The Ethereum Effect: Graphics Card Price Watch (Updated)


Update, 7/14/17, 3pm PT: We’ve added the latest information on GTX 10-series and RX 500-series availability, and we’ve updated the Ether price.

Update, 7/10/17, 12:50pm PT: We’ve added the latest information on GTX 10-series and RX 500-series availability and updated Ether price.

Update, 7/7/17, 3pm PT: We’ve added the latest information on GTX 10-series availability, updated Ether price, new information on upcoming mining hardware, and new information about supply shortage of GPU cores.

Update, 7/6/17, 2pm PT: Latest info on GTX 10-series availability, updated Ether price.

Original article, 7/3/17, 11:50am PT:

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 it has recently been dropping. On July 3, Ether was at $286, but it dropped to $224 by July 10. Ether’s value has continued to decline to $189, as of July 14. This is a drop of roughly $97 in just eleven days, and it could mark the end of the Ethereum gold rush.

Although the price has declined, and the difficulty of extracting Ether has increased, 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.com

Graphics cards are the tool of choice for miners of cryptocurrency, because although you can also use CPUs for the task, GPUs simply perform the task better and more efficiently.

The Price Of Gaming (Or Mining)

The good news for the larger enthusiast community is that it appears that the GPU market has adapted to the GPU shortage. Prices are relatively stagnant and showing minor amounts of deviation. Prices remain high on several GPUs, but more graphics cards are back in stock. You’ll still have a hard time finding any AMD RX 570 or AMD RX 580 graphics cards, though; there are fewer than three models of each in stock on Amazon and Newegg at any given time, but at least they aren’t completely absent from the market. The majority of Nvidia cards are also in stock now, too.

The increased availability shows that the market is slowly recovering from the shortage, but it still seems unlikely to completely abate any time soon. Whereas it’s now possible to buy an AMD RX 580 or RX 570 if you want to, the $500+ price tag is more than double what most of these cards originally retailed for. Similarly, Nvidia’s GTX 1070s also sit close to $500, while GTX 1060 6GB cards range anywhere from $300 to $400.

The above raises the question of why anyone would want to buy these cards at their current prices. The AMD RX 580, AMD RX 570, and Nvidia GTX 1070 currently cost about the same as the Nvidia GTX 1080, which far outperforms them in games.

This may all change with the release of AMD’s upcoming Vega-based GPUs, but we still have a while to wait before that happens. In the meantime, companies continue to bolster their mining product portfolios. EVGA has now joined the likes of Asus, Biostar, Sapphire, and Zotac in developing a GPU targeted specifically at cryptocurrency miners.

We’ve also seen a new mining-focused motherboard from Asrock that can support up to 13 graphics cards. Biostar has a similar board for AM4 CPUs that can support six cards, and , although we haven’t seen it yet, MSI also has a mining GPU coming soon, as well as a motherboard designed for mining. Although these may be attractive to cryptocurrency miners, one source told us that they use the same GPU cores as traditional graphics cards and therefore don’t address the underlying supply problem.

A Supply Shortage At Heart

While investigating the GPU shortage, we were informed by our sources that many OEMs are struggling to receive GPU cores from Nvidia. The sources also pointed out that part of the issue may lie with TSMC, which typically takes orders months in advance and will likely be unable to rush new orders of Nvidia GPUs due to the need to create products for its other customers.

One company also informed us that they do not plan to increase production due to the instability of the market. They are concerned that if they increase production, the market could shift again, leaving them with large stockpiles of GPUs that are no longer in high demand.

EVGA, however, is having an easier time surviving the shortage than other OEMs. It currently offers the least expensive GPU in four categories and has more GPUs in-stock than its competitors. We asked EVGA about the shortage, and were told that the company is not having issues getting GPUs from Nvidia. The company is experiencing extraordinarily high demand for its products, however, so you’ll still see several models of EVGA graphics cards sold out on several retail sites.

Meanwhile, several OEMs, including Asus, Biostar, Sapphire, and Zotac, have announced new mining graphics cards that are tailored for cryptocurrency mining. We have also seen a new motherboard from Asrock that can support up to 13 GPUs for mining. Biostar has a similar board for AM4 CPUs that can support six GPUs. Although we haven’t seen them yet, EVGA and MSI also have mining GPUs coming soon, and MSI will also have a motherboard designed for mining. Although these may be attractive to cryptocurrency miners, one source told us that they use the same GPU cores as traditional graphics cards, and thus don’t address the underlying supply problem.

Soon To End Or Just Getting Started?

Currently, the big question on everyone’s mind is when the GPU shortage will end. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that can be answered at this time. It seems that some manufacturers of graphics cards expect the craze to continue, as they recently began production of specialized cards designed explicitly for mining cryptocurrency. Some of these cards, however, cannot be used for gaming as they lack display ports. Although they 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.

GPUStarting PriceCheapest Available Model
AMD Radeon RX 550$80 Asus Radeon RX 550 2GB GDDR5 ($84.99 On Amazon)
AMD Radeon RX 560$100 PowerColor Radeon RX 560 Red Dragon OC 2GB GDDR5 ($109.99 On Newegg)
AMD Radeon RX 570$170 PowerColor Radeon RX 570 Red Dragon 4GB GDDR5 ($449.99 On Amazon)
AMD Radeon RX 580$230 XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5 ($499.99 On Amazon)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050$110 Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Mini 2GB GDDR5 ($104.99 On Amazon)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti$140 EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gaming 4GB GDDR5 ($144.99 On Newegg)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GBN/A EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming ACX 3.0 3GB GDDR5 ($228.86 On Amazon)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB$250 EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC Gaming ACX 2.0 6GB GDDR5 ($399.99 On Newegg)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070$379 EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 FTW Gaming ACX 3.0 ($459.99 On Amazon)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080$500
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Windforce OC 8GB GDDR5X ($499.99 On Amazon)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti$700 Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Turbo 11GB GDDR5X ($699.99 On Amazon)

MORE: Best Deals

MORE: Best CPUs

MORE: Best Graphics

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
16 comments
    Your comment
  • bit_user
    Anonymous said:

    Thanks for the updates. Especially reaching out to manufacturers for comments.

    BTW, I still think the GTX 1070 MSRP should be made current, as it would better show how much the current prices are inflated.
    2
  • IInuyasha74
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:

    Thanks for the updates. Especially reaching out to manufacturers for comments.

    BTW, I still think the GTX 1070 MSRP should be made current, as it would better show how much the current prices are inflated.


    No problem, glad you enjoy the article. I saw you asked several times in the last comment page for us to do so. We were in the process of talking to them already, but we like to keep these things quiet until we have enough ready to publish so unfortunately I couldn't say anything sooner.

    I thought about doing it for the GTX 1070, but prices never quiet settled on the $350 price. A few dropped down to between $330 and $350, but most remained at $350-$400, so I feel the original MSRP better represents what the card has cost to date. I did adjust the GTX 1080s MSRP to what Nvidia set it at after the GTX 1080 TI launched though, as those certainly have dropped in price. Even through this shortage, they are priced very competitively.
    1
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    BTW, I still think the GTX 1070 MSRP should be made current, as it would better show how much the current prices are inflated.

    MSRPs are what the manufacturers think their products' retail price should be for general market and consumer guidance, not a representation of actual street prices. Manufacturers rarely update MSRPs after launch unless there is a disruptive shift in the competitive landscape forcing them to review their margins.
    0