Repair Shop Exposes Fake GeForce RTX 4090 Scam On Amazon, Buyer Beware

Repair shop owner holding a fake GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card.
A customer who purchased an ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card sold by Amazon found themselves the victim of a GPU swap scam, which was revealed after they sent the non-functioning card to a prominent repair shop. In a subsequent video posted online, the repair shop exposed what was really a GeForce RTX 4080 with quite the unusual makeup.

North West Repair (NWR), which runs a popular YouTube channel that's approaching 100,000 subscribers, detailed a repair request for a graphics card that arrived with shipping damage. The video begins by showing a "giant" crack on an exposed part of the printed circuit board (PCB) followed by a melted power connector, but it gets even worse from there, starting with the shroud's removal.

"While I was removing the warranty sticker, which is fake by the way, everything was normal with the exception of the screws being a little too tight," Tony from NWR explains in the video. "Then, two screws refused to come out at all, so I had to soak them with alcohol."

Once Tony was able to get a view of the card's guts, things went from bad to worse. For one, he discovered that the DRAM thermal pads were sloppily placed and only covering half of the memory chips. But the biggest issue was the discovery of a "completely fried" GPU (along with some other parts that were fried), which turned out to not even be a GeForce RTX 4090 graphics chip.

The GPU in the card was labeled as an AD103-300-A1 part, which Tony incorrectly states is a laptop GPU. It's not, but it's also not a GeForce RTX 4090 part—that GPU is the Ada Lovelace silicon that powers the GeForce RTX 4080, not the 4090.

So how did this end up in the unfortunate buyer's hands? According to the video, the buyer stated they purchased it as part of a pallet deal from Amazon. Our assumption is that they bought the pallet through a third-party broker or liquidation outfit, as you can find pallets of returned items at big discounts. However, it appears that in this case, a tampered-with card was returned to Amazon and ended up as one of these pallet deals, which eventually bit a buyer in the backside.

Tony makes a note of pointing out that this incident is "100% real and it is now in the US marketplace." He also anticipates seeing more of this sort of thing. While not exactly a new kind of scam, buyers should be on high alert when shopping high-ticket items, which in this case is a graphics card model that routinely sells for over $2,000.