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Ethereum Mining Frenzy Leads To German Graphics Card Shortage, Retailer Pulls Cards (Updated)

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.

  • rush21hit
    Meanwhile, at second hand market for people brave enough to gamble and informed enough to venture in, a second hand 970 can be had for as little as $120, I even saw a 290 4gb for 100 a while back. Don't take my word for it, go find out.
    With how vendors build their cards with every intention for it to last as long as it could possibly get, I'd wager that some dude out there still rocking a decade old top tier gpu of its time.
    Reply
  • Embra
    Most used R9 290's are going for $300-400 right now.
    Reply
  • redgarl
    At least, miners are not able to afford High-end and enthusiasm cards.

    My best advice is to jump on small Vega card at the end of the month.
    Reply
  • KD_Gaming
    I've been involved with etherium for quite awhile now and the only real use of it was for companies to use as a ico. Sadly ico is also killing it, which is why etherium has done nothing but drop over the last month and will keep doing so for atleast awhile longer.
    Reply
  • nzalog
    19911165 said:
    At least, miners are not able to afford High-end and enthusiasm cards.

    My best advice is to jump on small Vega card at the end of the month.

    It's not about not being able to afford it or not. It's about which cards are best for mining. A 1080ti and and 1070 get almost the same performance when mining Ether but the 1080ti uses more electricity and is almost twice the price.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    The Geforce 1080 is actually more power efficient than the 1070 when used for gaming.

    Most likely due to being a higher binned chip, along with having less of the cuda cores disabled.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-3293248/gtx-1070-disabled.html

    http://gpuboss.com/gpus/GeForce-GTX-1080-vs-GeForce-GTX-1070


    The reason the 1080 is not used for mining is due to the memory being used on the card GDDR5X is not as fast as regular GDDR5 for mining.

    http://wccftech.com/ethereum-mining-gpu-performance-roundup/

    The charts above explain it best, the profit chart in particular.


    Efficiency is what drives the purchases of those that want to mine.

    Not the overall price.

    If the Geforce 1080ti gave 20% more hashes per second than the 1070 but with only a 10% increase in power then it would also be in short supply as well.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    eth is just not coded properly for GDDR5X.. the coders need to work on that
    Reply
  • xelliz
    19911219 said:
    I've been involved with etherium for quite awhile now and the only real use of it was for companies to use as a ico. Sadly ico is also killing it, which is why etherium has done nothing but drop over the last month and will keep doing so for atleast awhile longer.

    I've noticed that since about Jun 13th it has dropped from $399 to $247. Thats quite a lot. I wonder if it would be worth buying...just wish I had a crystal ball to see its final low point.
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    19911013 said:
    Most used R9 290's are going for $300-400 right now.

    Exactly why I've got my two GTX 970s for sale. Two months ago they were going for $150US on eBay and Craig's List. Now they are selling for $250 plus. Even my old 680s are selling for $125 when two months ago they were no more than $75 GPUs on eBay. Anyone with recent generation GPUs wanting to upgrade need to take full advantage of this. Not everyone are losers in this lunacy!

    19911165 said:
    At least, miners are not able to afford High-end and enthusiasm cards. My best advice is to jump on small Vega card at the end of the month.

    Seriously? At the current state of cryptomining craze you don't think they'll be a rush on Vegas as well?
    Reply
  • nitrium
    Reminds me tulip mania of 1619. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania - something with no inherent value being driven to stratospheric prices. As long as the governments don't accept cryptocurrencies as legal tender, the real "value" of these things is zero. They could make all of these currencies illegal with the stroke of a pen and they will if it starts to compete tangibly with their official fiat currencies.
    If you get out at the right time you could get rich, if not... well, there has to be a bag holder when it falls apart.
    Reply