This unlucky customer bought an RTX 4090 and received a box of loose metal

A Gigabyte RTX 4090 with a red cross over it
(Image credit: Gigabyte)
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One unlucky PC gamer managed to secure an order for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 (opens in new tab) at launch only to receive a box full of heavy metal. Not the cool kind, either. Literally just blocks of metal that loosely weigh the same as an RTX 4090.

This isn't the first time we've heard of a box that should have a graphics card in it turning up with something else altogether inside. Often we hear reports of other, less powerful graphics cards being swapped out by customers returning the cards, only then for that same return to be shipped onto someone else. It's a sad state of affairs.

hey_guys_check_out_my_new_4090_side_note_newegg from r/pcmasterrace

The original post on Reddit (opens in new tab) from user NuclearInnardsBeep (quite a name) had garnered a lot of attention over the weekend, however. Not only because this was reportedly an order placed at launch for the GPU, thus not a return from another customer, but because Newegg reportedly locked the account of the customer.

We've been in touch with Newegg regarding the order, and a spokesperson told us that the reason for the lock was due to Newegg's process when dealing with potential fraud. 

"Newegg’s process is to suspend a customer’s account for a few days any time there is potential fraud in order for Newegg to conduct an investigation. The account was reinstated during this suspension period because there was no evidence available."

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I suppose it makes sense. Fraud that may look a lot like this likely happens all the time. Even some users responding to the thread on Reddit seemed to believe that the original poster was making things up, which they've been pushing to debunk. That doesn't appear to be the case following Newegg's confirmation to us, anyways, and the unfortunate reality is that this sort of thing is common enough to be very believable.

Newegg also confirmed to us that the card was brand new.

We also asked the retailer where the card may have ended up, but we were told there was no evidence available to say. It's a mystery. We probably won't ever know where or when the GPU switcheroo took place.

Newegg has refunded the customer though, and their account was reinstated. So in the end they're back where they started before they ever secured an RTX 4090 in the first place. Which kind of sucks as it's an even tougher job to find the card in stock today, but at least they're not stuck with two extremely expensive paperweights.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.