$340,000 of Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics cards were stolen in China
December 7, 2020
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by admin

A photo of a box truck has been photoshopped to include The Grinch stealing a computer component from it.
Enlarge / The GPU Grinch doesn’t care about your lists or whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

Some time last week, thieves stole a large number of Nvidia-based RTX 3090 graphics cards from MSI’s factory in mainland China. The news comes from twitter user @GoFlying8, who posted what appears to be an official MSI internal document around the theft this morning, along with commentary from a Chinese language website.

Roughly translated—in other words, OCR scanned, run through Google Translate, and with the nastiest edges sawn off by yours truly—the MSI document reads something like this:

Ensmai Electronics (Deep) Co., Ltd.
Memo No. 1-20-12-4-000074
Subject: Regarding the report theft of the graphics card, it is appropriate to reward


  1. Recently, high unit price display cards produced by the company have been stolen by criminals. The case has now been reported to the police. At the same time, I also hope that all employees of the company will actively and truthfully report this case.
  2. Anyone providing information which solves this case will receive a reward of 100,000 yuan. The company promises to keep the identity of the whistleblower strictly confidential.
  3. If any person is involved in the case, from the date of the public announcement, report to the company’s audit department or the head of the conflicting department. If the report is truthful and and assists in the recovery of the missing items, the company will report to the police, but request leniency. The law should be dealt with seriously.
  4. With this announcement, I urge my colleagues to be professional and ethical, and to be disciplined, learn from cases, and be warned.
  5. Reporting Tel: [elided]

Reporting mailbox of the Audit Office: [elided]
December 4, 2020

There has been some confusion surrounding the theft in English speaking tech media; the MSI document itself dates to last Friday, and does not detail how many cards were stolen or what the total value was. The surrounding commentary—from what seems to be a Chinese news app—claims that the theft was about 40 containers of RTX 3090 cards, at a total value of about 2.2 million renminbi ($336K in US dollars).

If the reported value is correct—and refers to suggested retail price of the cards—we’re talking about roughly 224 stolen GPUs. The cards might actually sell for considerably more, since supply is low and demand is very high—scalpers on eBay have reportedly gotten some legitimate bids of as high as $20,000 for a single RTX 3090, with typical auctions going for more like $2,600.

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