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Computing

Why You Shouldn’t Roll the Dice on a Secondhand GPU

A surge of graphics cards on secondhand marketplaces has brought down GPU prices a lot, but when shopping on sites like eBay, Mercari, and Facebook Marketplace, you’re playing Russian Roulette. Palit Microsystems, a Taiwan-based graphics card maker, says that graphics cards that have been run in crypto farms can drop as much as 10% of performance per year.

In speaking with Benchmark.pl, Palit said that independent tests have shown up to a 10% drop in performance after a year of a card running in a mining operation. Outside of the performance drop, mining cards are often subjected to intense heat and power draw, as they’re sandwiched between other cards operating at full speed.

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A recent influx of graphics cards on secondhand marketplaces is the center of the conversation. After China imposed restrictions on cryptocurrency mining, marketplaces saw a surge in inexpensive graphics cards. They’re a tempting proposition, especially after nearly a year of inflated GPU prices.

It’s important to be careful shopping for a graphics card, especially if you get it pre-owned. The drop in performance is one thing, but cards running at full speed 24/7 may carry other issues, as well. Prolonged exposure to high heat can damage the components inside the card and limit the cooling potential, leading to decreased performance and lifespan.

This is becoming increasingly important in the U.S. with falling Ethereum prices. Peaking a few months ago, the price of Ethereum has started to level off, and the switch to a new validation model will make traditional GPU mining obsolete later this year. The U.S. houses the lion’s share of Etherum miners, so a rush of secondhand mining cards is likely.

How you can protect yourself

The GPU shortage has pushed the prices of graphics cards to obscene limits, as well as limited supply at traditional retailers. With more cards popping up on sites like eBay, going secondhand can be tempting. Before you do that, though, you should know the risks that come along with it.

There are ways to buy a graphics card new in 2021, so we recommend sticking with them. If you need to shop secondhand, it’s important to do as many social checks as possible.

Listings for the RTX 3080 on eBay.

That usually comprises looking at seller ratings, other listings, and feedback. If the seller has a lot of cards available — particularly of the same model — that might indicate they were used for mining. In addition, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is and the card was likely used in a mining rig. A visual inspection helps, too, though that doesn’t always reveal much.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure. It’s possible you can pick up a mining card that wasn’t driven into the ground, and it’s possible you can pick up a unit that works for a few months before unexpectedly dying. If you’re shopping in the secondhand market, you have to roll the dice.

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Tech News

Oculus Quest subscriptions roll out for games and apps

Oculus today announced that it’s now allowing developers to offer subscriptions to their apps. While perhaps not the best fit for gaming – which Oculus was centered around at the beginning of its life – the company says that by offering subscriptions, it can offer monetization options that make Quest a better fit for other types of apps. Obviously there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for subscription offerings, but in today’s announcement, Oculus listed several different apps that will offer them to start.

There are six different apps that are adding subscriptions today: FitXR, Rec Room, Tribe XR, TRIPP, vSpatial, and VZfit. Oculus says that content you’ve previously purchased in these apps will continue to be accessible after these subscriptions go live, so it sounds like developers won’t be allowed to remove content that’s already been paid for and stick it behind a subscription.

In FitXR, for instance, Oculus says that subscribers will get a new instructor-led class from the existing Box and Dance studios and the upcoming HIIT studio each day, along with access to multiplayer. Those who already purchased FitXR will keep the content they’ve paid for (which includes Add-On packs). While newcomers to the app will get a seven-day free trial to the FitXR subscription service, those who already own the app will get a 90-day trial.

With Rec Room, we see something entirely different. While the base app will continue to be free, a subscription called Rec Room Plus will be offered as something of a premium tier for those who want it. The monthly subscription will net users 6,000 tokens each month – which translates to $10 of real world cash – along with weekly four-star items and access to a special section of the store that’s reserved for subscribers.

Ultimately, what you get with a subscription depends on the app – some might require a subscription to access the app, while others might just offer the subscription as a bonus for those interested in getting some extra content. Oculus says that you’ll be able to cancel subscriptions at any time. To read more about the subscriptions being offered by these initial six apps, check out today’s blog post on the Oculus website.

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Categories
Tech News

Samsung Health Monitor smartwatch app is about to get a massive roll out

Samsung has revealed that it’ll soon be bringing the Samsung Health Monitor app to a whopping 31 new countries. When it arrives in those countries, it’ll be compatible with the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Watch Active 2 (assuming you have a Galaxy smartphone running Android 7.0 or higher to connect those smartwatches too). The Samsung Health Monitor app is used primarily for measuring users’ blood pressure and tracking electrocardiogram data.

Most of the countries receiving the Samsung Health Monitor app next month are in Europe – specifically “Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.” Samsung says it’s able to launch the app in these countries after receiving its CE-marking last month.

In addition, we’ll also see Samsung launch the app in Chile, Indonesia, and the UAE, bringing the grand total of new countries up to 31. The app will come bundled with system updates for both the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Watch Active 2, so all users should get it automatically. When the smartwatch version is booted up for the first time, it’ll link to the smartphone version, allowing users to download it to their phone from there.

As stated above, the app requires a Galaxy smartphone running Android 7.0 or later, so if you’re someone who’s using a Galaxy Watch 3 or a Galaxy Watch Active 2 with a non-Samsung smartphone, you’ll have to sit this release out. If you’re a Samsung adherent through-and-through, however, you’ll be able to monitor your electrocardiogram to look for signs of Atrial Fibrillation and track your blood pressure to keep tabs on that.

To get up and running with both features, you can check out the tutorial videos embedded above. Otherwise, look for Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 updates including the Samsung Health Monitor app to start rolling out on February 4th.

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