Amazon sold a fake RTX 4090 FrankenGPU cobbled together using a laptop GPU and 4080 board — scam card was found in a returns pallet deal

A prominent repair channel on YouTube is warning prospective graphics card buyers that a customer sent in an Amazon-purchased GeForce RTX 4090 which turned out to be a very bad fake. The video, shared by Tony from North West Repair (NWR), underlines the adage ‘buyer beware’ with a bright neon marker. What his customer thought was probably a quick repair job on a $2,000 card, turned out to be a ‘no fix’ scam made from a cobbled-together and motley mix of components.

The product appraisal began with a brief external inspection of the customer’s graphics card, which arrived with an issue described as “shipping damage.” A quick inspection showed an Asus ROG Strix RTX 4090 with 24GB of VRAM was apparently damaged with a PCB crack near the PCIe retention finger and a melted power connector. So far – so ordinary in the world of RTX 4090 cards, but those problems were little more than a flesh wound compared to what was subsequently uncovered.

Suspicions were raised when the repair tech began to remove the cooler to get a look at the underlying PCB. A fake anti-tamper sticker over one of the screws was noticed. Then, the expert repairer noted that the screws were in some cases extremely mis-tensioned.

Getting the triple fan ROG Strix cooler off, with its sticker claiming that beneath it was a ROG Strix 4090 with 24GB of VRAM, a very unpleasant sight awaited. In brief, NWR uncovered a GeForce RTX 4090 laptop GPU somehow stuck on an RTX 4080 PCB. That wasn’t all, as the GPU looked fried, according to the repair tech, memory cooling pads were also missing in some areas, and the PCB had various other components that looked like they needed replacing.

By now, you won’t be surprised to hear that NWR passed the verdict that this “shipping damaged” product was a “no fix.” However, Tony indicated he wanted to share this video as he reckons this is something his customers might be seeing more of. Buyers should be cautious when purchasing this kind of product, as what is represented in the video is “100% real and it is now in the US marketplace,” according to the YouTuber.

It is important to note that this pretty useless concoction of non-working parts – dressed up as one of the best graphics cards available to consumers in 2024 – wasn’t sold as a new model. It was received by an NWR customer in a pallet deal from Amazon Returns.

“Hopefully this is the only example we are going to see here in the US market, but I doubt it,” said Tony in his voiceover. As the video ends, he says to stay tuned, promising more (dodgy cards?) are on the way.

What happened here?

The above is quite a horror story and seems to represent an increasingly common form of fraud. We can’t know for sure, but the product received by NWR, apparently from an Amazon pallet deal, may have been an Amazon return where a faulty Franken-graphics-card was returned and someone kept a good working one. The outward description of a cracked PCB and melted power connector might even suggest another level of deception used to return this switched product.

Whatever the history of this particular broken graphics card, it serves to remind buyers of big-ticket devices and components to rigorously document / video their receiving, unboxing, and inspection of a new product. Please be careful out there.

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