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What do you make of this, ad on craigslist. "Free 5770 or 5870"  

post #1 of 165
Thread Starter 
So I was searching for used 5870's on craigslist, I came across an interesting ad, "free 5770, 5870 or 5970", it stated that he was someone working on a shared computing project, and that he would pay for the card if you install his software and let him use the video card for shared computing calculations when you are not on your computer. I am always interested in "the next big scam" so I sent an email asking for more information, what do you make of this?

Quote:
Hi,

Thanks for your interest in my ad. Here are further details:

This is essentially a trade of my money for your electricity. You buy the video card, and I pay you to use it in my distributed computing project when you are not using your PC. The amount you pay for electricity is probably the biggest factor in whether this deal makes financial sense for you.

I will pay you $120 ($15/month for 8 months) to buy ANY Radeon 5770 card. If you want a nicer card, I'll pay you $240 to buy a 5870, or I'll pay you $360 to buy a 5970 (although the 5970 costs $600, so it wouldn't be free to you).

To qualify, you must have a Windows PC which can use this card, and which is always on and connected to the internet. You must install some software which will use the card when the PC is not in use, and you must also be willing to live with fan noise when you are not using the PC and my software is using the card.

Once your card is working for me, I will pay you $15/month (for the 5770, $30 for 5870, $45 for 5970) via PayPal to run my software. After eight months, the deal is done, and you have your money back and your free card. If I am still interested in using your card at that point, I may offer to continue paying you for use of your card at a new rate.

Each month is paid in advance. That means you get your first payment as soon as I see that my software is doing work on your PC. If you more need reassurance before installing my software, I can send you a $5 down-payment before you actually start running the software, but to get that you must first send me a scan of your photo ID and a bunch of specific photographs and screen-shots to prove that you are for real. Ask me for details if you want to go this route.

Questions you might have:

Q: What if for some reason you stop paying me before I get all my money back?
A: Then you get to keep or sell the card that you bought

Q: What kind of computer do I need to use this card?
A: Your PC must have a PCI Express X16 slot to run this card. You must also have a power supply that is beefy enough to handle the load. For the 5770 and 5870, they recommend that you have a PC with a 500 Watt power supply, and for the 5970 they recommend a 650 Watt power supply. Note that it is possible to chain two power-supplies together so that one is dedicated to the video card - contact me if you want to know how. You also need to have the right drivers installed for your video card.

Q: What drivers do I need to run your software?
A: You must install the latest AMD Catalyst Control Center for your Radeon card (make sure to get the version of the Control Center which includes OpenCL). Note that installing just the control center is not enough, nor is simply installing the OpenCL driver by itself. You must install the whole package together.

Q: What if I accidentally turn off my computer or lose my internet connection?
A: If your card is not available to my software for a long period of time, I may reduce your payment for the next month proportionally. If that happens, I will extend the number of months I pay you, so you can still get the full amount we agreed on.

Q: What if I already have a fancy new video card?
A: I will pay you to use it. Cool, huh? If you have a newer video card which supports OpenCL and does not have a pay-rate listed above, contact me to see what it is worth per month in my project.

Q: Do you pay more for two cards in crossfire mode?
A: No. My software gets only a small gain from this configuration. Two cards running separately are much faster for what I need, but I don't do this because I'm worried that two cards side-by-side running 100% would have overheating issues. If you want to get paid for two cards, you need to have them in different PCs, or you need to not put them in crossfire mode and convince me that you have the cooling situation under control. If you have two cards in your PC already, I would just use one of them.

Q: What if I change my mind and don't want my computer to work for you any more?
A: Simply uninstall my software, and I will stop paying you

Q: What will you use my card for?
A: A distributed computing project that needs GPUs with a lot of processing power. I'm working on a cryptography project that needs way more computing power than I have. My project may or may not have something to do with the difficulty of finding certain absurdly large prime numbers.

Q: What if I don't have a PayPal account for you to pay me?
A: I can send you cash in the mail if you prefer, or we can work something else out

Q: What if the card stops working?
A: It is your responsibility to keep the card running. For instance, if you overclock the card, it may be damaged. You are responsible for making sure the card has adequate ventilation. If the card stops working, I will not pay you to run my software. For whatever it is worth, various forum "experts" have told me that these cards can run at 100% indefinitely with proper ventilation - it is actually heat cycles and power cycles that wear them out, not continuous usage. Don't take my word for it though - do your own research until you are convinced that this is true for your card.

