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Galax Denies Selling Refurbished Graphics Cards to Customers

Galax Metal Master Graphics Card
(Image credit: Galax)

Galax has issued a statement to Chinese tech magazine IT Home, denying that it has been repackaging and reselling used or refurbished graphics cards as new. The graphics card company, known as Galaxy – with the added 'y' - on its home turf, insisted that all consumer retail parts were completely new. It explained that any PCB gold contact marks found by customers are attributable to wear from its extensive product testing process.

(Image credit: ITHome)

The source article contains the images shown above. Sadly, the source images don't contain very clear close-ups of the part of the PCB.

Let us look at the story in a chronologically sensible manner. What seems to have happened is that IT Home reported on complaints by its readers about receiving Galax graphics cards from consumer outlets that didn't appear to be brand new.

One reader ordered a Galax RTX 3070 Ti Metal Master OC from Taobao in China. Upon receipt, the person didn't open the anti-static bag immediately as they were aware of previous Galax complaints. Instead, he looked carefully through the bag and saw signs on the gold contacts of the PCB that the card was previously plugged/unplugged. Moreover, he made comments about "black marks" on the gold contacts, which are likely to result from oxidization. Thus the customer returned his RTX 3070 Ti without further unpacking and made his tale known to the media.

Galax noticed these reports and was obviously concerned about bad publicity, so it took some time to investigate the returned product. In several pages of analysis, which took place across several company departments, Galax determined that the GPU under scrutiny had a very recent factory production date of April 19, 2022. In addition, it found no issues in functionality and the RTX 3070 Ti performed as expected.

Importantly, Galax explained that "the full-featured test of the graphics card product before shipment may cause the product gold finger to wear." This would explain the scratches on the shiny gold, but it is less convincing that oxidization would occur from a relatively brief test period.

Galax chose to self-investigate customer concerns, which isn't the most satisfactory or convincing type of investigation. To clear itself of suspicion concerning refurbishing or reselling old mining cards, it would have done better to hire a respected third party to look at its production and processes.

If you are interested in acquiring a graphics card at this time, there are signs that AMD is preparing a refresh of its Radeon RX 6000 series shortly. Intel is also preparing to enter the desktop market with its first Arc Alchemist discrete GPUs, and many graphics cards are at long last priced at or very close to MSRP.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • InvalidError
    In principle, every GPU should have at least one full in-system functions check before shipping and signs of it having been inserted at least once should be expected, can be more than once if the card failed a test, had to be reworked and re-checked.
    Reply
  • escksu
    Although we dont know if the cards are indeed new or refurbished, using the scratch marks on the gold fingers is a very poor way to determine. All cards undergo testing to ensure its working before being shipped.

    If the person do watch any of those factory tours he would have seen that the most common way of testing is to plug the card into the Pcie slot of a motherboard and performed several tests.

    This type of testing will cause scratch marks on the gold fingers but its harmless...

    The person ought to have at least check the production dates, esp component dates to know if its new or refurbished.

    Btw, dealers do sometimes remove the anti static bag to paste their own labels (esp. warranty labels).
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    It's entirely plausible that someone at the retailer or even the manufacturing warehouse could have swapped out the new card for a used one, or that someone put an actual refurbished card into a box for new cards mistakenly or deliberately. The incident with GamersNexus and Newegg comes to mind as to how incompetency reigns in warehouses these days, who knows how bad it is in China.

    And it's also completely plausible that this story was fabricated by someone hoping for a free card in exchange for silence.
    Reply
  • spentshells
    https://tenor.com/FlnY.gif
    Reply
  • Shonk.
    I tell you who does sell refurbished cards Nvidia

    I ordered a 3090 FE direct from scan the uk retailer for Nvidia in November 2020

    It arrived sealed

    1 fan had a scratch on it (no biggie)

    the backplate had zero marks on it and looked new i cleaned it with some 20% isopropanol to get some fingerprints off (Self made mix with 80% water that i use for cleaning stuff)
    and it removed some factory touchup's they had done to it around the magnetic screw cover area that some savage had done with a screwdriver trying to remove them
    i 100% didnt do it as when i removed them a couple of months later to repad the rear i used gorilla tape to remove the magnets and made zero marks anywhere

    It seems whatever they use to hide marks is soluble in isopropanol

    at a guess mine was a review sample that they got back and touched up
    Reply
  • atomicWAR
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    It's entirely plausible that someone at the retailer or even the manufacturing warehouse could have swapped out the new card for a used one, or that someone put an actual refurbished card into a box for new cards mistakenly or deliberately. The incident with GamersNexus and Newegg comes to mind as to how incompetency reigns in warehouses these days, who knows how bad it is in China.

    And it's also completely plausible that this story was fabricated by someone hoping for a free card in exchange for silence.

    I tend to agree with Invaliderror that the marks were from testing...but potentially your not wrong either. I have seen all kinds of accidental mixes ups, shady behavior and everything else when it comes to parts (or repairs for that matter). You never know and it is best to ask questions and/or speak up then to silently accept the fact you may or may not have been scammed.

    Best case scenario you're wrong and you find out its all normal operating procedure learning something new for your tech knowledge or worst case you figure out you were right all along leaving you the opportunity to try and bring something like the next Newegg debacle to light like Steve did. Hopefully making a dent in bad business practices.

    I remember when the early Corsair CX units were going bad before they fixed them. I responded to a handful of posts every day on Tom's troubleshooting their potential failure/failure (and their were a lot) or which version by label color was the safe PSU to buy once the new units came out. I can't stress enough how much sites like Tom's or GN allow us access to additional tech knowledge while giving users a voice the tech company's may be more inclined to listen to.
    Reply
  • jp7189
    Perhaps Galax "extensively tests" them in their own crypto mining operation for a few days or weeks. I wouldn't put that past a few of these AIBs.

    Wasn't there a news story on here a month ago about XFX selling used mining cards as new?
    Reply