Here’s Why Used Graphics Cards Are My Go-To For 2024

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Used GPUs Are The Only Hope For Budget Gamers!

Story Highlight
  • New GPUs are often preferred by most buyers thanks to their perceived longevity, warranty, and hassle-free buying procedures.
  • Used graphics cards are often considerably cheaper; however, they might come with a reduced lifespan depending on how roughly they have been used.
  • Contrary to popular belief, there are no performance drawbacks to buying a used graphics card.

Used graphics cards often allow users to get a lot more performance on a budget. I have personally invested a lot of time searching for great deals on used GPUs, and to my surprise, I’ve also found an astounding number of people willing to let go of their older GPUs at comparatively low prices.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should only buy used GPUs without a second thought. Factors such as temperature, usage, and quality of the card also impact your buying decision.

Not only that, you shouldn’t overlook considering a new option simply because of the higher price either, since you might want to benefit from extended customer support, warranty claims, and a longer lifespan.

So, is the higher price of brand-new options justified simply, or should you take the riskier approach by opting for a used card to get the best value for money?

Second-Hand Doesn’t Mean Lower Performance

The used GPU market, as of right now, has some fantastic deals. For instance, RTX 30-series graphics cards can be found for half their MSRP on websites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Furthermore, AMD’s 6000-series GPUs sit in a similar spot within the second-hand market.

I’m always surprised when people conflate second-hand GPUs with having lower performance than their brand-new counterparts. That simply isn’t the case, since performance doesn’t necessarily depend on the age of the GPU.

As long as your card manages ideal clock speeds, you can expect identical performance to the brand-new variant.

However, you should always be wary of anomalies even in this case. I recommend running tests on the used GPU before you finalize your decision to check that everything is as it should be.

Our team has covered an in-depth guide on this very topic, exploring all the key aspects you should check before buying a used graphics card.

The Prices Of New “Budget Cards”

Just a couple of years ago, you could fetch a brand new entry-level card for as low as $150 and still get fairly great gaming performance out of it. However, things have changed lately, and I’ve seen a substantial increase in the prices of even the lower-end products that have come out.

For example, my team and I recently tested a bunch of “budget” cards, including the RTX 4060, and when we compared it to last-gen’s RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti, here’s what we found:

As for the pricing, the RTX 4060 can cost you north of $300, but when I did a quick search of the RTX 3060 on Facebook Marketplace, it turned out I can get it for just $200, and that doesn’t even include my shockingly good negotiation skills.

RTX 3060 Listings on Facebook Marketplace
RTX 3060 Listings on Facebook Marketplace (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Which Cards I Avoid In The Used Market

If you are purchasing a used GPU that’s older than a couple of generations, chances are, it would have been used heavily, that too for a long time. Which means, you might not be able to get a longer lifespan out of it. 

Expecting to squeeze four or five more years out of a used 900-series GPU might be a bit of a stretch, even if you found it in pristine condition at the time of buying. That’s not to say that can’t happen; however, I would personally recommend against that.

Similarly, AMD’s older RX 500 and 400 series cards such as the RX 580, are some cards that I usually avoid picking up, especially considering how heavily the 8GB models were utilized during the crypto boom. 

Final Thoughts

So, to sum everything up, I’d say anyone willing to take some risks should definitely consider a used option, especially if they are working with a very tight budget. I believe that there are some fantastic deals to be found on the second-hand market as long as you are cautious about other factors such as the seller’s reputation and the card’s age.

Of course, you’ll have to put the card through several tests to make sure it is working properly before finalizing your decision.

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