Power washing your GPU seems like a terrible idea

Miners powerwashing GPUs
(Image credit: I_Leak_VN)

Now that the Merge has happened (opens in new tab), large-scale ethereum miners are finding themselves with a lot of GPUs with nothing to mine. This means some of these operations will likely attempt to offload their mining kits on the secondhand market to salvage some profit. But first, you got to clean your inventory, right?

A series of videos posted by Twitter user I_Leak_VN (spotted by Tom's Hardware (opens in new tab)) shows Vietnamese miners using a powerwasher on the graphics cards inside their mining rigs. One video even shows a handful of GPUs bathed in ozone water, according to the tweet. 

The video may seem obviously ridiculous, but even so: I strongly recommend against power washing your gaming PC or components with water from your yard hose. I do get the temptation; we know from Powerwash Simulator (opens in new tab) that power washing rules. Just… not in this case.  

The pressure from the jet wash could easily damage a graphics card, blast off a capacitor, or wash away thermal paste or lube, as Tom's Hardware points out. That doesn't even cover the electrical damage that could potentially be done by using regular ole water.

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You can potentially use ozone or deionized water (opens in new tab) to clean electronics since it doesn't contain the impurities that make tap water conduct electricity. So long as you let the components dry out after a deionized water bath, they should work again just fine. However, even if you dunk your stuff in deionized water, it can still get contaminated with impurities (opens in new tab) once you pull it out into the open air. Likewise, unless you're giving your stuff a bath in a spotless clean room, that water may not stay pristine for long.

I'm pretty skeptical these crypto miners are drying out GPUs in a sterile environment, so we arrive back at my original point: power washing your computer is a bad idea. The last thing you want to plug into a PC is a GPU with a pocket of moisture trapped inside it.

These videos should serve as a warning for anyone thinking about shopping for a used graphics card in the next few months as the secondhand market is flooded with crypto mining cards.

Seeing that the massive demand for GPUs is dropping post-Merge, they should be a little easier to find at retail. And with the launch of Nvidia's new RTX 40-series (opens in new tab), expect to see big sales of previous-gen RTX 30-series GPUs in the next few weeks. There's no reason to risk your precious PC with a potentially damaged component in order to save a buck.

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Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for nearly ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, and Tom's Guide.