Q: Can I play games, watch HD movies, run multiple monitors, etc on this card?
A: Yes! You can do whatever you want. My software only uses the card when the PC is not in use. However, if you use the computer more than 80 hours/week, I may have to reduce the monthly payments (and add additional months at the end to compensate).

Q: How much will your software hog my CPU and bandwidth?
A: My software uses minimal CPU and bandwidth. On my dual-core PC, it uses about 3% on task-manager. It would run just fine over a modem. The main resource used is electricity.

Q: How much electricity will be used?
A: In addition to whatever power is used by your idling PC, A 5770 uses about 110 watts, a 5870 uses about 190 watts, and a 5970 uses about 290 watts. Over the course of one month (assuming 100% utilization), worst-case usage would be 80 kilowatt-hours, 140 kilowatt-hours, and 210 kilowatt-hours, respectively. This deal works best if you pay a flat-rate for your electricity, or have access to free electricity. If you pay $0.10 per kilowatt-hour like I do, that is a monthly cost of $8, $14, and $21 respectively. If you pay a lot more than that for electricity, see the the next question.

Q: My electricity is expensive, and your offer doesn't pay enough to make it worth it to me. Am I out of luck?
A: No! Make me a counter-offer, and we may be able to come to an agreement where I pay you month-to-month without committing to a certain number of months.

Q: Why don't you just buy your own hardware for this project?
A: I have bought some hardware. There are some problems though. First, I would need to buy lots of PCs to host all the video cards I want to utilize. Second, I pay for my own electricity, but many other people get a flat rate or get free electricity. Third, I don't have room in my house for all the hardware I want to use. Fourth, I have run out of friends, family, and neighbors who were able to take me up on this deal, and I still need lots more computing power.

Q: How can I know you are not going to hack my PC?
A: Four reasons:
1) I have no way to know if you have anything of value on your PC
2) Real hackers use viruses to take over thousands of computers at a time. It would stupid and inefficient to do it this way
3) You can (and should) run a virus scan on any software before you run it on your computer
4) I'm using my real name and my personal email address. If you can come to Woodinville, WA where I work, I would be happy to meet with you (or someone you send on your behalf), and show you my ID. No hacker would do that. I can also send you a scan of my ID if that helps (you must send me a scan of your ID first).

Let me know if you are interested, or if you have any further questions.

-J.R. Willett

Edited by TheLastPriest - 2/21/11 at 8:56am
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post #2 of 165
Judging by the name J.R. Willett, this is a scam.
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post #3 of 165
It is possible the guy is legit but your guess is as good as mine.Since it is craigslist then it is a little more likely bs than truth.
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post #4 of 165
Be all right if it's true I guess. Wonder what type of program he is needing this all for though.
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post #5 of 165
Thread Starter 
It is interesting none the less, obviously I wouldnt even think of moving forward on it because frankly, I barely trust my own wife and family let alone someone who uses their initials as their first name. That being said, i am curious of the angle, the thing about most scams is there is usually a simple way to see that its a scam because you can quickly ID what they have to gain, in this one, whats the worst that could happen, you get stuck buying a card...unless ATI is behind the ad and this is a ploy to sell more cards.
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post #6 of 165
What is this software, exactly?
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post #7 of 165
ATI cards can't do CUDA, sucks horribly at folding, and generate a lot of heat. I really wonder what this is all about.
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post #8 of 165
I wouldn't be surprised if it also captured your credit card information and added your computer as a member of a botnet, and doesn't send you jack crap for payment.
Edited by beers - 2/19/11 at 7:37pm
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post #9 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoTMaXPoWeR View Post
What is this software, exactly?
i didnt read the whole ad but it could be f@h O.O
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post #10 of 165
If its something like BOINC or F@H, this is an interesting way to boost your PPD.

I'd check more into the software he's wanting you to run personally. If its a known project like BOINC or F@H, might just be worth it to do it on his name.
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