The Ethereum Effect: Graphics Card Price Watch (Updated)

Update, 12/7/17, 9:45am PT: The price of Ethereum has fluctuated wildly since our original piece and updates were published; meanwhile, the price of GPUs has done the same. We've updated this article substantially from the original to reflect current market trends.

What was possibly the worst GPU shortage in history has finally ended, but we might be about to face another one. As Ethereum once again gallops into the news, we examine the current market conditions in an attempt to determine if another shortage is possible, and also to find the best prices on GPUs.

The Price Of Ethereum

Following the Ethereum gold rush that saw the popular cryptocurrency peak at around $400 in June, Ethereum has had a rather shaky and unpredictable year. The cryptocurrency dropped to around $150 on July 16, climbed back to around $389 on September 1, and then rapidly dropped again to about $221 on September 15. Over the last few months, Ethereum’s value grew slowly until about a week ago, when it jumped to $493 on November 27. It is currently down to $436 at the time of publication, but could begin to rise again at any moment.

The Price Of Gaming (Or Mining)

With cryptocurrency mining making yet another come back, many in the PC industry will likely be concerned about a substantial GPU shortage like the one we observed this summer. But a serious shortage seems unlikely at this time.

One of the key factors that caused the GPU shortage this summer was an inadequate supply of parts from AMD, Nvidia, and their various OEM board partners. It is key to know here that these companies typically need to place orders for GPU cores months in advance with the fabs that produce them. When it was time for AMD and Nvidia to place GPU orders for summer 2017, it was impossible for these companies to predict with any degree of certainty that cryptocurrency mining would again flourish.

As cryptocurrency miners proceeded to deplete the OEMs' existing inventory, the companies were unable to respond to the increased demand in a timely fashion. The aforementioned fabs take orders from several companies, not just AMD and Nvidia, which prevented the GPU developers from expediently increasing production.

Months later, although the two companies are still unable to rapidly increase production if needed, they did increase production in the second half of 2017. This won’t eliminate the possibility of a shortage, but it will reduce the chance that one will occur.

Although there will certainly be some people eager to join the mining game, the number of new cryptocurrency miners buying up GPUs should be significantly lower than we observed this summer. Many interested in cryptocurrency mining likely already have their mining equipment from earlier this year.

The GPU market hasn’t changed much since the shortage this summer. AMD released Vega, and Nvidia released its GTX 1070 Ti, but these new GPUs don’t push the performance envelope forward. The GTX 1080 Ti is still the fastest single consumer GPU, and Nvidia’s GTX 1070 and GTX 1060 GPUs are still highly capable of mining Ethereum. The same goes for AMD Polaris GPUs. As a result, there isn’t much reason for miners to replace or upgrade their existing equipment.

As it stands now, GPU prices have not shown significant changes in price over the last couple of weeks. A few OEMs have reported a recent increase in sales, but they did not go into detail about exactly how large of an increase occurred. If you have been considering a GPU upgrade, now may be the best time to do it, just in case prices do start to climb.

Will there be a shortage?

A shortage may be unlikely at this time, but as Ethereum continues to grow in popularity and value, gamers and system builders should still keep their minds open to that possibility. Hopefully AMD and Nvidia have increased production sufficiently to avoid a shortage, but as we have learned in the past, the demand for GPUs can be highly unpredictable when cryptocurrency mining is on the rise. Keep watching here for more updates as the situation evolves.

GPU

Starting Price

Current Price

AMD Radeon RX 550

$80

Asus Radeon RX 550 2GB GDDR5 ($84.99 On Amazon)

Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 Gaming OC 2GB GDDR5 ($89.99 On Amazon)

MSI Radeon RX 550 LP OC 2GB GDDR5 ($109.00 On Amazon)

PowerColor Radeon RX 550 Red Dragon OC 2GB GDDR5 ($89.99 On Newegg)

Sapphire RX 550 Pulse 2GB GDDR5 ($89.99 On Amazon)

XFX Radeon RX 550 P2SFG5 2GB GDDR5 ($89.99 On Newegg)

AMD Radeon RX 560

$100

Asus Radeon RX 560 Evo OC Edition 4GB ($129.99 On Amazon)

MSI Radeon RX 560 Aero 4GB GDDR5 ($139.99 On Newegg)

PowerColor Radeon RX 560 Red Dragon 4GB GDDR5 ($124.99 On Newegg)

Sapphire Radeon RX 560 Pulse 2GB GDDR5 ($109.99 On Amazon)

VisionTek Radeon RX 560 900962 2GB GDDR5 ($119.00 On Newegg)

AMD Radeon RX 570

$170

Biostar Radeon RX 570 4GB (GDDR5) ($249.99 On Amazon)

Gigabyte Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB GDDR5 ($259.99 On Amazon)

MSI Radeon RX 570 Gaming X 4GB GDDR5 ($229.99 On Newegg)

PowerColor Radeon RX 570 Red Devil 4GB GDDR5 ($289.99 On Newegg)

Sapphire Radeon RX 570 Pulse Mini ($279.99 On Amazon)

XFX RX 570 RS XXX Edition OC+ 4GB GDDR5 ($309.99 On Newegg)

AMD Radeon RX 580

$230

Asus RX 580 Dual OC 4G (US$259.99 On Amazon)

