Crypto Miners Paint GDDR Memory to Make it Look Unused

Over clocked memory which has overheated turns yellow, no problem say miners.

It’s no secret that miners resell graphics cards claiming them to be barely used or never used for mining. Past reports say that miners sometimes power wash GPU’s (Graphics cards) to get the dust off – needless to say we don’t recommend this. Recently these resellers have found a new way into tricking prospective buyers – painting memory to hide signs of overheating.

There are numerous ways to determine a graphics card is not new. Anything from dust, damaged warranty sticker, oxidised (corroded) contacts and even a light change in PCB colour are expected on cards that have been used for months or years. This includes yellowish marking on the GPU substrate (the PCB on which the GPU chips resides) and the memory chips – this indicates the card has been used for a while. These visual memory chip marking are what mining resellers are now trying to hide.

Missing screws are also a strong sign a GPU has been tampered with. In some cases this may be caused by using a third party cooling system and then switching to the stock cooler, having lost screws in the interim. However, this is a long shot and generally not the case. Usually missing screws are an indication that a card has been used for mining and then taken apart to be repasted(re apply thermal paste), clean and so on.

There’re other reason to take apart a graphics card: to resolder a failed GPU chip or a memory chip or in the case of the recent trend, to paint memory chips to make them seem newer than they are.

GPU’s that have been used for a long time have a tendency to change colour (at least the epoxy on the PCB does) due to the high temperature subjected to the cards while doing the intensive task of mining.

Painting the substrate of a graphics card isn’t an easy task. It doesn’t seem like anyone is doing that yet despite the recent reports. Marking on memory chips tend to go yellowish over time with high temperature use, or because they were resoldered in a repair shop and heated up too much. In order to hide this, some miners are reportedly applying a special tint on the DRAM IC’s (integrated chipsets), this think can be easily removed to reveal the true colour, according to reports.

Resoldering expensive components link a GPU chip or GPU memory modules is something that even official repair facilities do. If you buy a refurbished GPU, it may come with a resoldered GPU or DRAM memory chip. The makers of graphics cards and repair shops do not typically repaint memory IC’s to hide that they are not new as manufactured.

Buying one of the best graphics cards, used, at a good discount might sound like an easy way to save a buck, but doing so is always risky – you simply don’t know what you’ll get. Be extra careful when purchasing a used GPU these days, years of wear and tear could be hidden just under the surface and you wouldn’t even know it’s not a new card.

A safe bet is to buy the GPU you want from a reputable retailer, that way you know what you’re getting is new and with a warranty to boot.

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