Cryptocurrency companies sell used GPUs as new with repainted VRAM chips

The new coat of paint also includes realistic looking serial numbers. (Image source: Iskandar Souza)

Brazilian YouTuber Iskandar Souza and GPU Rapair specialist Paulo Gomez have revealed a new scheme involving mining used GPUs being sold as new from Chinese online retailers. To hide the yellow tint on the VRAM, cryptographers now repaint the chips complete with realistic-looking serial numbers.

The entire Ethereum network is moving to a Proof of Stake consensus, so GPU mining is likely to become unprofitable soon, especially without any solid PoW alternative in sight during a bear market. Chinese miners have been dumping GPUs since the spring of 2021, and we saw a gradual return to MSRP for most of last year’s RTX 3000 and RX 6000 models. A used card usually sells for around 50% of its MSRP or even lower amounts, but some miners don’t want to go that low and try to sell used cards as new products. Buyers can usually spot this type of theft when they spot missing seals, stickers, and discolored chips, however some miners are now using a new trick that involves repainting memory chips, as reported by YouTuber Iskandar Souza and GPU repair specialist Paulo Gomez.

Before revealing how the refurbished VRAM chips are rendered, Gomes first shows how the chips used display some color coloring (usually yellow), which can also be found around the edges of the GPU die. It seems miners can’t really remove the dye from the GPU dies, but they’ve found a way to apply a fresh coat of paint to the VRAM chips. Gomez peels off the paint on some of the chips, and we can see that some of the patterns underneath don’t match the ones on the fresh coat of paint. Some icons are also repeated from one slide to the next. However, the fake engravings appear authentic and it is unclear how the miners were able to reproduce them in such detail.

While many Westerners are unwilling to buy new GPUs from China, we’ve seen similar problems in the European Union, where a German GPU repair service discovered 48 defective GPUs believed to come from an improperly stored batch of unauthorized GPUs. used. These situations can be avoided by buying the latest generation of GPUs, but we are still seeing price inflation due to speculators and low initial stocks.

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