The source article contains the images shown above. Sadly, the source images don’t contain very clear close-ups of the part of the PCB.
Let us look at the story in a chronologically sensible manner. What seems to have happened is that IT Home reported on complaints by its readers about receiving Galax graphics cards from consumer outlets that didn’t appear to be brand new.
One reader ordered a Galax RTX 3070 Ti Metal Master OC from Taobao in China. Upon receipt, the person didn’t open the anti-static bag immediately as they were aware of previous Galax complaints. Instead, he looked carefully through the bag and saw signs on the gold contacts of the PCB that the card was previously plugged/unplugged. Moreover, he made comments about “black marks” on the gold contacts, which are likely to result from oxidization. Thus the customer returned his RTX 3070 Ti without further unpacking and made his tale known to the media.
Galax noticed these reports and was obviously concerned about bad publicity, so it took some time to investigate the returned product. In several pages of analysis, which took place across several company departments, Galax determined that the GPU under scrutiny had a very recent factory production date of April 19, 2022. In addition, it found no issues in functionality and the RTX 3070 Ti performed as expected.
Importantly, Galax explained that “the full-featured test of the graphics card product before shipment may cause the product gold finger to wear.” This would explain the scratches on the shiny gold, but it is less convincing that oxidization would occur from a relatively brief test period.
Galax chose to self-investigate customer concerns, which isn’t the most satisfactory or convincing type of investigation. To clear itself of suspicion concerning refurbishing or reselling old mining cards, it would have done better to hire a respected third party to look at its production and processes.
If you are interested in acquiring a graphics card at this time, there are signs that AMD is preparing a refresh of its Radeon RX 6000 series shortly. Intel is also preparing to enter the desktop market with its first Arc Alchemist discrete GPUs, and many graphics cards are at long last priced at or very close to MSRP.