The move of the Ethereum blockchain from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake, commonly referred to as Merge, actually meant that cryptocurrency mining with consumer graphics cards was no longer profitable. While gamers have been looking forward to cheaper new and used GPUs becoming the norm, according to a series of videos posted on Twitter of I_Leak_VNGPU cryptocurrency miners in Vietnam appear to be jet washing tools out of their old mining kit before putting the components up for sale on eBay or local equivalent.
Some Vietnamese miners cleaned up their old graphics cards after the ETH melting, wetting them with extremely high risk. It really is their cleaning season looking forward to the next third GPU mineable coin. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/qnUMWxpyctSeptember 23, 2022
In the video above it is somewhat surprising to see what is supposedly a Vietnamese GPU miner randomly washing several racks full of powerful GPUs. Twitter’s I_Leak_VN shared a collection of these intriguing videos today. Alongside the videos came repeated warnings about buying used graphics cards.
The powerful jets of this type of cleaning system can easily cause potential physical harm (who would miss a random surface mount resistor?) Or water seepage into places it may not evaporate easily. Plus, the thermal paste or grease could also be removed, so watch out for those fans.
The water allegedly used in the jet wash / bath was not particularly “clean”. It could easily leave deposits on the PCB, potentially causing damage which could lead to shorts or other electrical damage once these products are turned on.
In a third video from the same source, we can see dip scrubbing used on some PCB graphics cards and I / O brackets in an “ozone water” bath that is stirred using an ultrasonic cleaner. There is no debate as to whether this is a second phase of “refurbishment” or cleaning for jet-washed cards, or is reserved for older, drier or dirtier cards. We must remember that there are professionals and enthusiasts who occasionally wash component PCBs by immersion methods or even in a home dishwasher. Those who are well versed in this cleaning methodology are still very careful with their water and cleaning additives; any impurities or deposits left after washing (and long drying) could be harmful to electronic integrity.
In summary, it appears that some of the expected flow of used, “as new” or even “refurbished” graphics cards may be prone to failure. If the silicon and supporting components have not been stressed to within an inch of death during their extraction time, they are then subjected to extreme cleaning to try to make them look fresh. Be careful on eBay or your local equivalent when looking for a bargain with the GPU. It looks like you can get particularly important refunds and / or replacements, and the guarantee of a reputable seller would probably be worth it as well.