The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card you’ve been after to complete your “Extreme Gaming PC” build is still in short supply but finally getting slightly cheaper. That’s thanks to a drop in crypto mining participation as the value of Bitcoin and other blockchain currencies plummet ahead of what some analysts are calling a new “crypto winter.” Sounds bad for the server farms cooking the planet for short-term gains, but good for anyone looking to play Starfield on ultra settings later this year.
As CNBC reported yesterday, Bitcoin and Ethereum are both down nearly 50% from their peaks just a few months ago. Whether you think it’s just a cooling-off period, a long-overdue market correction, or a “death cross” omen of bad days ahead for crypto, the shift is already manifesting as modest price movement in the supply-constrained world of PC gaming.
Tom’s Hardware recently did a quick survey of graphics card reseller prices on eBay, and found that the prices of most popular models have started to come down from their peak a month ago. In a few cases, the prices have even dropped by double digits. A 4.5 per cent discount on a RTX 3080 Ti might not sound like a lot, but given how expensive the cards are to begin with it comes out to be nearly $US100 ($139) cheaper than it was just a month ago. RTX 3080 10GB cards apparently saw an even more impressive drop, dropping from $US1,804 ($2,504) down to $US1,595 ($2,214).
While Nvidia GPU supplies are supposed to improve in the second half of 2022, Intel said last fall that overall shortages, and thus inflated prices, could continue well into 2023. Outsized demand, meanwhile, has been driven in part by recent booms in the crypto mining market. At the same time GPUs became scarcer during the pandemic, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other assets reached unprecedented new heights, leading to windfalls for those with the computing capacity to service the blockchain.
But at least on the crypto -side, the tide finally seems to be turning in favour of cheaper graphics cards. Things started moving in that direction last month after Fed Chair Jerome Powell teased interest rate hikes. In addition to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, meme stocks like GameStop and AMC are also crumbling. Hopefully, more affordable PC gaming doesn’t end up coming at the cost of another economic recession.