The AMD RX 6800 and 6900 graphics cards were recently brought into the spotlight after a batch of them crashed due to a physical GPU break, and we now have a clear answer as to why this happened.
This comes from YouTuber KrisFix (who runs a German hardware repair shop), who noticed several AMD GPUs that were showing up on his doorstep that died of a crack.
At the time, speculation was rife about an AMD driver being a possible culprit—all owners of these graphics cards were running the latest version—but as KrisFix explains in a new YouTube video (highlighted by Tom’s Hardware), that wasn’t the case.
In fact, KrisFix proposes a theory that the problem was caused by a combination of two factors: the GPUs are pre-crypto mining models, and the way they were stored prior to sale.
KrisFix notes that all of the trouble cards were sold at the end of November, or the beginning of December 2022, and likely came from the same second-hand source — i.e. a crypto-mining farm that sells a load of these AMD Radeon models.
So, the idea is that these graphics cards were driven super hard 24/7 on their mining tasks, and were likely stored in a bad environment, perhaps in a warehouse with high humidity levels.
Meaning that when buyers got their GPUs, they worked fine at first, but then when gaming (or other intensive workloads) resulted in higher chip temperatures, due to damage from excessive moisture (along with all the Those previous miles. hour of mining), the GPU simply cracked. Owners may have had a day or two of cards—maybe even three—before they set off.
All of the broken graphics cards showed the same type of damage, and were generally in similar condition – with coolers cleaned as well. (Usually a used graphics card has some dust in there, but in this case, the cards were all clean, which indicates that the mining farm owner sanded them all before putting them up for sale.)
Analysis: Used GPU Market Risks
This is really not surprising, since when we originally reported this issue, we noted that the affected models could be earlier mining GPUs. What KrisFix says here makes sense to us, and also explains why we haven’t seen this problem elsewhere – a local mining operation shut down and all graphics cards (stored in the same way) were sold to buyers in the area, well, a lot of them turned to this repair shop to fix their problems when it blew graphics processing unit.
The good news, then, is that this won’t be a widespread problem for the RX 6900 and RX 6800 models, and that the AMD graphics driver isn’t at fault (which KrisFix confirmed in this latest video).
Instead, this episode serves as a very clear warning about the dangers of buying GPUs that ran pre-harvested on a large mining farm, and that it’s not just about their workloads, but also the environmental damage (and even storage life after farming, before the cards are actually sold).
In short, buy a pre-mining graphics card at your own risk, because there are specific and clear risks associated with these GPUs. The problem is that sellers often don’t disclose that the used card is ex-mining stock, because they know this isn’t suitable for many people. So you are left with a situation where you have to trust the vendor’s reputation and integrity to be honest about the graphics card’s past life.
All of these risks are greatly amplified at a time when, as it did last year, cryptocurrency falls off a cliff, mining operations quit, and it’s clear that they’re looking to sell their shares as the ultimate cash grab. At times like these, the used GPU market can become a bit of a minefield, so tread carefully when buying the used stuff.