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Watch out — fake RTX 4090s are being sold on Amazon

An RTX 4090 with an RTX 4080 chip.

What a nightmare. An Amazon customer bought an RTX 4090 that required repairs, but when graphics repair expert and YouTuber North West Repair opened up the GPU, the $2,000 card turned out to be a complete disaster. In fact, what was supposed to be the best graphics card on the market was actually a Frankensteined RTX 4080.

Tony from North West Repair shared a video on his channel that showcases the Asus ROG Strix RTX 4090 card and serves as a warning to potential customers. The GPU was sent to him for repairs with issues described as “shipping damage.” In reality, the issues extend far beyond what could happen during shipping because the GPU, broken on several levels, was clearly tampered with.

Upon initial inspection, North West Repair discovered two of the most common problems faced by the RTX 4090: a cracked PCB and a melted power connector. The cracked PCB alone would be enough to mark it a no-fix, but the YouTuber dug deeper. The screws were too tight and there was a fake anti-tamper sticker, so things were getting dodgy, but removing the heatsink and exposing the PCB is where it gets interesting. Instead of finding an AD102 GPU, he found an AD103 chip that most likely belonged to a desktop RTX 4080. You’d think that was quite enough, but no, the PCB itself also had a lot of issues, ranging from missing memory cooling pads to parts of it being fried.

The customer initially purchased it through a pallet deal from Amazon Returns. To sum it up, what was sold as a returned RTX 4090 that suffered shipping damage turned out to be a mix of the RTX 4090 and the RTX 4080, with several melted or cracked parts. Great deal, indeed.

Melted connector on the RTX 4090.

It’s unclear whether more of these stitched-together monstrosities are currently available for sale or not, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. When you shop for a graphics card on Amazon, we recommend steering clear of returns. In addition, make sure that the GPU you’re buying is either sold directly by Amazon or by a reputable source (such as Asus or MSI).

In the last few months, another common Amazon scam has emerged. You may find a great deal on a GPU or, more often, a CPU like the Ryzen 7800X3D, where the chip is sold for about half the usual market price. Unfortunately, these “deals” are not sold directly by Amazon, and the seller often fails to send the chip or sends something else entirely that’s barely worth the shipping cost. The sellers to watch out for often have strange, long names that are a combination of letters and numbers.

Scam or not, we’ve seen similarly improvised GPUs in the past. Especially during the GPU shortage, seeing a repurposed RTX 3080 Ti mobile or RTX 3070 Ti mobile turned into a desktop card wasn’t uncommon. However, what happened to this “RTX 4090” goes far beyond sticking a mobile chip into a desktop shroud. Such a GPU can never be usable for anything whatsoever, meaning that the buyer paid a hefty price for an experiment that didn’t pan out.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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