Chinese gamers can't RMA their RTX 4090s due to US sanctions — users are being very careful with how they treat their top-tier GPUs

GeForce RTX 4090
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The U.S. ban on Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090, one of the best graphics cards, cut off the supply to China. That's only one part of the problem. According to a report from HKEPC, vendors are unable to offer GeForce RTX 4090 replacements due to the limited stock from the U.S. sanctions, only refunds.

The GeForce RTX 4090 is the most coveted gaming graphics card in China. Gamers who managed to pick one up before the import ban were lucky. However, those same owners must pray that their luck doesn't run out. Due to the U.S. sanctions, no more GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards are going into China, so Nvidia's AIB partners cannot offer replacement units. Manufacturers are reportedly handling GeForce RTX 4090 RMAs on a case-by-case basis.

If the defect is minor, such as a broken fan or a dead LED, the stores will ship the graphics card to Hong Kong for repair. However, if the graphics card refuses to show signs of life, it returns to the manufacturer. The destination will depend on where the brand is based.

GeForce RTX 4090 from Taiwanese brands will return home to Taiwan. The affected users will receive a full refund at the purchase price. Since vendors cannot ship GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards into China, a replacement unit is out of the picture. Graphics cards purchased from a China—or Hong Kong-based brand have a little luck. They will be returned to Mainland China for repair. If a repair isn't impossible, the consumer will receive a full refund.

HKEPC provided an example of a recent GeForce RTX 4090 RMA. The store offered the individual a full refund for the damaged graphics card. However, the consumer asked the store why it didn't just swap the defective GeForce RTX 4090 for a new one since a similar model was in stock. The store representative reportedly told the consumer that the GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards belonged to the store. After a few days of negotiation, the consumer agreed to the refund and bought a GeForce RTX 4090D at a reasonable price.

Despite the U.S. sanctions, graphics card manufacturers still honor their warranties in China. However, not everyone would like the refund solution, but there's no other alternative since the U.S. has blocked GeForce RTX 4090 imports into China. Consumers receive full refunds, which is good but not for all since some legitimately want a GeForce RTX 4090 for their systems. The Ada Lovelace flagship's price has soared since the U.S. ban, so consumers are unlikely to be able to purchase a new GeForce RTX 4090 at these current prices with a refund. Alternatively, there's the GeForce RTX 4090D, which can match the GeForce RTX 4090's performance with manual overclocking and some luck from the silicon lottery.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.