Don't Upgrade Your PC Any Time Soon

Image: Kotaku

If you've got a gaming PC, I hope you like the one you've got. Because upgrading it - or even buying a pre-built one - is going to cost you a veritable fortune right now.

Bitcoins and cryptocurrency mining have been around for years, and it's not like this is the first time thirsty investors have driven the price of PC tech up. But over the last couple of months, the growth in all kinds of cryptocurrencies has resulted in an explosion of interest around mining - as well as the PC hardware required to make it work.

Like graphics cards.

The above comes courtesy of PC Part Picker, and it shows the average price for a NVIDIA GTX 1060 (6GB model) over the last year. For the most part, prices were fairly stable - and then they took off towards the end of the year.

Take the top of the line gaming card, the GTX 1080 Ti. When it first launched, Founders Edition models retailed at a hefty $1099. Those prices dropped a bit once third-party cards came out, and around the middle of last year cards were popping up for closer to $900.

But now, you'll be lucky to get a 1080 Ti for its original MSRP. At the time of writing, ASUS, EVGA, MSI or Gigabyte-branded 1080 Ti boards were selling for $1150 or more. Some overclocked editions were retailing for closer to $1300, while ASUS's crown jewel, the ROG Poseidon 1080 Ti, selling for $1495 at a minimum.

It's insane, and retailers told Kotaku Australia that the situation isn't likely to get better any time soon.

"This crypto stuff is driving up prices like crazy," one vendor, who wished to remain anonymous, said. According to them, prices for some GPUs have risen by as much as 50% in some instances. It's even worse elsewhere, like at Newegg, where overclocked GTX 1070 cards are selling for $1200 or more.

Another representative from a major Australian vendor, who asked to remain anonymous, added that they're expecting prices to continue rising. Gamers end up competing directly with cryptocurrency miners for the same hardware, but it's a difficult position because gamers often only want to buy one or two cards, while miners are buying five, six, sometimes up to ten cards in a single hit.

"The people I feel most for are our customer service representatives," the vendor said. "[The miners'] argument is that what does it matter if we sell 10 to them or 10 to 10 different people, which of course we all know 10 happy gamers is better for the industry than 1 miner acquiring those cards."

And it's not just NVIDIA and AMD gear, either. A shortage in DRAM and NAND shortages has impacted RAM and SSD prices worldwide over the last year, with RAM prices doubling over the last 18 months in some instances.

A chart of average USD prices for DDR4-2400 MHz RAM

One positive is that some retailers have negated the impact on prebuilt PCs by maintaining a separate stock of components. That's of little comfort if you're just looking to upgrade an aging GPU, or you need a quick RAM upgrade. It's especially rough if you were looking to get into PC gaming at all, as prices for second hand cards have soared through the roof too.

Bids for second hand GTX 1060's on eBay have pushed prices beyond $400; some overclocked models are selling for $500 or more

Put simply: if you had dreams of "true" 4K gaming this year, then you'd better win the Lotto. The price-to-performance ratio is completely beyond any realm of sanity right now, and no-one in the industry is expecting it to get better any time soon.


Comments

    ...if you had dreams of "true" 4K gaming this year, then you'd better win the Lotto.

    Why'd you have to go and shatter my dreams like that, Alex? Why?

    :P

    What. The. Fuck. 1070Ti's are around $800 here from PCCG, and they're seriously $1,300 AUD from Newegg?! That's the upper price point 1080Ti's are going for here... Actually those prices make zero sense on Newegg, since a Kingpin 1080Ti is just under $1,550 AUD. Wow, just wow.

    Seriously, I knew the shortage was bad in North America due to crypto, but I didn't realise HOW bad.

    Also, gone are the times of $500 1070's. So glad I bought mine when I did and paid just over $500 AUD for it. I did consider selling it ~6 months ago for a little over $800 AUD when they were crazy expensive on the second hand market for some weird reason & was going to buy a 1080Ti from the states for ~$900 AUD. I kinda feel like I should've at the time.

      Right? Like that first graph is saying that a GTX 1060 6Gb is going to run you somewhere around US$400-425, but you can get decent 3rd party ones here for AU$430-450. Even with the AUD currently, the price gouging on those in the US seems pretty steep.

        Yeah.. Personally I look in Australia first using something like Staticice.com.au for price comparison, but usually Umart, PCCG, PLE, MSY etc are usually going to be the cheapest & have stock. Hell even eBay is very viable when they seems to constantly have 20% off codes going around for tech, makes buying a GPU worthwhile ha.

    In fairness, upgrading your gaming rig to the latest and greatest hardware has never exactly been a cheap endeavor.

      It's not just the latest and greatest. Even buying stuff a year or two old is through the roof now.

    can't wait for that bubble to burst and the second hand cards will flood the market for cheap

      I'd think twice about buying 2nd hand ex-mining cards. Cards that have been non-stop processing, potentially overclocked, for gods-know how long... Bad investment.

        Yeah. This. There is even custom firmware out there for miners to make GPU's run at their max 100% of the time until they burn out.

        all bar one of my cards have been second hand or ex-mining rigs. no duds yet.

          I've spun the chamber 3 times, and haven't shot myself in the head, therefore russian roulette is a good idea...?

          I'm not saying you're guaranteed a dud, but it's not a smart gamble. 1 bad investment immediately undoes any money you saved buying aftermarket.

        They won't go cheap because of second hand dud Miners cards, they will go cheap because AMD and Nvidia will up their production capacities then the bottom will fall out of the market and they will have to sell them cheap to justify the production quantities. But that may be years off yet

    So, is Nvidia charging suppliers more for the cards, or are the suppliers price gouging because they can?

    Someone must be getting rich off this?

