The Crypto Crash is Sinking GPU Prices as Mining Profitability Plummets
Gamers rejoice! While crypto investors look for the bottom to the ongoing meltdown, the cost of graphics cards has steadily decreased amid the ongoing crypto market crash.
"GPU prices dropped 15% in May, and we've seen similar 10-15% drops each month for the past several months," PC news and review website Tom's Hardware reported on Wednesday. "We saw the best graphics cards come back into stock (at retail) as GPU mining profitability has plummeted—and that was before Bitcoin and Ethereum crashed again."
A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a specialized computer chip designed to accelerate graphics rendering. GPUs can simultaneously process many data streams, quickly rendering images and videos, making them useful for gaming. Because of their specialized processing power, GPUs are also a sought-after resource for crypto mining.
GPUs can often consume more energy than the central processing unit (CPU) of the computers in which they're installed.
GPU Prices Plummet Along With Crypto https://t.co/YNVW85Vts3 pic.twitter.com/mvPQek8zcB
— Tom's Hardware (@tomshardware) January 24, 2022
According to the report, an RTX 3080 GPU that once sold for $1,000 now sells for $650 on eBay, and miners who want to start mining cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum today may have to wait two years to break even on their investment.
Compare this to October 2020, when Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards were out of stock everywhere and selling on eBay for $1,227.
The website, which tracks GPU prices month to month, also offers another factor in the decrease in the price of older model GPUs: newer models are launching soon, which will push the current generation of GPUs to the secondary market.
Although Bitcoin miners predominantly use specialized ASIC hardware, other proof-of-work blockchains including Ethereum, Dogecoin, Zcash, and Monero, can be mined using GPU cards.
According to Bloomberg, in 2021, Ethereum miners alone spent over $15 billion on graphics cards.
In an attempt to make its graphics cards less desirable to crypto miners, Nvidia announced the launch of processors designed specifically for mining cryptocurrency, the Nvidia CMP, in February 2021. The company announced that it would limit its GPUs in a bid to make them "less desirable" to miners.
Neither gamble appeared to pay off; miners found workarounds to continue using their preferred GPUs, while revenue from Nvidia's CMP cards plummeted to negligible levels in 2022.
When Ethereum transitions to a proof-of-stake algorithm with this year's planned Merge, many in the Ethereum community hope that this new era for Ethereum will be much more eco-friendly—and further dampen demand for graphics cards.
Once the conversion takes place, Ethereum miners will have to find other blockchains to mine for a profit.
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