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GPU repair shop warns of more scams as it unveils an RTX 4090 imposter chip

What seemed to be a brand new RTX 4090, sending it in for repairs has unveiled a much bigger problem inside
Last Updated on July 6, 2024
GPU repair shop warns of more scams as it unveils an RTX 4090 imposter chip
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A repair shop has warned of a scam they found in a recent GPU repair. Northwestrepair on YouTube (thanks to Videocardz) has shown off quite the big switcharoo found in one of its customer’s graphics cards. They had sent in an RTX 4090 for a repair in a seemingly newish ASUS TUF model, but inside it was not. Other attempts of passing on old GPUs usually involve memory replacement but this goes a step further and replaces the GPU chip itself.

However, it’s not even that obvious, unveiling the processor seems to be the correct one with the AD102-301-A1 written on it, which is correct for the 4090. However, upon closer inspection, it is the GA102 chip found in the RTX 3080 Ti instead. According to the shop, it had been polished to remove the old label, and the new engraving was lasered on to try to pass off as the newer higher-end model.

RTX 4090 GPU vs fake chip, Source northwestrepair
RTX 4090 GPU vs fake chip, Source northwestrepair

To further diminish the card that was sent in, at least one of the memory modules on the board was 256MB instead of the 2GB of GDDR6X that should be on there. Further crippling the card from the 24GB of memory that should be on board and likely a lot slower too.

The reason for the GPU scams

These scams likely arose from the remnants of the crypto mining craze. Where we saw a shortage of GPUs as they were put to work in farms, they got put to work to earn money but as the craze subsided and costs rose, it became unprofitable. So to recuperate costs, they attempted to sell off the cards and flooded the market. But with so much stock not all could be sold off, and with newer cards coming out the older cards fell back in relevancy.

So to try and push them off, they had to be a bit more creative. Previously they might have just replaced the memory modules as they were the ones that were more put to work when farming, or resoldering GPUs to new PCBs, but this is another level. With a new-looking card with the peel on it’s like new but with a replacement inside.

Depending on where the GPU is purchased there might not be too much the customer can do to reclaim their money depending on protections and the disputes you can send in. So selling off the old GPU on the newer card makes it a lot more appealing and gets the scammer a lot more money for the product.

With a fascination for technology and games, Seb is a tech writer with a focus on hardware and deals. He is also the primary tester and reviewer at BGFG and PCGuide.