Graphics cards face further shortages as crypto prices rise

midian182

Posts: 6,298   +53
Staff member
TL;DR: Is a depressingly familiar scenario set to return? Following the recent jump in cryptocurrency prices, especially Bitcoin’s, graphics cards are expected to become even more scarce as miners grab them in bulk for their rigs. The situation is exacerbating the current supply problems experienced by the RTX 3000 and Radeon RX 6000 series.

After hitting its previous record of $19,700 in late 2017, Bitcoin dropped to a low of $3,200 a year later. It stagnated between $7,000 and $9,000 for a long time, but since December, its price has gone through the roof, passing $20,000 last month and breaking the $30K barrier recently.

Ethereum has experienced a similar resurgence—the crypto’s price has quadrupled in the last year to around $1,000.

Crypto prices via coinmarketcap

The more valuable a cryptocurrency, the more profit a miner can make each day. And with the new generation of graphics cards offering more power at lower price points than ever before, people can break even in fewer days. Tom’s Hardware notes that the $399 RTX 3060 Ti will have paid for itself after 80 days of mining.

History does appear to be repeating. As Bitcoin and Ethereum soared in 2017, the price of graphics cards—those in stock—skyrocketed as demand far outweighed supply. Consumer anger led to Nvidia requesting that retailers prioritize gamers over miners. Eventually, a slumping crypto market saw GPU prices finally return to normal. When the crypto crash came, Nvidia’s share price plummeted, and last year it faced a lawsuit alleging that the company reported $1 billion in crypto revenue as gaming revenue.

What’s unique this time around is that we’ve been experiencing a shortage of the latest graphics cards since their release. Nvidia has repeatedly said that its GPU supply issues will last until at least the end of January, and with crypto prices continuing to rise, it could be a while before gamers can upgrade their PCs.

Masthead credit: Tech4Gamers

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,770   +6,401
Yeah, overall this will hurt the industry. Even thought they can command higher prices, the loss of sales due to those high prices always seems to take a greater toll ....
 

S Hone

Posts: 41   +32
Yeah, overall this will hurt the industry. Even thought they can command higher prices, the loss of sales due to those high prices always seems to take a greater toll ....
If they had lower sales the prices would go down...
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,064   +4,165
GPU mining is the most incredible waste of resources ever. It’s a waste of cards that could be used by real gamers. It’s damn sure a waste of electricity and it’s a waste of thermal heat going into our atmosphere (unless you use the rig to heat your house?)

NVIDIA and AMD need to sell cards directly to consumers, one at a time, to ensure real gamers get them.

That said: Cryptocurrency is being resurrected by institutional buying. The average investor is better in stocks.
 

RedGuard

Posts: 91   +66
I just noticed that I covered the cost of my 1080Ti by just mining a couple of weeks since August 2018. Yup, 2 weeks mining out of 3 years of using it for gaming.

Would be nice getting a free RTX 3080 even if one costs 1000 euros here. Plus it kinda heats the house for "free". My room is at 25 degrees Celsius, I have to keep the window opened while outside is close to freezing. Neat.
 

Dennis83

Posts: 14   +14
GPU mining is the most incredible waste of resources ever. It’s a waste of cards that could be used by real gamers. It’s damn sure a waste of electricity and it’s a waste of thermal heat going into our atmosphere (unless you use the rig to heat your house?)

NVIDIA and AMD need to sell cards directly to consumers, one at a time, to ensure real gamers get them.

That said: Cryptocurrency is being resurrected by institutional buying. The average investor is better in stocks.
As much as I detest the crypto-currency market and its attached insanity, it could be argued that using the gpus for the indent of gaming is a waste of energy (and heat going into the atmosphere) as well, especially with the latest incarnations of gpus which are very power hungry beasts.

Generally it depends on the point of view / the context of what application is to be labeled as wasteful. I bet those crypto currency guys could argue that at least by running these hot gpus they 'produce' some value compared to gamers who only blow hot air by playing their silly games. (not my personal opinion).
 

SirDigby

Posts: 727   +410
TechSpot Elite
Can cryptocurrency miners develop their own dedicated hardware to mining rather than using GPUs? I appreciate GPUs probably do a very good job but would a dedicated component not do the job better?
 

HardReset

Posts: 903   +480
Can cryptocurrency miners develop their own dedicated hardware to mining rather than using GPUs? I appreciate GPUs probably do a very good job but would a dedicated component not do the job better?
They already have. Bitcoin mining is done on ASIC's. Too bad, there are other cryptocurrencies that work well with GPU's...
 
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NightAntilli

Posts: 418   +415
Can cryptocurrency miners develop their own dedicated hardware to mining rather than using GPUs? I appreciate GPUs probably do a very good job but would a dedicated component not do the job better?
As mentioned above by HardReset, ASICs are already in use for Bitcoin.

But cryptocurrency as a concept has decentralization at its center. So some coins go out of their way to create ASIC resistant algorithms to avoid centralization of power in the mining space, in order to give everyone the ability and a fair chance to mine coins and gain money. That's what for example Ethereum is all about. Other lesser known ones like Ravencoin were specifically designed for this, while coins like Bitcoin Gold and Horizen decided to fork from the main coin in order to become ASIC resistant.
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,770   +6,401
If they had lower sales the prices would go down...
Logically that would be correct, but not in the business world. Many companies think their "brand name" will carry them & correctly, there are a lot of people that believe a high price guarantees better value. When it comes to the marketing people ANYTHING is possible, thus the saying "whatever the market will bare".
 
