Buying a new GPU should be an immensely exciting time. After all, not only are you spending big on yourself in the rare moments you can, but you’re on the cusp of upgrading your current setup. I’d recommend caution when buying the best graphics card, though. All is not what it seems, especially with this Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 from Amazon. It turns out the insides carry a burned-out RTX 4080 instead.
YouTuber NorthWestRepair showcases an Asus ROG 24GB RTX 4090 sent in by an Amazon customer for repair. The claim is that it incurred damage in transit, which is par for the course these days. Noticing a few loose screws and a fake anti-tamper sticker, though, Tony the repairer knew something was up.
Popping off the chassis, Tony spotted that the RTX 4090 was actually a 4080 PCB. Not only that, but it was an absolute mess under the hood. Many of the components looked broken in some capacity, and that they would need replacing instead of repairing. No amount of part swapping was going to save this component crime, though. Tony quickly deemed it unfixable and destined for the hardware graveyard.
While it’s easy to worry about all purchases, we don’t want you to fret too much. The purchase itself was from an Amazon pallet deal, which means that it’s fairly likely that it was a return. That’s layer one of this whole thing, but things actually go a bit deeper.
Amazon scams are rife recently. Customers purchase an item, replace it with a monstrous abomination of a GPU like the one in the video, and then keep the shiny new one for themselves. Most Amazon employees don’t have the training to check items beyond the surface level. As a result, these dodgy returns go under the radar.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to protect your investments. I’d recommend buying from a reputable source, and purchasing new where possible. Used models can save you money, but there will always be an inherent risk that comes with it. Make sure you check the return policies of the stores you buy from. Amazon returns are usually pretty easy, which is where this issue stems from anyway but could swing in your favour. And finally, it’s worth filming the unboxing and setup process of big purchases just in case you encounter trouble. It’s easy to do, and can make you feel like a YouTuber as well as helping you stay safe.