What to Do With an Old Graphics Card When Upgrading to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 GPU

Now that we’ve one day retired from Nvidia’s huge announcement for desktop gamers, I hope many of you are tempted to splurge in September and upgrade your graphics card. Whether you’re looking for a sensible upgrade (RTX 3070 for $ 499) or for the 8K monster, 60fps (RTX 3090 for $ 1499), the question still remains what to do with your current graphics card, whether it’s an aging beauty or like me, a pretty pristine GeForce RTX 2080.

Now is a great time not to upgrade to an RTX 30-series graphics card.

Before we get to the hardware, let me point out that now is the perfect time not to upgrade to one of the just announced Nvidia cards. This may sound counterintuitive, so let me explain.

There is an absolute sell-off in third-party markets right now. Head over to eBay, for example, and you’ll see lots and loads of recently listed (used) graphics cards from people who all want as much money as possible to help pay for the RTX 30 Series upgrade.

Be the fish that swims against the current, not along it. If you don’t already have a 4K monitor, let alone a 1440p display, you might not need RTX 30 level firepower for your gaming system. You can still get over 60 frames per second at the highest quality settings using the RTX 2060; up to 2070 or 2080 (super or normal) and you can even turn on ray tracing and maintain that precious 60fps – or get closer .

Of course, this all assumes that ray tracing is important to you. It might not be, or the games you play the most might not even be using it. In fact, even if you feel like you need a big graphical upgrade to your system, the RTX 30 series might not be the best choice right now . With a used RTX 2060 Supers priced around $ 300-350 and an RTX 2070 Supers priced around $ 400, you will save a bit of money compared to the $ 499 RTX 3070. The RTX 2060 , which still gives you entry-level ray tracing access and may be all you need for a sane 1080p gaming system.

And no, I didn’t even talk about AMD’s offerings, which could also help you save some money if you don’t mind ditching ray tracing to get that. The RX 5700 XT is about as fast as the GeForce RTX 2070 Super, and you can probably win it for around $ 350.

Again, you just need to figure out what kind of player you really are. If you just want to play Fortnite and World of Warcraft without stuttering, you probably won’t even need a Series 20 RTX card – something even older (and cheaper) might be enough .

You want to upgrade – what do you do with your old hardware?

If you’re upgrading from integrated graphics to your first discrete card, you have nothing to worry about. As long as your system meets the requirements for Nvidia RTX 30-series cards, you won’t have any hardware to unload. (I suspect you’ll need at least a new PSU ; either eBay your old one, or keep it in case you ever need a backup.)

If you are upgrading from an older graphics card, you have several options. First things first: don’t throw away your old graphics card . It is wasteful even if you recycle it ; you’re just throwing away perfectly good hardware that you might repurpose at some point in the future.

Of course, you won’t want to hoard ancient gear that you will never use. I think it’s worth having backup hardware on hand for the rare occasion that something happens to your desktop system and you need something – anything – to get started again. (This is less of a problem if your motherboard has integrated graphics, since at least you can still use your computer while you solve your problem.) However, if you want to play a little or at least want to stick with a discrete card, buy an anti-static bag for your old graphics card, close it tightly and put it in a basket somewhere on the shelf. Resurrect it if necessary.

Of course, you can also use this old video card:

  • This can be very useful in a budget PC build that you’ll use for small games, when you don’t want to run your main system, or if you want your roommate, spouse, or kid to join you on your gaming journey. …
  • You can put together a home theater system with a little more power than a computer with integrated graphics – perfect for bringing 4K video into your living room.
  • Use this as a test card. If you are worried that there is something wrong with your motherboard, or that the PCI slot is faulty or something like that, replace your new video card with this one to see if there is any change in its behavior.
  • You can build a cryptocurrency mining rig even if the cost of running it is likely to outweigh any monetary value it provides.
  • You can contribute to distributed computing projects like fold @ home .
  • You can use the card as a dummy card, regardless of the fact that it breaks, to practice more advanced techniques, such as installing a water block or replacing a standard cooler with an aftermarket cooler.
  • You can exchange it for something else that you need for your system, or sell it right away.
  • Speaking of selling , you can always do it on eBay. However, you will be faced with anyone looking to undercut your price, and you will have to pay eBay fees for any successful transactions. You might be better off posting your old graphics card on Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace, selling it on Reddit (on the aforementioned / r / hardwareswap or / r / minerswap ), visiting sites like sellgpu.com, or asking friends if they’re interested. in your old gear (perhaps if you also sweeten the deal by offering help to build their own system).
  • You could just give it away . You won’t make any money, but maybe you can help a child get their first Minecraft installation started. Isn’t that a reward?
  • You can do a cool art installation to showcase your fanatical story in your nerd lair, or opt for a slightly more toned down version .

As for me, I don’t think I need to update my GeForce RTX 2080 card. I’m sincere, very tempted because I’m just on the cusp that this would be a useful (albeit somewhat silly) boost for my ultra-wide 1440p setting – and it would be nice to prepare a little for the future with a new card in case I have ever updated my monitor. But by the time I probably do that, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (or Super, or whatever) is probably out, and this will be the update to get. Maybe I’ll also see if I can get some solar panels to make up for the absurd amount of electricity the system will need …


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