the crypto bubble, there is now a flood of the best graphics cards on the market hitting major resale sites and even live-streamed auctions, according to Wccftech. The scrupulous sellers, as far as resellers go, are at least telling you that these cards are used. Many, though, will claim that they are new and they might even package them up as if they are brand new.

In any case, you absolutely need to stay away from these cards, no matter how cheap they appear to be. Whatever the price is, it isn't worth it. Here's why.

These cards are burnt-out pieces of trash at this point

A lot of these graphics cards have been grinding out hashing algorithms nearly non-stop for months or even years. They've been "rode hard and put away wet," and a substantial amount of their usable life has been used up.

Graphics cards aren't meant to be run at the rate that these cards have been run at and under these conditions. In many cases, it's in a dusty open warehouse next to dozens of other similarly burnt-out graphics cards, all of them generating heat and frying their own and their neighbors' silicon transistors, plastic PCB, and soldering.

By the time you get your hands on this card, there's no telling how much more it can handle or how long it's been serving time in the crypto mines. We wouldn't even compare this to a used graphics card that you bought off some gamer friend who managed to upgrade her own rig and is looking to recoup some of the cost. That is a legitimate purchase, especially if your friend has been doing nothing but gaming on it. Hell, even if they've been mining some crypto on it, that's nothing compared to what's been going on in some of these large-scale crypto operations.

Will that new card last six more months? A year? Who can say, but by then, the new Nvidia RTX 4090 and other Nvidia Lovelace and AMD RDNA 3 graphics cards will be available, so prices for the Ampere and RDNA 2 graphics cards should plummet. That's especially true if we teach crypto miners that there won't be any "recouping" of their investments when the next bubble pops.

Don't let them off the hook, make cryptominers eat the costs

Representational image depicting a mine worker toiling to mine cryptocurrency

(Image credit: Yevhen Vitte / Shutterstock)

Cryptominers have been buying up an obscene amount of graphics cards in the past two years, with some estimates indicating that they bought up as much as $15 billion in just the GPUs.

They've made gamers' lives hell as they try to buy the latest graphics cards, and worse still, they've absolutely wrecked the environment in the process. Crypto mining's only proven use cases are criminal exchange and hastening a climate catastrophe. In no way, shape, or form should that behavior be rewarded.

Crypto miners, especially those who jumped in halfway or later in the bubble, are very likely to still be in the "recouping" phase of their operation. They very likely haven't made enough off crypto to justify buying up all the graphics cards out there at inflated prices, and are probably right now desperate to at least break even on their investments.

That's where we all come in. They denied us graphics cards and spread troll face memes amongst themselves on their shady little Discord channels at gamers' expense. Well, turnabout is fair play. As they freak out that they're thousands of dollars in the red on their "investments," it's gamers' turn to rub it in their faces. Make them eat all those costs as they stare at their two or three RTX 3090 Ti's that they bought at $3,000 apiece and that no one will buy at any price.

Teach them to leave our graphics cards alone in the only way we can, by making it as financially painful as possible to gamble on crypto the next time around. Maybe then the next generation of graphics cards won't be a lost generation the way this one was.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).