Increased demand, primarily from cryptocurrency miners, have made it — to put it simply — a terrible time to buy a graphics card.
With demand for cryptocurrency mining equipment surging in late 2017 as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies appreciated in price, the cost of purchasing graphics cards has risen at an incredible speed.
Despite the recent downturn in cryptocurrency values, PC gaming enthusiasts believe that the price of graphics hardware is likely to continue to increase.
Analysis from PC Gamer shows that the price of graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, the two top manufacturers of PC graphics hardware, has risen rapidly over the past month, particularly in the last two weeks.
Range leading cards such as the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti 11GB, which sells at a suggested retail price of $699, have see the biggest surges. The card, which is currently sold out when bought directly from Nvidia, is available on Amazon and Newegg for an astounding $1,300.
The lower-spec GTX 1070 Ti, another popular card with gamers and cryptocurrency miners, is officially priced at $449 but currently sells on marketplaces such as Amazon for anywhere from $765 to $900.
Lower-end Nvidia cards have also been subject to price increases, primarily from third parties selling them to cryptocurrency miners. The GTX 1050 Ti, a budget-focused card, is priced at a reasonable $139 at retail but currently sells for $180 to $249.
AMD cards have also risen in price, with the RX Vega 64 priced at $499 at retail but currently selling for upwards of $700. The AMD RX 580 8GB, which is intended for sale at a $239 retail price, is currently priced at $530 on popular computer parts website Newegg.
It’s important to understand that the current trend of price increases isn’t caused by Nvidia or AMD, but by third parties reselling their hardware.
In fact, industry-leading graphics card manufacturer Nvidia has spoken out against the rising prices, noting that the company wasn’t happy with the rising prices its customers were being forced to pay for hardware.
In a statement, Nvidia requested that retailers limit the maximum number of GPU sales to two per person in an attempt to limit the upwards pricing effects of cryptocurrency mining. Nvidia’s team also reinforced that “gamers come first” for the company.
Nvidia and other manufacturers have no legal power to enforce a two GPU per customer limit, making the company’s statement more of a suggestion than requirement. In response, Nvidia has reportedly increased its focus on prioritizing the direct sale of its products to end users.
PC hardware enthusiasts have long speculated that Nvidia and AMD would potentially launch specialized cryptocurrency mining cards in attempt to ease price pressure — rumors that have so far yet to amount to any product releases.
For gamers, the unfortunate reality is that it may be several months before GPU prices return to more manageable levels — months in which they’ll be forced to overspend or choose less costly graphics hardware for their PC gaming.