I recently purchased a USED Sapphire 7970 Vapor Ghz Edition card for around $360 (about $100 less than buying from a Newegg). I looked closely at the PCB and as much of the inside as I can (didn't take off the cooler though). The overall condition of the card was in decent shape as far as I can tell.
However, I spotted two slightly bent caps near the end of the card. This was a red flag for me. As I was about to put the card back in its box, I thought why not at least test it. I played 3 intensive games on max settings with a 1080p monitor for about 15-20 minutes each. The games I played were: The Witcher 2, Skyrim (with high res mods + ENB), and Crysis 2 (with high res textures). All three games performed amazingly well, with close to max FPS (except for Witcher 2, which would drop around 30-40 fps during certain battles). GPU temperature never went above 66° and the fan speed never exceeded 60%.
Should I keep this card or return it? Is there anything else I should do to check the stability or the physical condition of this used 7970? I have 2 days to make a decision, help me decide
If it works fine and performs without problems, why bother?
I have one cap bend too, and nothing bad happened for the whole 2 years.
Unless you move your case every 10 minutes and plug-unplug GPU every five seconds, everything should be fine.
Just don't touch it - caps won't bend more if you don't touch them, and they'll degrade with time anyway ("capacitor aging") regardless of you touching them or not, so why bother at all? It's not like it's in unworkable/unplayable state (doesn't turn on/has glitches/Idle temps 100+ and etc). If it works, it works. %)
Even though the overall condition is decent and performance is good, I want to be as certain as possible before I decide to keep it or not. The biggest concern of mine is that I did not purchase the card from an official retailer/distributor. Sapphire's policy on warranties states the following:
Product Warranty will not be valid even if returned after purchased for the following cases:
Products not sold from our official distributors or resellers.
So if whatever reason the card fails to work in a couple of weeks or months from now I would be screwed.