GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NO LONGER AN ENDANGERED SPECIES ON SHOP SHELVES! MARK WILLIAMS LOOKS AT WHY
Shift’s in crypto mining mean video cards are back on the market for the rest of us
It was a big moment when news broke in early May that Nvidia was once again selling its graphics cards on its own website at the original retail price in the US. Not because selling them online was new, but because it marked an important point where GPUs were suddenly back in stock after months of shortages.
Both Nvidia and AMD have been posting record revenues of late due to the high demand for their products thanks to the crypto mining boom, and while they’ve been gracious and playing down the effect crypto mining has had on these numbers, make no mistake, it is most likely the primary reason. Both however are already forecasting that the next quarter or two will show drastically reduces sales figures. They can already see that the writing is on the wall for the crypto boom.
With the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum markedly lower than the boom peak, and in an eye-squinty way somewhat stabilized at much lower values, buying a new graphics card just to mine on is now almost not worth it.
For context, I built a mid-range mining rig just before the mining peak hit. When the peak came it was mining at around $40 per day but was mostly at around the $25 per day range pre and post peak. Now, the same rig would be lucky to be doing $8 per day. For the amount of electricity it chews through, that’s just about enough to pay for its running costs and not much else.
No wonder new graphics cards aren’t being snapped up. New hardware bought now likely won’t ever pay itself off.
And things will probably continue to get better for gamers and worse for miners. With Ethereum soon to switch from “proof of work” to “proof of stake”, meaning the horsepower you bring to the table doesn’t matter as much anymore. As the most mined cryptocurrency, a drop in how effective your hardware is at mining Ethereum will further lower the rewards.
Then there is the much talked about Bitmain product that is said to be coming very soon. With silicon dedicated to, and designed specifically for mining Ethereum, it should theoretically blow even GPUs out of the water and do to Ethereum what Bitmain did to Bitcoin - start mining so fast the difficulty will ramp up quickly and make even GPUs effectively worthless at mining it.
As reported in Shop Talk, Australia is finally seeing GPU availability coming back to retailers, unfortunately the associated price drops haven’t flowed through just yet, but I suspect it shouldn’t be too much of a wait before that happens.
US price of the AMD RX 580 over time. It’s almost back to normal