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Gaming Performance Tested On 'Worn Out' RTX 2080 Ti Mining Card

GPU for Ethereum Mining
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The potential to have reduced gaming performance from a used mining card has been a long-debated question. YouTube channel Testing Games posted a new video to look into the matter. Testing Games benchmarked a used RTX 2080 Ti that's been mining hard for 1.5 years, compared to a fresh new RTX 2080 Ti.

When graphics cards are subjected to long durations of mining time, this can cause accelerated wear and tear on the card's components and cooling system. All these changes can cause some deterioration to the card's performance in the long run.

In the video, Testing Games ran an assortment of gaming benchmarks, including Cyberpunk 2077, Battlefield V, and Forza Horizon 4. On average, the used mining 2080 Ti was about 10% slower than the brand new 2080 Ti. One outlier was Forza Horizon 4, which showed the mining card as 20% slower than the new card.

The main culprits for the reduced performance are GPU clock speed and temperatures. On average, the heavily used RTX 2080 Ti mining card was 16C hotter than the brand new RTX 2080 Ti. This caused over a 100MHz drop in boost frequency for the mining card, creating the performance losses. This is totally normal as Nvidia's GPU Boost 4.0 algorithm (equipped on Turing and Ampere-based cards) is tuned to be very sensitive to GPU temperature.

Unfortunately, Testing Games didn't benchmark the used mining card with replacement thermal pads and a fresh new application of thermal paste. Oh, and cleaning — dust buildup in the heatsink fins can also greatly hinder cooling performance. Theoretically, this should be all that it takes to bring GPU temperatures back down to normal and gain all that performance back.

Even if you aren't a miner, this test shows why it's a great idea to dust out your computer every now and then, and even apply a fresh coat of thermal paste to your CPU and GPU after several years. Thermal paste is known to get dry (especially on laptops) after years of use, which will reduce its thermal performance. Typically the hotter the CPU or GPU is, the faster the TIM will dry out. Besides, after three years, the warranty period on the card has likely expired so you've got nothing to lose.

This also applies to gamers buying used mining cards on eBay or from some other retailer. If you find the used graphics card underperforms, all it might need is a bit of maintenance to bring the card back up to full speed. Just be sure to factor in the costs (time and thermal pads) when bidding.

  • fevanson
    Even if you're not mining and even just gaming it is good to replace the thermal pads/ paste on a graphics card after the warranty period is over (2-3 years depending on the manufacturer). I had an old gtx 770 and it was reaching almost 80oC on the core before I repasted it to give it to a friend, now it runs around 65oC -70oC at full load after repasting the gpu and cleaning out the heatsink.
    Reply
  • Gurg
    I'll flush the radiator on my AIO CPU cooler in the sink when compressed air and vacuum can't get all the dust out.
    Reply
  • UWguy
    Not even remotely scientific. Click bait video.
    Reply
  • lunar.holiday
    Seriously lol. What happened to the quality of reporting here.

    "Old mining 2080Ti worn out and gets hot!"
    "Definitely due to mining...but there's also really dirty fans that may or may not be related"

    How do these people get hired?
    Reply
  • Clarence_Darrow
    I agree the article told us nothing many folks dont already know. (GPUs need to be repasted after years of use) But in fairness to the author, he was just reporting on a test done elsewhere. I would be more interested to see a comparison of a larger sample size of "new" cards and a larger sample size of used (some mined, some just heavy gaming)

    I bought a bunch of used AMD polaris cards this past summer. Temps were higher on a few, repasted them and have been running for 8 months now straight at cool temps and no problems
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    What if all the used mining cards were retrofitted with custom coolers?
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    The review was fair. TG likely acquired these cards "AS-IS" on the market. I would dare to say few buying a used card don't have the hutzpah to take apart his heat sink from the GPU and do all the above.

    I want to see a raise of hands to whom here has actually taken off their cooler on a working card, repasted it, and then took a can of air / toothbrush and cleaned the fins.

    BTW: GPU fans wear out with time too. They get noisy, don't run as fast, and eventually bite the bullet. There's also a potential of silicon decay and paste caps failing as well as power delivery circuits. All things to take into consideration when buying a bleeding edge last gen card.

    Basically I wouldn't touch one, even if it had a warranty. (OEM's reserve the right not to honor warranties on mining cards. I believe there are burn fuses to indicate a custom rom was used. (this I'm not 100% certain on, but I know Intel and AMD both employ these internal fuses to look for things like overclocking on CPUs)) I might consider a used GPU IF it was half MSRP. Until then I'll just do without.
    Reply
  • escksu
    Haha, what a terrible clickbait article that tells us nothing. ITs more like just to promote the youtube video, so pple will click on it and they could generate money.....

    Btw, there is NO performance difference between a brand new GPU and a mining GPU. IF both are running at same clock speed for core and RAM (Same RAM timings as well), they perform exactly the same, period....

    What happens to a mining GPU is wear, esp. for the RAM. So, RAM may no longer be stable at stock speeds. Its similar to running an overclocked CPU for prolong periods. After some times, its no longer stable and you need to reduce the speed.
    Reply
  • escksu
    digitalgriffin said:
    The review was fair. TG likely acquired these cards "AS-IS" on the market. I would dare to say few buying a used card don't have the hutzpah to take apart his heat sink from the GPU and do all the above.

    I want to see a raise of hands to whom here has actually taken off their cooler on a working card, repasted it, and then took a can of air / toothbrush and cleaned the fins.

    BTW: GPU fans wear out with time too. They get noisy, don't run as fast, and eventually bite the bullet. There's also a potential of silicon decay and paste caps failing as well as power delivery circuits. All things to take into consideration when buying a bleeding edge last gen card.

    Basically I wouldn't touch one, even if it had a warranty. (OEM's reserve the right not to honor warranties on mining cards. I believe there are burn fuses to indicate a custom rom was used. (this I'm not 100% certain on, but I know Intel and AMD both employ these internal fuses to look for things like overclocking on CPUs)) I might consider a used GPU IF it was half MSRP. Until then I'll just do without.

    Sell it to me at a low price then!! I will get them refreshed!!
    Reply
  • jmc
    digitalgriffin said:
    The review was fair. TG likely acquired these cards "AS-IS" on the market. I would dare to say few buying a used card don't have the hutzpah to take apart his heat sink from the GPU and do all the above.

    I want to see a raise of hands to whom here has actually taken off their cooler on a working card, repasted it, and then took a can of air / toothbrush and cleaned the fins.


    I agree with you and not everyone is a tech savy to do a full disassembly to replace the thermal pads or the paste on the die, especially on cards with more than 10 screws.

    Its not always necessary to reapply the paste tho but if it is, there can be the issue of damaging a component by lifting the heatsink wrongly, ripping the fan cable for being too short or a cap de-soldering after many thermal cycles, bad mounting pressure (more of an issue on the AMD side)... It happens even with experience.
    Getting a heavily used card like this to fully operational can be risky.

    This video is more towards the masses who want to get a cheap used card that have little knowledge and use it as it is.
    Reply