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article imageCryptocurrency driving boom in graphics card sales

By Tim Sandle     Jan 28, 2018 in Technology
The current crypto-cash boom has led to a graphics card rationing, due to a spike in sales triggering a drop in supply and a hike in prices.
The reason, according to PC Gamer magazine, is because good quality graphics cards speed up the process of minting or "mining" crypto-coins, thereby making them popular with those trading in or developing cryptocurrencies.
This is not a one-off activity, either since serious currency miners are purchasing graphics cards in big quantities to run in parallel in order to boost their coin-producing efforts. Cryptocurrency mining requires immense computational power, and miners have figured out that the chips in many high-end graphics cards are well-suited to the task.
In the magazine article, Jarred Walton writes: "Right now is the worst time in the history of graphics cards to buy or upgrade this all-important gaming component."
As an example, with Nvidia, Walton notes how the GTX 1080 Ti 11GB, priced at $699 on release in 2017 and dropping to $650 later in the year has now sold out across all vendors. Previously owned cards are currently selling for $1,300 or higher.
Also noting the trend, Ben Hardwidge, editor of magazine Custom PC is quoted by ARS Technica as saying: "The crypto-currency boom has had a dramatic effect on the cost and supply of some PC gaming graphics cards."
Analysis by the BBC notes how some manufacturers of graphics cards have put in place measures that prevent how many graphics cards a single purchaser is permitted to buy at any one time. For example, Nvidia has requested that vendors who sell its hardware put in place measures to vet buyers so cards end up in the hands of gamers instead of crypto-coin enthusiasts. This is supported by Polygon, which notes how retailer Micro Center is only prioritizing graphics card sales to people who are building (or have recently built) a gaming computer.
More about cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, Graphics card