The surge in popularity of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in recent month has made mining far more lucrative. The demand for high end hardware and graphics cards has caused manufacturers such as Nvidia to change their stance on who should be buying their products.
Gamers, like miners, need decent graphics cards and they are becoming scarce. Supply and demand dictates market prices and graphics cards are going up. Tech news outlet Motherboard reported that the shortage in graphics cards is directly linked to the soaring prices of cryptocurrencies.
Graphics giant Nvidia is aware of this and recently recommended that retailers prioritize gamers over miners. In an interview with German hardware website ComputerBase last week Nvidia spokesman Boris Böhles said;
“All of our activities around our GeForce-products are directed towards our main target group. To ensure GeForce-Gamers continuously have access to GeForce-graphic cards even in the current situation, we recommend our trading partners to take according measures to ensure they can provide the needs of gamers per usual.”
Retailers have been limiting purchases of GPUs to one or two per customer. Many high end gaming PCs have two GPU slots for cards to run in tandem which yields greater performance. So it is not uncommon for gaming enthusiasts to purchase more than one graphics card at a time.
Mining rigs on the other hand run multiple cards in parallel configurations to harness the computing power to crunch those transaction numbers and add to the blockchain. According to analysts Ethereum is the driving force for mining at the moment;
“We single out ethereum as the overwhelming driving force for GPU demand given its larger size (market cap) and higher mind share relative to other coins,”
CNBC reported that computer hardware retailers including Newegg, Best Buy and Amazon are sold out of most AMD RX 570/RX 580 and Nvidia GTX 1070/1080 graphics cards. Third party sellers have been inflating prices to profit on the huge demand for them much to the chagrin of gamers who are looking to upgrade their machines.
Nvidia obviously need to support their core customer base but are struggling to keep up with demand from miners. If production is ramped up but the crypto market collapses the company could be left stranded with a lot of excess stock which ages quickly in this high tech market.