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NightAntilli

Posts: 418   +415
GPU mining is the most incredible waste of resources ever. It’s a waste of cards that could be used by real gamers.
You mean playing a game for time killing is worth more than maintaining a decentralized network with actual use cases...?

It’s damn sure a waste of electricity and it’s a waste of thermal heat going into our atmosphere (unless you use the rig to heat your house?)
And gaming isn't...?

NVIDIA and AMD need to sell cards directly to consumers, one at a time, to ensure real gamers get them.
I agree. But nVidia went out of their way actually sell cards to miners. In the mean time, AMD seems to have created a GPU that is not so great for mining with the 6800 series.

That said: Cryptocurrency is being resurrected by institutional buying. The average investor is better in stocks.
Cryptocurrencies were never dead. They simply were in a bear market.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,147   +1,571
I just noticed that I covered the cost of my 1080Ti by just mining a couple of weeks since August 2018. Yup, 2 weeks mining out of 3 years of using it for gaming.

Would be nice getting a free RTX 3080 even if one costs 1000 euros here. Plus it kinda heats the house for "free". My room is at 25 degrees Celsius, I have to keep the window opened while outside is close to freezing. Neat.
You covered the cost of a 1080ti mining what for two weeks?
 

kmbear

Posts: 12   +17
I just noticed that I covered the cost of my 1080Ti by just mining a couple of weeks since August 2018. Yup, 2 weeks mining out of 3 years of using it for gaming.

Would be nice getting a free RTX 3080 even if one costs 1000 euros here. Plus it kinda heats the house for "free". My room is at 25 degrees Celsius, I have to keep the window opened while outside is close to freezing. Neat.
What were you mining to get that kind of yield??
 

RedGuard

Posts: 91   +66
I mined something called DNotes when it launched for about a week. Got 4500 of them and sold them for about $450 when the price spiked a year later. Hm, it seems this was in 2014. That wasn't with the Ti, but with a 280x I had back then.

In 2019 I mined, don't know what, using NiceHash for week or so and forgot about the account. I logged in now, on the 1st of January, and had about $400 worth of Bitcoin there.
 
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Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,674   +1,484
Just wondering if any truth to the rumor of a 'tissue paper' currency. Apparently there are millions of folks hoarding tissue paper as a way of avoiding inflation of the British pound (or was it the Euro). Based on usage, this could reach astronomical heights (or maybe in other directions)..
 

BSim500

Posts: 734   +1,580
As much as I detest the crypto-currency market and its attached insanity, it could be argued that using the gpus for the indent of gaming is a waste of energy
You mean playing a game for time killing is worth more than maintaining a decentralized network with actual use cases...?
He probably means "If you made a new currency out of 21 million high security paper banknotes then irreversibly destroyed the printing plates + designs then handed them out to those with expensive GPU's then setup Internet trading exchanges, you'd achieve the same thing Bitcoin has without the absolutely insane resource wastage". ie, "But gaming is a waste of resources too!" is a straw-man since it's impossible to play video games without using electricity, whilst it's entirely possible to create a currency that isn't overprinted without wasting billions of dollars of energy / resources / wealth destruction in the process.

"Bitcoin consumes more energy than Switzerland, according to new estimate". Switzerland's GDP = $708bn. Bitcoin's net worth (18.6bn units mined x $30k = $558bn). Meanwhile at a rate of 900 new Bitcoins mined per day x 365 days per year x $30k BTC, it will cost the equivalent in electricity used to generate a $708bn GDP economy over the next 12 months to mine approx $9.9bn more BTC wealth. It's like watching someone on a $30k salary pay $2.1m in fuel costs to travel to work and justify it on hyper-ideological "but it's not FIAT petroleum, that's ALL that counts"...

That's how completely ridiculous and insanely wasteful the maths are behind it as an "alternative" to "I don't trust USD". Everyone is so hooked up on punch-drunk levels of "Hopium" of Bitcoin replacing all normal currencies on the one single metric of "but you can't overprint it", they've stopped asking if the overall "big picture" maths actually add up vs real-world economics of what the same energy could otherwise produce on an actual industry (not currency) level...
 
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Gus Fring

Posts: 57   +14
GPU mining is the most incredible waste of resources ever. It’s a waste of cards that could be used by real gamers. It’s damn sure a waste of electricity and it’s a waste of thermal heat going into our atmosphere (unless you use the rig to heat your house?)
God, that non-thermal heat is an even bigger waste too
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,064   +4,165
God, that non-thermal heat is an even bigger waste too

That energy could have been used for other things.

Specifically: content creation/ entertainment.

Furthermore, these mining rigs generate so much heat that you usually need air conditioning just to cool them down. So you end up wasting even more energy...

That same money and energy invested into real, tangible products yields better results.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 126   +140
I mined some zcash 3 or so years back when it was around floating around $400-300 a coin. Made about a grand after all said an done after about a month or more with my 980Ti cards. Took a few days of futzing around with the power state levels to find the best (lowest) power draw for my return. Then when zcash started to drop down around $170-150 it wasn't worth the cost to mine it anymore for me. Zcash is supposed to be ASIC resistant, but I never looked into that aspect of things since I stopped looking into mining.

I don't think zcash is even worth mining anymore.
 
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