With prices of the latest RTX 30 series and the RX 6000 series finally coming down, now is one of the best times to score one of the best graphics cards. Their pricing has been crazy throughout this year, so affording one seemed like a dream. However, with many people purchasing graphics cards now, two distinct categories became obvious. The first includes people that were waiting for a GPU to complete their setup. The second consists of people who are upgrading. Although people who belong to the first category will probably be fine, the people in the second might ask themselves, “what to do with my old graphics card after an upgrade?”
In this article, we will list a bunch of things you could use your old graphics card for. This list might help you in figuring out a good use for the “useless” card you might have ended up throwing away.
1. Put the Card in a Secondary Build
One of the best ideas to keep using your old graphics card is to throw it in a secondary build. Your main build might have failing components one way or another. While it’s quite uncommon for components to fail without a warning sign, in theory, they could give out on you at any time. When you send the products for RMA (Return merchandise authorization), you will be without a PC for a while. Some RMAs take a lot of time — we are talking about a range of months here.
Therefore, investing in a secondary build might not be a bad idea. If you have an old graphics card lying around, you already have one crucial piece of the build. Getting a graphics card is the hardest thing these days, and this scenario will give you a good head start.
Also, if you don’t have any secondary components in your possession, starting to collect them up from the graphics card is a great idea. If you keep an eye out, scoring secondary components for cheap isn’t a hard task. You can see people offering some components at inexpensive prices. Mostly, these include rejected components, RMAed products, and failed deliveries from sellers. These components are great in two ways. They are sold for cheap and remain in top-notch condition, even sealed at times.
2. Build a Home Theater PC
If your old graphics card is capable of 4K video output, building a home theater PC is among the best things you can do to reuse it. Anything more powerful than an AMD RX 460 is capable of 4K 60Hz output. Therefore, even the crappiest cards of the last few years, like the GTX 1050 or the RX 560, will be capable of playing BluRay at the highest quality possible.
Home theater PCs are usually low-profile machines. They are crammed-up builds with a huge focus on minimalism. It is sensible as these builds have to fit inside a TV stand. Thus, large cards or those with large power inputs or bad thermals are not ideal for this job. You can still make them work by putting another tower beside your TV, but it might not look good.
Home theater PCs are substantially superior compared to the stock software installed on a regular smart TV. You get a lot more flexibility, ranging from installing an operating system of your choice to even gaming on your huge (presumably) OLED beast!
3. Use Your Old Graphics Card as a Test Card
Your old graphics card, if small and lightweight enough, can be a great tool for testing. Say, your new graphics card is misbehaving in a new build. You can quickly install the old card that you know works, and determine whether the other GPU is the culprit. If it isn’t, you eliminated a GPU from the list of components that could be failing. This makes even more sense if you are in the computer hardware industry and either review products or run a computer repair shop.
The card you use for testing can double up as a GPU for a secondary build. You can plop the graphics card into your other build when you are not examining other PCs.
4. Set Up a Cryptocurrency Mining Rig
Although you can set up a cryptocurrency rig for mining with your old graphics card, we don’t recommend it for several reasons.
- For most cryptocurrencies, mining is not sustainable.
- Cryptocurrency mining is banned in some countries.
- Mining generates a lot of heat and draws huge amounts of electricity. Besides the added risk of ending up with a dead card sooner than expected, you have to pay more for electricity.
- You might have to leave your PC alone to get the most out of mining.
However, if you want to make some easy cash and don’t have any legal restrictions, mining can be an option to consider. With the current condition of the market, this activity has never been more profitable. But, keep the downsides of mining in mind before you power up your rig.
5. Use Your Graphics Card for a Noble Cause: Folding@Home
Folding@Home is a great initiative that helps scientists use distributed computing to develop remedies for new diseases. It is even more relevant in tough times like the pandemic we are going through. You can donate some of your computer’s computing power to this cause.
This is one of the best things to do with your old hardware, which you won’t be using anyway. This can also be done if you are rocking a second build. The power of that computer can be donated to Folding@Home around the clock if you want to.
6. Try Modding Your Old GPU
Modding hardware is one of the most interesting things you can do with it. If you have an old card that is already out of warranty, it can become even more feasible. This is because modding voids the warranty most of the time.
You can all go hard with your creativity while modding your old card. This can range from swapping the in-built heatsink with an aftermarket cooler and changing the fans, to even redesigning a new heatsink shroud and a backplate. Modding has a huge fan base and a massive community of practitioners.
There is a warning about this, however. If you haven’t played around with components before, you might damage your hardware. Although that would add up to your experience, your old graphics card would be deemed useless, and you will have to recycle or sell it as scrap. However, if you have enough technological know-how on how to open graphics cards, work with the inner components, and reseat them together again, there’s likely no better possible use for it. Also, after you mod your card, you can still use it for any purpose we mentioned above.
7. Swap Your GPU for Hardware You Need
Most of the time, people with little technical knowledge end up buying incompatible stuff. Then they have no other option but to sell their hardware off. If you know someone like this, who also coincidentally needs a graphics card, you can swap your old GPU for some hardware that you need. Graphics cards are in short supply these days, especially the budget GTX 1650 and GTX 1050 Ti, which are extremely scalped. Ergo, scoring such a deal is not too hard at all.
8. Sell Your Old Graphics Card
Selling your old card is one of the easiest ways to make some quick money. Best of all, you can use that cash to buy some other components you need. These days, cards are targeted by scalpers tremendously. Although you can sell your old GPU at an inflated cost, you may play fair and list it at a price you paid.
That is the list of all things you can do with your old GPU. You can let your creativity run wild and mod the graphics card. Alternatively, you can save time and sell it off for quick cash to support your next tech purchase. The decision is yours.