High-End Graphics Cards Are Becoming Hard To Find Due To Cryptocurrency

by VentureBeat • July 2nd, 2017

For a brief moment earlier this week, PC gamers looking to upgrade their rigs with the latest video cards from AMD or Nvidia felt some hope. The bitcoin-like cryptocurrency Ethereum that is driving up demand for many of those GPUs saw a drastic drop in value down to $235 from a recent high of $397. And some consumers thought that was potentially the beginning of the end for the GPU drought of 2017, but it wasn’t to be. Ethereum has recovered, and that means you are still competing with “miners” for the limited stock of Radeon RX 580sGeForce GTX 1080s, and more.

Ethereum is trading well over $310 at the time of this posting, according to tracking site Coindesk. And that means a graphics card like the RX 580 (which starts at $250) is affordable enough for cryptocurrency miners to still earn a profit after factoring in energy costs. Ethereum is a digital coin that enables people to purchase access to distributed computing power. You can lend your PC’s power to that network to help solve those contracts in exchange for Ethereum — this is called “mining.” The price of Ethereum almost hit $400 on June 14, but miners were flooding the market in search of cost-efficient cards well before that point. The high price just meant that nearly every new GPU from both Nvidia and AMD was economically viable.

This has, of course, left gamers frustrated. You can go on eBay now to get an RX 580 card from a third-party seller for $450, but you will struggle to find one on Amazon or Newegg at its suggested price.

AMD revealed earlier this month that cryptocurrency mining was leading to a rush on its products. And it isn’t slowing down. Even a permanent drop down to $235 for Ethereum would potentially only price out certain cards and make them easier to find.

The real solution to this problem is maybe already in the works. Nvidia and AMD know that they are benefitting from miners, and rumors claim that both companies are considering launching dedicated mining versions of some of their cards. The idea is that AMD and Nvidia would tune the cards to run 24/7, which is how mining operations work. But whether that will free up supply on other GPUs for your typical gamer building their first rig will depend on a number of factors, and you can bet that if a popular card like the GeForce GTX 1070 can make more money than a 1060 Miners Edition (or whatever Nvidia would call it), then the 1070 would sell it quickly.

This contributed post was originally written by Jeff Grubb on VentureBeat.

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What's your reaction?
  • NooYawker

    How long would it take to mine a single ethereum?

    • SickoPsycho

      It depends on your hardware, as stated above. Typically people mine in a pool, where a large group of machines work together and share the profits. You earn small amounts at a time that eventually build up to full increment ETC. When you mine solo, you’re much less likely to actually receive ETC, unless you have serious hardware…

  • Sebastien Mathieu

    A single ethereum is hard to know, depending on the Pool/Rig you’re mining with… but with an average rig of (6 x gtx 1060 like mine) you can expect
    to mine around 20$ US a day (with ethereum price around 300$/US)

    • NooYawker

      Did I read that correct? You have a rig with 6 video cards?

      • Sebastien Mathieu

        3 rigs actually all mining ethereum… you get a 4-5 month ROI at the actual ethereum price. …

        • Sebastien Mathieu

          Until they switch to POS… so Hurry 😅😅

          • Sebastien Mathieu

            But it’s not like a gaming rig you need some USB risers to make it work. …

      • Stranger On The Road

        most likely using pci expansion boards, you can connect an array of them and install a video card in each. Don’t think about using this setup for gaming, it won’t help you.

  • Kidd

    I have a asus 1080 ti. What u think that can do in a day

    • Ailuropoda melanoleuca Nineone

      not much the 1080 and 1080 tis are bad for eth the 1070 is actually better its due to the gddr 5x thats causing its low hashrate

  • cirby

    There’s a few possible good outcomes for gamers.

    The first is that we hit saturation on Ethereum mining. Video card price drops will be dramatic at that point.

    The second is that card makers will upgrade production enough to handle the long-term demand. Price drops won’t be as dramatic, but supply issues will disappear.

    The coin-mining bubble can’t continue – and a lot of Ethereum miners will have stacks of high-end video cards they’re going to need to dump off…

  • RonitAmin2

    we tell top15s to make a top 15s video

  • Farter

    A-holes blocking up the market for normal folks who wanna game or render 3d stuff. So stupid.

    • NEPA

      Cryptocurrency assholes can all go jump off a bridge.

  • Ailuropoda melanoleuca Nineone

    the hell did you do any research on this????? the gtx 1080s don’t have a shortage it’s one of the only cards that don’t due to its extreme price and terrible hashrate the cards that are actually being bought for eth mining are 470 480 570 580 290 390 280 270 and their x variants. the gtx 1070 and 1060 is also being hit minorly but the 1080 hasn’t been touched since its worse for mining then a 1070 and almost twice the price

    • Klokinator

      It’s SO great too! Sold an R9 390x for $362, bought a GTX 1080 for $440! Amazing tradeoff!!!

  • NEPA

    I sincerely hope that governments force disclosure of this currency to them so they can tax it. Also, I hope all miners suffer financial loss from this data value plummeting through the floor. Cryptocurrency morons need to go play in traffic. This fad is literally the most moronic yet. Currency backed by absolutely nothing. No regulatory protections, no nation state backing, just some asshole whom started it.