A massive scam involving NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards is taking place in China. To provide context, a few weeks ago we reported that due to new restrictions imposed by the United States on NVIDIA, the well-known GPU manufacturer was prohibited from shipping more GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards. The result was a market that took advantage of the situation by raising prices and a gray market for smuggling from neighboring countries. The reason for this? The highly profitable industry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) acceleration.
This led to all AI companies and professionals purchasing the GeForce RTX 4090 to use them for AI acceleration. This was the latest high-performance GPU from NVIDIA that was available in China after the ban affected AI-focused graphic chips. This resulted in seeing thousands of disassembled graphics cards with a new cooling system installed, adapted to servers. These systems are more compact and have a blower fan that expels the hot air outside. Now, all of these scrapped cooling systems are being resold as fully functional RTX 4090 graphics cards.
GeForce RTX 4090 cooling systems are assembled on a PCB without hardware to complete the scam
Chinese local media HKPEC warned of a user who had been scammed. The most worrying part of this story is that the user even paid a premium for the GPU due to the stock’s absence. Specifically, the victim paid a total of $1,660 for the GPU. The user discovered the scam after the GPU failed to work and received no help from the seller. The victim then opened the GPU to see if there was any issue preventing it from working and found it.
The user found a PCB that was missing both the graphics chip and memory chips. The memory chips found on the board appear to be fake, merely used for decoration. One of these memory chips was glued to the thermal compound in the cooling system. And yes, these memory chips are soldered to the PCB, so this incident should be impossible, even if the soldering was poorly done.
After this, the victim contacted the local media to report the incident. The reason behind it is that local authorities did not help take legal action on the scam. Not only had the victim been sold a used ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 4090 as new, but it also lacked vital components for operation. Components that, in truth, cannot be acquired or are not worth acquiring.
Hundreds of cooling systems are up for sale in China
The problem here is that those responsible for changing the cooling systems of the GeForce RTX 4090 sell them for extra cash. Some of them are satisfied with just this money, which ranges between $20 and $50. Others, or their buyers, take it a step further to make thousands of dollars extra by directly scamming consumers eager for the latest high-end GPU available in the country.
As a result, it is now completely unsafe to purchase a GeForce RTX 4090 in China through third parties, which was the only way to acquire one until now. Obviously, if you see any RTX 4090 on AliExpress or similar sites at an attractive price, you now know what could be the cause. It will be interesting to see if this practice will spread to other markets, taking advantage of the huge profits from this scam.
The entry Hundreds of GeForce RTX 4090s without graphic chips or memory in China: selling their cooling systems first appeared on El Chapuzas Informático.