Update, 7/10/17, 8:10am PT: MindFactory told us that, in addition to pulling graphics cards from its shelves, it also canceled existing orders. "We had to cancel a lot of orders because of cards we can not get anymore," the company said in an email to Tom's Hardware. MindFactory customers were informed of the cancellation via email.
Original article: 7/7/17, 11:00am PT:
Cryptocurrency mining has led to a shortage of graphics cards among many retailers in the U.S. Now, it seems the problem is starting to affect companies across the pond: MindFactory, a German retailer, has removed many AMD and Nvidia graphics cards from its virtual shelves. The company confirmed in an email to Tom's Hardware that it had to stop selling the products because it can't get its hands on more graphics cards.
That doesn't come as much of a surprise. In the last few weeks, U.S. retailers have raised the prices of their Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards to around $500, which is how much the more powerful GTX 1080 usually costs. Graphics cards built around AMD's GPUs have also seen price increases--assuming you can find any, because many sellers have been sold out since we started tracking this increasingly worrisome trend.
The problem lies with the growing popularity of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency whose price has risen to historic highs over the last few months. This has led many people to purchase graphics cards to mine Ether. It's kind of like a gold rush: Everyone's scrambling to get the tools they need to get rich quick (or at least attempt to do so), and that means you can't find a shovel, pickax, or bucket that doesn't cost far more than it usually would.
Just replace "shovel, pickax, or bucket" with "graphics card," and you have the gist of what cryptocurrency mining has done to the market. Of course, this has also led companies to create new shovels... er, graphics cards made specifically for mining. These cards often have fewer display ports, smaller sizes, and cooling systems that are all designed to help miners build rigs capable of earning a mess of Ether before its price falls.
But that hasn't been enough to make a meaningful difference in the graphics card market; mid-range cards are still sold out or are going for elevated prices. If MindFactory is any indicator, we might soon see retailers pull the products from their shelves entirely. There's just no sense in listing products that you won't be able to sell for who-knows-how-long. Here's what MindFactory said in its email to Tom's Hardware:
Dear Customer,Thank you for your request.In fact we ordered the GPU`s but because of the high demand on the RX and GTX graphic cards which is related to BitCoin farming the manufacturer can not give us a delivery date. We expect a delivery time of at least 3 months.This shortage affects the whole of Germany, maybe even whole Europe. I do not have Information on new products that did not hit our shop yet.
AMD and Nvidia have not responded to repeated requests for comment on the graphics card / GPU shortage, but if retailers are starting to pull products from their shelves instead of merely raising their prices or saying they're sold out, chances are good that we won't see the end of this shortage in the near future. We'll continue to keep an eye on the market to see how retailers and manufacturers respond to the issue.