Biostar Radeon RX 580 Gaming 4GB GDDR5 ($269.90 On Amazon)

Gigabyte Radeon RX 580 Gaming 4GB GDDR5 ($239.99 On Newegg)

MSI Radeon RX 580 Armor OC 4GB GDDR5 ($249.99 On Newegg)

PowerColor Radeon RX 580 Red Dragon 4GB GDDR5 ($259.99 On Newegg)

Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Pulse 4GB GDDR5 ($269.99 On Newegg)

VisionTek Radeon RX 580 Overclocked Edition 8GB GDDR5 ($359.99 On Newegg)

XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 4GB GDDR5 ($259.99 On Amazon)

AMD Vega 56

$400

All Sold Out

AMD Vega 64

$500

XFX Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB HBM2 ($699.99 On Newegg)

XFX Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooling 8GB HBM2 ($799.99 On Newegg)

Nvidia GeForce GT 1030

$70

Asus GeForce GT 1030 CSM 2GB GDDR5 ($66.99 On Newegg)

EVGA GeForce GT 1030 SC Passive 2GB GDDR5 ($84.99 On Amazon)

Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 Silent Low Profile 2GB GDDR5 ($69.99 On Amazon)

MSI GeForce GT 1030 2G LP OC 2GB GDDR5 ($69.99 On Newegg)

PNY GeForce GT 1030 2GB GDDR5 ($79.99 On Amazon)

Zotac GeForce GT 1030 Low Profile 2GB GDDR5 ($69.99 On Amazon)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050

$110

Asus GeForce GTX 1050 Phoenix Fan Edition 2GB GDDR5 ($114.89 On Amazon)

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Gaming 2GB GDDR5 ($114.99 On Newegg)

Gigabyte GeForce OC Low-Profile GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 ($125.10 On Amazon)

MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Gaming OC 2GB GDDR5 ($109.99 On Newegg)

PNY GeForce GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 ($115.46 On Amazon)

Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Mini 2GB GDDR5 ($104.99 On Amazon)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

$140

Asus GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Phoenix Fan Edition 4GB GDDR5 ($144.99 On Newegg)

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti FTW Gaming ACX 3.0 4GB GDDR5 ($184.99 On Newegg)

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC 4GB GDDR5 ($159.99 On Newegg)

Inno3D GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GDDR5 ($178.00 On Amazon)

MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GT OC ($154.99 On Newegg)

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Kalmx 4GB GDDR5 ($181.00 On Amazon)

Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mini 4GB GDDR5 ($148.68 On Amazon)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Phoenix Fan Edition 3GB GDDR5 ($214.99 On Newegg)

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC Gaming 3GB GDDR5 ($229.99 On Newegg)

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 Mini ITX OC 3GB GDDR5 ($229.99 On Newegg)

Inno3D GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5 ($229.00 On Amazon)

MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming 3GB GDDR5 ($217.76 On Amazon)

PNY GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5 ($229.90 On Amazon)

Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 Mini 3GB GDDR5 ($219.99 On Amazon)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB

$250

Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo 6GB GDDR5 ($299.99 On Newegg)

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming ACX 2.0 6GB GDDR5 ($259.99 On Amazon)

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 Windforce OC 6G 6GB GDDR5 ($279.99 On Newegg)

MSI GeForce GTX 1060 OCV1 6GB GDDR5 ($269.99 On Newegg)

PNY GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 ($269.99 On Amazon)

Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 Mini 6GB GDDR5 ($267.89 On Amazon)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070

$379

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 Black Edition 8GB GDDR5 ($439.99 On Newegg)

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Windforce OC 8GB GDDR5 ($439.99 On Newegg)

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Armor OC 8GB GDDR5 ($459.66 On Amazon)

Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 AMP Core Edition 8GB GDDR5 ($449.99 On Newegg)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

$450

Asus ROG GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Strix Gaming 8GB GDDR5 ($469.99 On Amazon)

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Gaming 8GB GDDR5 ($489.99 On Amazon)

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Windforce 2 8GB GDDR5 ($449.99 On Newegg)

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Aero 8GB GDDR5 ($449.99 On Amazon)

PNY GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB GDDR5 ($459.99 On Newegg)

Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Mini 8GB GDDR5 ($449.99 On Newegg)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

$500

Asus GeForce GTX 1080 Turbo 8GB GDDR5X ($509.99 On Newegg)

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 8GB GDDR5X ($539.99 On Amazon)

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 D5X 8GB GDDR5X ($529.99 On Newegg)

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Aero OC 8GB GDDR5X ($509.99 On Amazon)

PNY GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X ($569.99 On Amazon)

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X ($519.99 On Amazon)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

$700

Asus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Turbo Edition 11GB GDDR5X ($709.99 On Amazon)

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Black Edition 11GB GDDR5X ($729.99 On Newegg)

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Turbo 11GB GDDR5X ($726.69 On Amazon)

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Duke OC 11GB GDDR5X ($744.99 On Newegg)

PNY GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Blower Edition 11GB GDDR5X ($709.99 On Newegg)

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini 11GB GDDR5X ($749.99 On Newegg)


MORE: Best Deals

MORE: Best CPUs

MORE: Best Graphics

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject
45 comments
Comment from the forums
    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.
    3
  • 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.
    0
  • 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