Inside The Ethereum Craze's Effect On Graphics Card Prices

The recent resurgence of cryptocurrency and the growing popularity of Ethereum has led to a massive shortage in the GPU market. Prices are oscillating wildly, and dozens of graphics card models are sold out. In short, the mining craze is wreaking havoc on the graphics card market. Below, we’ve begun tracking pricing and availability for the volatile graphics card market.

About Ethereum Mining

Ethereum, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, is largely responsible for the sudden shortage of GPUs.The price of Ethereum has grown slowly over the last couple of years, and it really took off at the beginning of 2017. The price of Ether climbed from roughly $10 in January 2017 to $50 in March. It eventually peaked at close to $400 in June, but has since fallen to around $286, as of July 3. Although the price has declined somewhat, thousands of people have rushed to take part in harnessing Ether in the hope of selling it later for a huge profit.

Image Credit: Coinmarketcap.comImage Credit: Coinmarketcap.comThe reason the GPU market has been affected so strongly is because GPUs are the tool of choice for miners of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency miners can also use CPUs to mine cryptocurrency, but GPUs simply perform the task better and more efficiently.

The Price Of Gaming (Or Mining)

Currently, the low end of the GPU market has not been affected by the GPU shortage. These GPUs are less powerful and not ideal for mining cryptocurrency. This has left the price of AMD’s Radeon RX 550 and 560, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti, sitting relatively close to their MSRPs.

Mid-range GPUs such as AMD’s Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 as well as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 have been hit hard, however, and are almost entirely sold out. A handful of Radeon RX 570s remain available at steeply inflated prices, whereas the Radeon RX 580 is nowhere to be found.

A few models of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 with 3GB of vRAM remain available at close to their original prices. The 6GB models are few and far between, with the least expensive 6GB GTX 1060 selling for close to double the card’s MSRP.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 has been hit hardest by the current shortage. The least expensive GeForce GTX 1070s sold for around $330 prior to the shortage, but now you can expect to pay at least $459 for those same cards. Over the last week, we’ve seen a few GeForce GTX 1070s dip below this price, only to swiftly sell out.

So far Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 has not been affected by the GPU shortage, and the price on GTX 1080 graphics cards has remained relatively stagnant. This makes the GeForce GTX 1080 a better option than the GeForce GTX 1070 for anyone that plans to buy a high-end GPU. It’s significantly faster than the GeForce GTX 1070 and, despite the GPU shortage, it can be had for as little as $473.

Soon To End Or Just Getting Started?

Currently, the big question on everyone’s mind is when will the GPU shortage end. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that can be answered at this time. It seems that some manufacturers of graphics cards expect the cryptocurrency craze to continue, as they recently began production of specialized cards designed explicitly for mining cryptocurrency. These cards, however, cannot be used for gaming. While these cards may be able to ease the GPU shortage slightly, they likely won't have a significant impact.  Overall, the shortage will likely continue until interest in mining cryptocurrency declines.

GPU

MSRP/Starting Price

Current Least Expensive Model In Stock

AMD Radeon RX 550

$80

AMD Radeon RX 560

$100

AMD Radeon RX 570

$170

AMD Radeon RX 580

$230

Sold Out On Amazon, BestBuy, And Newegg

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050

$110

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

$140

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB

N/A

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB

$250

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070

$379

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

$700

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

$700

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