Is It Safe To Buy Used GPUs From Bitcoin Miners?
With Bitcoin mining hashrate getting ever higher, the hashpower needed to compete for the Bitcoin Block Reward gets more specialised.
Back in the day, Satoshi mned Bitcoin on his laptop, and for the first few years it was fine to do so, but as Bitcoin started to become more popular, miners started powering up by using more powerful GPUs.
Building a GPU mining rig was the best way to mine Bitcoin for a shortwhile until ASICs mining rigs were launched, and as the ASICs rigs have become more powerful GPUs have been slowly phased out of mining Bitcoin.
Now the best and most powerful ASICs mining rigs can hash at up to 112 TH/s, which is way higher than the most powerful GPUs.
So, anyone getting into mining Bitcoin really ought to invest in the best ASICs mining rigs.
And many miners are, and many are selling their used GPUs. But is it safe buying GPUs that have hashed away twenty-four-seven mining Bitcoin?
Although Bitcoin miners’ GPUs have been used more than a typical gamer’s graphics card (in most cases), it doesn’t mean the hardware is any riskier than any other used GPU.
Of course Bitcoin miners are using their equipment more than the average gamer, but “overuse” doesn’t necessarily have a negative effect on a GPU card.
What is Bitcoin Mining?
Bitcoin mining is basically computer devices that have the Bitcoin protocol downloaded onto them, and they work to verify all the transactions that are sent on the Bitcoin network.
Every device works together to verify the transactions, and they all hash them into the latest block. Roughly, every ten minutes the miners will send the latest block to the nodes to check that everything in the block is ok.
Once the thousands of nodes are in agreement, they then send the block back to the miners, who then compete against each other to try and discover the cryptographic puzzle the Bitcoin protocol is asking.
The mining devices hash in search of the answer, and they basically guess the answer.
The faster (more hashpower) they can hash the more guesses they will be able to make, and will more likely find the answer if competing against something that doesn’t have the same hashpower.
The mining device that discovers the answer first wins the block reward which is 6.25 BTC. This happens for every block, and is the only way brand new bitcoins are introduced into the economy.
In the early days of Bitcoin, CPU was sufficient, but as Bitcoin started to grow in popularity miners started looking for more efficient ways to mine, and of course GPUs enhanced their processing power.
And now we have specialized equipment designed only to mine Bitcoin, and the GPU miners simply can’t compete. Some of them choose to mine other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Litecoin, but some are selling up and buying the ASICs mining rigs.
Is It Safe To Buy Used GPU Cards From Bitcoin Miners?
Does Mining 24/7 Damage GPU?
The short answer is no, as long as it was looked after correctly.
Many people believe hashing away twenty-four-seven is damaging to a GPU card, but as long as the miner has looked after the GPU it’s no more damaging to a GPU than gaming.
Ironically, running a GPU 24/7 is probably better for the health of the GPU anyway. The most damaging thing for GPU is temperature fluctuations, as this can cause the solder joints to bloat and contract.
A gamer who plays for a few hours everyday, heats up their GPU while gaming, but then switches it off when finished. But this is actually more damaging to the GPU as the temperature is fluctuating from hot to cold every day.
So, as long as a miner has adequately ventilated their GPU mining rig and kept it running at an optimum temperature, their GPU will probably be in better shape than a gamer’s.
What’s more, Bitcoin miners arguably have more reason to keep their GPU in shape.
A well-ventilated mining system will mine much better, meaning more profits for the miner, so this encourages miners to take extra care with their equipment.
Buying GPUs From Bitcoin Miners Is Safe
Buying a used GPU can give you many more years of fun at a fraction of the cost of the expensive brand new cards.
Even if a Bitcoin miner has used their GPU mining rigs around the clock it doesn’t mean it’ll be in worse condition than any other used card. In fact, it’s likely to be in better shape than a gamer’s GPU.
As long as the miner has looked after their GPU, which most do, the card will be absolutely fine.
But always throw caution to the wind: Protect yourself and buy from a respectable seller. If you buy from Amazon, make sure they have a legitimate account, with few to no negative reviews.
I personally have bought used GPUs and I still use them to this day.
Author: Pablo Clarke
A Bitcoiner since 2017 and a Bitcoin Maximalist since 2018, Tommy is our main writer and editor at Bitcoin Maximalist. Other than researching and writing about Bitcoin, Tommy loves spending time with his family and supporting his beloved Leeds United.