You think Bitcoin miners are hurting these days? Ask PC gamers how they’re feeling!
Buying in Bulk
PC gaming enthusiasts looking to purchase top-tier GPUs to power their 4K and high frame-rate gaming experiences are quickly finding their dollars don’t quite stretch as far as they once did. GPU prices have skyrocketed well above their manufacturer’s suggested retail price — and it’s all thanks to cryptocurrency mining.
Mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is an incredibly taxing process, with increasingly complex computations needed to successfully mine one single block of Bitcoin, the dominant cryptocurrency. Thus, miners have long been turning to top-of-the-line gaming GPUs to help them meet their needs.
To capitalize on the demand for increasingly scarce GPUs, however, vendors are selling GPUs in bundles – sold at a premium – and PC cases are being made to house upwards of 19 graphics cards.
GPUs Cost How Much?!
Regardless of which graphics card you’re looking to purchase for either gaming or mining, you can bet your Bitcoin it’s going to be marked up. As noted by Gamespot:
A 6GB GTX 1060 six-pack (Founder’s Edition or EVGA) is going for $3,780, while a pack of MSI Aero ITX OC GTX 1060 cards is listed for $3,465. The high-end GTX 1080 has a six-pack is priced at $6,300 as well–the GTX 1080 Ti is nowhere to be found, though. On the AMD side, the OEM 4GB RX 580 six-pack is at $3,600, and the MSI Armor 8GB RX 580 bundle is going for $3,990. Even bundles for the RX 570 are marked up as high as the slightly faster RX 580.
Even for those wealthy enough to buy six high-end cards in one go, buying your GPUs in bulk barely carries any economic benefit. Even when bundled in a pack of six, the GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition costs $1,050 per card — which is nearly double the MSRP of $550 per card.
For miners, however, buying six-packs of graphics cards isn’t so much about getting a good deal as it is securing bulk orders on a typically limited product. Normally, the scarcity of graphics cards causes retailers to limit the amount which can be purchased by one customer — bundles from vendors help circumvent that miners-only issue.
Note to self: Massive GPU shortages + price gouging of 2-3X list prices good sign foretelling strong results. Both $NVDA and $AMD with big beat and raise quarters this earnings season https://t.co/FliNanV6nn pic.twitter.com/oKCBm8Nwaj
— 📉Tae Kim (@firstadopter) February 8, 2018
Interestingly, strict pricing guidelines prevent many companies from raising the price of their pre-built PCs, so it’s actually more economically feasible to buy a pre-built rig, remove the GPU, and then sell the rest of the parts for cash. As noted by Gamespot, a GTX 1080 costs about $1050, but an Alienware Aurora PC with the exact same graphics card costs $1260 after a promotional discount.
Of course, a standard PC case isn’t really made to accommodate family-sized bundles of video cards. Thus, manufacturers are now creating open-air cases capable of housing upwards of 19 video cards. (How many frames per second do you think 19 GTX 1080s can push?)
With that level of price gouging, the PC master race might actually turn to consoles!
What do you think of the rapidly rising cost of GPUs? Are you a PC gamer who’s feeling the burn, or do you mine crypto to cover the costs? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Amazon