If you are currently pricing items up, scouring the internet for the best deals on new parts and finding your shopping list coming up short. You are probably in the same boat as everyone else looking to build, upgrade or just outright buy a new PC. Besides from about 5-6 years ago during the release of the Nvidia 1000 series graphics cards, we have never experienced a shortage in graphics card availability like we do today.
If you search for just about any graphics card online you will most likely be met with "out of stock" or "pre-order" with very few limited cards available to buy online. This doesn't just affect the newest cards either, even last generation cards are mostly out of stock, and the cards you can find in stock are generally priced way over their retail value.
Let's look at one example of an RX 580 8GB in July/August of last year these cards could be bought for around £145. They made a great value 1080p 60FPS+ investment into a new budget/entry level gaming PC. Looking at the prices today we have seem them to be in the region of £220, the industry currently sets pricing in the way that most industries tend to do, they price by demand. Now, most people are buying whatever they can to make sure they can use their new systems, which may be an RX 580 just to bridge a gap until they can get their hands on a new RX 6800 XT or an RTX 3070.
So, why can't the factories just produce more cards? Well according to sources from Nvidia and AMD they are manufacturing cards as fast as they possibly can. Nvidia claims to be producing twice as many cards during the launch of their 3000 series cards as they during their 2000 series launch. So then why are we seeing this slow trickle of graphics cards hitting stores?
Well the shortage is thought to mainly be down to data miners. Currently Crypto Currency such as Bitcoin is sitting at its highest value ever, around $40,000 per 1 Bitcoin. What does that have to do with graphics cards? Well these data miners use multiple graphics cards in a rig to mine, this photo emerged online recently of one setup with space for around 78 RTX 3080 graphics cards.
Looking at this photo it starts to make you think, this is just one setup of many in the whole world. This looks to be the reason why normal consumers are struggling to get graphics cards, and according to sources from AMD and Nvidia, the current shortage is expected to last until the end of their first fiscal quarters of this year. That means we may not see a healthy stock of available graphics cards until after April!
Another problem that comes with this shortage and price increase is opportunists. People are buying up cards from stores to then sell on for a profit, people like this are usually referred to as scalpers. We would always recommend not to buy from an unknown source, always try to buy your new components from a reputable retailer, this way you know you have some protection in the event the item is faulty.
What do you think of these Bitcoin miners? Have you been affected by the shortage or price increase? Let us know below in the comments.