James Archer RANTS

Computer Shopper - - RANTS & RAVES -

BE­SIDES GIGGLING AT the con­cept of Do­ge­coin, I’ve never re­ally been into crypto-cur­ren­cies. If I’ve ever shopped some­where that ac­cepted them, I didn’t no­tice, and the dec­la­ra­tions of its most ar­dent users (bit­coin ad­vo­cates in par­tic­u­lar) that de­cen­tralised dig­i­tal money would righ­teously smite fiat cur­rency have re­peat­edly and pre­dictably proven wrong.

Nonethe­less, I’ve al­ways been happy for them to ex­ist; if we never looked into new ways of pay­ing for things, you might have pur­chased this magazine with an of­fer of tim­ber and spices.

Now, how­ever, a resur­gence in GPU-led crypto-coin min­ing has caused an short­age of graph­ics cards. As a PC gam­ing nerd (and some­one who pro­duces buy­ing guides for these things), it feels as if the dig­i­tal cur­rency phe­nom­e­non is muscling in on my turf. For the un­fa­mil­iar, bit­coins, lite­coins and the like can be ‘mined’ by PCs per­form­ing the com­pli­cated trans­ac­tional pro­cesses that are re­quired by the cur­rency to func­tion; in ef­fect, you lend your hard­ware to this mass ac­count­ing ef­fort, and are re­warded with frac­tions of coins, with more pow­er­ful sys­tems able to crunch the num­bers faster and thus earn more fre­quent pay­outs. It just so hap­pens that AMD Radeon GPUs are par­tic­u­larly ef­fi­cient at this, so en­thu­si­as­tic min­ers are buy­ing them all up to cre­ate mighty liq­uid-cooled set­ups with rows of cards. As a re­sult, re­cent mod­els such as the RX 580, RX 570 and RX 480 are ei­ther nigh-im­pos­si­ble to buy new, or be­ing sold sec­ond­hand at in­flated prices; an eBay search shows some RX 480s go­ing for up to £330, £100 more than a brand-new card cost at launch. To me, this is sad­den­ing, and not just be­cause the short­age has messed with some of my re­view sam­ple sourc­ing. These cards’ true homes are in gam­ing PCs, where they can help bring joy and ex­cite­ment – in­stead, they’ve all been kid­napped and put to hard labour as part of some get-rich-slow scheme. And not even an imag­i­nary coin with a smil­ing Shiba Inu on it can cheer me up about that.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.