Finding the best graphics card at anything approaching reasonable pricing has become increasingly difficult. Just about everything we've tested in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy is sold out unless you go to eBay, but current eBay prices will take your breath away. If you thought things were bad before, they're apparently getting even worse. No doubt, a lot of this is due to the recent uptick in Ethereum mining's profitability on GPUs, compounded by component shortages, and it's not slowing down.
A couple of weeks back, we wrote about Michael Driscoll tracking scalper sales of Zen 3 CPUs. Driscoll also covered other hot ticket items like RTX 30-series GPUs, RDNA2 / Big Navi GPUs, Xbox Series S / X, and PlayStation 5 consoles. Thankfully, he provided the code to his little project, and we've taken the opportunity to run the data (with some additional filtering out of junk 'box/picture only' sales) to see how things are going in the first six weeks of 2021. Here's how things stand for the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards:
That's ... disheartening. Just in the past month, prices have increased anywhere from 10% to 35% on average. The increase is partly due to the recent graphics card tariffs, and as you'd expect, the jump in prices is more pronounced on the lower-priced GPUs.
For example, the RTX 3060 Ti went from average prices of $690 in the first week of January to $920 in the past week. It also represents nearly 3,000 individual sales on eBay, after filtering out junk listings — and these are actual sales, not just items listed on eBay. RTX 3080 saw the next-biggest jump in pricing, going from $1,290 to $1,593 for the same time periods, with 3,400 listings sold.
Nvidia's RTX 3070 represents the largest number of any specific GPU sold, with nearly 5,400 units, but prices have only increased 17% — from $804 in January to $940 in February. The February price is interesting because it's only slightly higher than the RTX 3060 Ti price, which suggests strongly that it's Ethereum miners snapping up most of these cards. (The 3060 Ti hits roughly the same 60MH/s as the 3070 after tuning since they both have the same 8GB of GDDR6 memory.)
Wrapping up Nvidia, the RTX 3090 accounts for 2,291 units sold on eBay, with pricing increasing 14% since January. For the most expensive GPU that already had an extreme price, it's pretty shocking to see it move up from $2,087 to a new average of $2,379. I suppose it really is the heir to the Titan RTX throne now.
We see a similar pattern on the AMD side, but at far lower volumes in terms of units sold. The RX 6900 XT had 334 listings sold, with average pricing moving up just 8% from $1,458 to $1,570 during the past six weeks. Considering it delivers roughly the same mining performance as the less expensive Big Navi GPUs, that makes sense from the Ethereum mining perspective.
Radeon RX 6800 XT prices increased 11% from $1,179 in January to $1,312 in February. It's also the largest number of GPUs sold (on eBay) for Team Red, at 448 graphics cards. Not far behind is the RX 6800 vanilla, with 434 units. It saw the biggest jump in pricing over the same period, from $865 to $1,018 (18%). That strongly correlates with expected profits from GPU mining.
That's both good and bad news. The good news is that gamers are most likely being sensible and refusing to pay these exorbitant markups. The bad news is that as long as mining remains this profitable, stock and pricing of graphics cards isn't likely to recover. It's 2017 all over again, plus the continuing effects of the pandemic.