After some very brief relief around the 2017 holidays, graphics card prices continue on the path of going absolutely insane.
We had a cryptocoin-induced inflation back in late 2013, but it was somewhat mild, and only lasted a couple of months. We had a second inflation in 2017, where the price hikes were higher, and lasted more than half a year. When this ended in December 2017, I thought: “Thank goodness that is over. Nothing could have been as bad as that!”
I was so naive, so wrong.
In short, there is not much we can do about graphics cards prices other than continue to recommend the best graphics cards at each price point. However, we want to be realistic about how bad the situation has gotten.
You see, the value of Ethereum went from ~$300 (Nov 2017) to a peak at ~$1400, and Bitcoin went from ~$7,000 (Nov 2017) to peak at a mind-boggling ~$19,000. That is a ~170% increase for Bitcoin, and a ~360% increase for Ethereum.
For most people, the promise of enormous profits (170%! 360%!!!) is simply irresistible. So that guy with the spiky hair buying 10 cards? Yeah, he would be considered a noob now.
And so here we are… again. And this time the price hikes are so extreme, not even the rich want to buy cards for normal usage — if they can find any for sale in the first place! As the time of writing, most cards have their prices doubled, and some are nearly triple the MSRP. For some closer examinations of exactly how badly the pricing has gotten, check out Chris’ article on GPU pricing here.
Normally when you price an item two- or three-times its original value, no one will buy it. With cryptocurrency values touching the stratosphere, GPU prices no longer have any meaning for miners; they expect to make it all back. Any and all cards with any significant computing power are now being offered with ultra high prices, and getting sold out as soon as they are available.
Values for both Ethereum and Bitcoin turned back down after their huge spike, but they’re still not back down to what they were before November. To reduce GPU price inflation and card-drought, cryptocurrency values probably need to plummet much, much lower. Alternatively, AMD and NVIDIA could crank up GPU production to the point where both miner-demand and gamer-demand are met. Since neither of these scenarios are going to happen any time soon (several months minimum for either), we can expect this gloomy and utterly ridiculous situation to continue for a long time.
For us at Logical Increments, we will continue updating our builds, but the GPU section is guaranteed to be out of stock and overpriced. Because it is against the law to get baseball bats and go around threatening cryptocoin miners with violence, there is simply nothing we can do about this situation.
With all this bad news, do we even want to remind ourselves about Spectre/Meltdown?
…and the year started so nicely, too! *expletive*!