      Nvidia/Global Foundries (AMD) may be charging more to the supplier due to them being so exhausted for stock, even though their factories are working at full capacity & it's still not enough, which sucks. But I dare say that suppliers/retailers are charging more because Nvidia has already come out against miners saying they want sales of their GPU's to go to gamers, whether that is just PR, or a legit opinion of theirs, who knows.

    I've had to downgrade due to house space restrictions and increasing family size so the desktop with the 1060 6GB card has to go (replaced with laptop with a 1060 6GB card).

    I've been loathe to get rid of it and go through the hassle of selling the card but fuck it, it may fall in my favour now.

    I've been trying to find a way to put a desk somewhere to set it back up but it's not going to work.

    Of course right when I'm about to be able to finally replace my 6-year old machine, this crap happens. Guess i'll be trying for 7 years (or 8?). I bet the damn thing finally dies right as the prices peak and I'm forced to replace it for top dollar.

      Nothing wrong with looking at the second hand market for a 10 series GPU, the Australian PC Gaming News & Buy/Sell/Trade PC Parts group on Facebook is a good place to look, I often see decent deals going there for 10 series GPU's & DDR4 RAM.

      Overclock the shit out of it, then let it catch on fire and give it a viking funeral.

    Unless I actually needed a new comp, I wouldn't upgrade at this point in the cycle anyway.

    Aren't new nVidia cards coming out q2 this year?

      Only if AMD does something to force their hand I'd think.

      Volta? Just because we have seen the Titan V which sports a Volta GPU doesn't mean we'll be seeing them any time soon, but then again the 1080 did debut in May 2016 & went on sale a week later. So I could see Nvidia holding another special event sometime around then, or maybe waiting until Computex in June. But it's Nvidia, i'm sure they'd rather have the entire spotlight & not have to share it with anyone.

        Look for AMD to release a new card. You can guarantee nVidia will drop a new one then :(

          I don't recall any AMD releases before Nvidia dropped the 1080. Cause the RX400 series came out in June a month after the 1080. The only real time in recent times Nvidia has done that was with the Vega 56/64 release by releasing the 1070Ti as a counter move to stay on top.

    Meh. Just had a deal on amazing, 1080 GTX for $890. You can still get deals. Seriously don't worry about it. Obviously it'll affect your budget for upgrading but market forces are out of our control. The price is the price and if it's too much then it's too much. Wait. Save. Try again in 3-6months.

      Most rabid PC gamers who have a reasonable income will just buy what they want anyway. Unless prices are seriously ridiculous it’s kind of a moot point.

    Between meltdown and crypto, I'm not upgrading anything anytime soon

      You forgot Spectre, that goes with Meltdown :P

        Sound like dodgy sci-fi movie titles :)

    weird i can still walk into any MSY and get a decent price on cards. sometimes shopping online isnt the best choice

    http://www.msy.com.au/Parts/PARTS.pdf

      Exactly. Or more to the point maybe basing an entire article on a single US supplier isn't the best idea.

      Hahaha, MSY are still posting a link to a PDF?

        if it aint broke?

        you can go through the webstore and look at individual items if you like. i just posted a link to a pdf parts list as it shows everything is on doc.

          I mean to be fair it is easier to go through the PDF than the website (although that's more to do with the website's issues than the PDF's merits), but I thought things would have changed since the last time I looked at the site ~5 years ago.

            On another note I remember reading something about MSY being ordered to put a notice on their website ages ago, I'm surprised they haven't changed their tagline since. Leaving it stand as "the name you can trust" just above a notice of "False, misleading and deceptive conduct by MSY Technology, MSY Group and MSY NSW" is hilarious and embarrassing in equal measure.

              either way this is a discussion about PC Component pricing. my point was not to advertise MSY but to simply state that consumers have more options that simply going to newegg.com.

    Definitely noticed the RAM prices when I rebuilt my PC last year, other than the GPU the RAM was the single most expensive part of the build!

      Yep!! I just got done upgrading about a month back. My ram (16 gig ddr4) cost me like $300.

    I thought that mining using GPU's went the way of the dinosaur and the only way you could get any $$$ return was by using ASIC systems like Antminer S9.
    I tried mining on my dual GTX 770's and could get earn $160 from 40 years worth of mining at about 400 Million hashes per second.
    What is the output of the GTX 1080's in MH/s to make them so valuable? They can't be that much faster than a 770, can they?

      From my tiny amount of research I just did, it looks like a GTX1080ti has a hash rate of 35mh/s... so it looks like they're actually significantly faster.

      The cards are for mining coins like Monero and Ethereum, which are ASIC-resistant. Hence the demand for graphics cards.

    I am more surprised that Nvidia or another manufacturer isn't creating a market for crypto-mining optimised processors. Cause Nvidia Graphics cards are full of bloat were designed for gameplay and optomised for things like hair, textures, light sources, game streaming, image capture etc.

      They possibly don't have the capacity without opening a new manufacturing location to do that that & gaming orientated GPU's along with all the deep learning cardsf they do with the Volta GPU's & the Quadro's etc..

    GPU’s are in vogue because many alt-coins are designed to be mined by consumers, they’ve been crafted so low power units like asic devices won’t work effectively.

    An AMD Vega 56 can process between 1800 and 2000 hashes a second of Monero coins on its own.
    A dual Xeon machine with 12 cores (24 threads) tops out around 1000 hashes a second. Even the old venerable gtx 680 belts out around 400 hashes a second for comparison.

    The real solution is to make gpu cards, multi core, with no output ports. Make them so powerful and purpose built only miners would buy them.
    Miners wouldn’t buy normal GPU’s if such things were available.

    Just my 2c

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