Gamers Rejoice as Crypto Winter Tanks GPU Prices

Key Takeaways

  • Excessive-end graphics processing models (GPUs) have tanked in worth on the secondary market over the previous six months. 
  • The falling value of Ethereum and its upcoming swap away from Proof-of-Work have contributed to the decreased demand.
  • Rising power prices have additionally harm miner profitability, leading to many miners promoting their graphics playing cards to recoup prices.

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The declining crypto market has brought on costs for graphics playing cards on the secondary market to plummet. 

GPUs Come Again Right down to Earth

Graphics playing cards have gotten extra inexpensive for his or her supposed objective.

Excessive-end graphics processing models (GPUs), popularly used for mining Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies similar to Ethereum, have plummeted in worth on the secondary market over the previous six months. 

Based on accomplished listings information compiled from eBay, the newest fashions from Nvidia’s RTX 3000 collection and AMD’s 6000 collection have seen their costs drop 50% because the begin of the 12 months. In January, an RTX 3060ti, one of the environment friendly consumer-grade playing cards for mining Ethereum, usually set patrons again upwards of $1,000. Now, the identical card trades fingers on eBay for round $492.

Secondary gross sales of different playing cards present comparable tendencies. Nvidia RTX 3070s and AMD RX 6800 XTs have additionally registered over 50% declines in current months. Moreover, extra highly effective playing cards, such because the RTX 3080 and 3090 fashions, present bigger reductions in comparison with their extra mining-efficient counterparts. The RTX 3090, till lately probably the most highly effective card within the RTX collection, has seen probably the most important value drop, beforehand promoting for as much as $2,788 in January, right down to a mean of $1,106 right now. 

RTX 3090 common bought value chart (Supply: eBay)

The upper decline within the costs of the RTX 3080 and 3090 fashions suggests these playing cards could have been promoting at a further premium unconnected to their use in crypto mining. Whereas demand from crypto miners has contributed to graphics card value rises over the previous two years, scalpers profiting from semiconductor provide points attributable to COVID-19 lockdowns are additionally chargeable for much less mining-efficient graphics playing cards buying and selling at exorbitant costs. 

Graphics playing cards are an integral part in private computer systems that convert code into photos that may be displayed on a monitor. Whereas high-end GPUs let avid gamers play fashionable titles in excessive element with superior results, the processors that render these prime quality graphics are additionally efficient in fixing the advanced equations wanted to mine some cryptocurrencies. Because the crypto market roared to new highs in late 2020, demand for graphics card soared. On the peak of mining profitability in 2021, playing cards purchased at major sale retail value may very well be paid off after round three months of Ethereum mining.

Now, falling crypto costs, and thus mining profitability, has offered aid to the GPU market. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin, has persistently been the most well-liked coin to mine utilizing consumer-grade GPUs. Because the begin of the 12 months, Ethereum has nosedived from over $3,600 to simply over $1,000, representing a drop in worth of greater than 70%. 

ETH/USD year-to-date chart (Supply: CoinMarketCap)

Ethereum Merge Slashes GPU Demand

Moreover, Ethereum will quickly swap from a Proof-of-Work to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism in a long-awaited improve dubbed “the Merge.” This can convey an finish to utilizing GPUs to validate the community, changing energy-hungry computations with a greener coin staking mechanism. The swap to staking is estimated to cut back Ethereum’s carbon footprint 100-fold whereas lowering coin emissions by round 90%. 

With the Merge anticipated to happen later this 12 months, many Ethereum miners are slowing down their operations in preparation. Whereas some miners have introduced plans to modify to different cryptocurrencies similar to Ethereum Traditional or use their GPUs for on-demand video rendering post-Merge, there’s no assure these actions will probably be as worthwhile as mining Ethereum—if in any respect. These mining right now will possible be apprehensive about shopping for extra graphics playing cards with an unsure future forward. 

One ultimate challenge contributing to falling GPU costs is the growing value of power globally. The World Financial institution Group’s power value index reveals a 26.3% value enhance between January and April 2022, including to a 50% enhance between January 2020 and December 2021. With power costs surging, extra miners will battle to eke out a revenue—particularly smaller dwelling miners who pay home electrical energy charges. A mix of rising power prices and plummeting crypto costs has possible made it uneconomical for a lot of hobbyists to proceed mining. As those that resolve to unplug their rigs promote their playing cards to recoup prices, pushing lower as a result of enhance in provide. 

Whereas GPU costs have dropped from the jacked-up costs shoppers have come to anticipate over the previous two years, there may very well be scope for them to drop additional. Semiconductor shortages mixed with extreme demand brought on GPU makers to up their retail costs to fall extra in keeping with secondary market gross sales. Nonetheless, the current inflow of used playing cards on marketplaces like eBay has introduced the going price down properly beneath major sale retail costs. If producers like Nvidia and AMD need to proceed promoting new models, they face adjusting their costs to compensate for secondary market provide. This isn’t the primary time producers have been hit—in 2019, Nvidia reported disappointing gross sales of its then-new 2000 collection playing cards, which the corporate blamed on second-hand GPUs flooding the market after the mining growth throughout the 2017 crypto bull run. 

With Ethereum shifting away from Proof-of-Work mining and crypto costs settling right into a bear market, graphics card costs are lastly returning to regular. Nonetheless, if one other Proof-of-Work coin takes off sooner or later, GPUs might as soon as once more grow to be a scorching commodity. 

Disclosure: On the time of penning this piece, the creator owned ETH and several other different cryptocurrencies. 

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