Amidst China's war against cryptocurrency mining, mining outfits are moving their operations abroad. Some of the not-so-lucky ones are quickly selling off their mining hardware to cut their losses. As a result, China's second-hand market has recently seen a surplus of used AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. We could see a similar trend emerge in the U.S. as the crypto craze wanes, meaning you might soon be able to snag one of the Best GPUs.
According to Hong Kong-based media HKEPC (opens in new tab), Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30-series (Ampere) and AMD's Radeon RX 6000 (Big Navi) graphics cards weren't the only models being offered online. The merchants were also getting rid of SKUs that go all the way back to the Pascal or Polaris days. They weren't nickel-and-dime sales, either; we're talking about minimum orders of a 100 units.
For example, 100 units of the GeForce RTX 3070 sold for $400 each, while orders for the GeForce RTX 3060 and GeForce RTX 3060 Ti started at 200 units and sold for $293 and $370 each, respectively. In times of a global semiconductor shortage, these types of prices look simply amazing. However, keep in mind that these graphics cards were used to mine cryptocurrency, probably shortening their lifespan.
In a more recent investigation, The Block (opens in new tab) discovered that the used graphics cards weren't selling like hotcakes despite the low prices. One particular GeForce RTX 3060 seller was going as low as $270 per graphics card. Another merchant offered GeForce RTX 3060-powered gaming laptops for about $1,000 each.
Surprisingly, a couple of little league mining operations have managed to go under the Chinese government's radar for now. There are some reported Sichuan-based farms that are feeding on the province's hydroelectric power plants. Owners were reportedly offering their facilities for $0.057 per kWh. One supplier even went as far as claiming that the farm is hidden inside one of the hydroelectric power plants.
Graphics cards prices in China have already dropped by up to 45%, and the latest data from Germany and Austria revealed a similar downward trend. We haven't seen the same behavior in the U.S. retail market. Although our eBay GPU pricing index has shown price drops up to 15%, graphics cards are still overpriced. We can only hope that GPU pricing gets more reasonable as time progresses.