Yesterday, we saw yet another graphics card launch characterized by scant stock and disappointed gamers. On top of the pandemic driving a lack of resources that makes supply of the best graphics cards and other electronics scarce, the growth of cryptocurrency mining means gamers also have to fight cryptominers for GPUs. This has brought “frustration” to the folks at Sapphire Technology, according to Edward Crisler, North American PR representative.
During The Tom’s Hardware Show (opens in new tab) on Thursday, Crisler said the graphics card market was made by PC gamers and, thus, graphics cards should go to them, not shoppers looking to cash in on cryptocurrency.
AMD released its latest graphics card yesterday, but, as we easily predicted in our AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT review, the card is already widely unavailable. A quick look at popular online retailers today, like Newegg (opens in new tab) and Best Buy (opens in new tab), results in a river of “OUT OF STOCK” messages. eBay, meanwhile, hosts almost 200 cards over MSRP, with prices as high as $2,700 (opens in new tab)for the reference card. We've been keeping track of where to buy the RX 6800, RX 6900 XT and other RX 6000 series cards too, and the story's the same.
Part of the reason for the scarcity is the resurgence of cryptomining adding more demand to already-pressured supplies. Both cryptominers and PC gamers are going after the latest graphics cards — or, really, any card they can find at a reasonable price. But Crisler was clear that Sapphire wants gamers to buy its Radeon RX 6700 Nitro+, not cryptominers.
“It’s very frustrating to many of us at Sapphire that the cards don’t end up in the hands of gamers. Because we built the card to give somebody a great gaming experience,” he said.
Ed added that many PC gamers today feel abandoned by the graphics card market but argued that that’s not the case.
“It’s not that the market abandoned us. It’s that everything changed, and the market is still trying to figure out how to deal with this,” Crisler said.
We recently saw Nvidia attempt to deal with the crypto-craze for gamers by limiting the hashing abilities of its RTX 3060, only to accidentally break the anti-mining lock on its own. For its part, AMD has said it won’t be limiting its cards’ mining prowess, PC Gamer reported.
Sapphire itself has released some mining-targeted cards in the past, like the RX 570 16GB HDMI Blockchain Graphics Card and RX 470 Nitro Mining Edition. But Crisler doesn’t believe making cryptomining graphics cards is the answer.
“There’s a couple of problems with that. First, you just pulled from the GPUs that are available for gaming cards … Second, when you sell out of the mining cards, they're just gonna go buy the gaming cards,” he said. “So developing a mining-only card isn’t necessarily a great idea because it doesn’t solve the issue for the gamers.”