NVIDIA’s miners have been in low supply as of late as cryptocurrency mining operations are snatching up any GPU they can find. NVIDIA has stated their intent to meet the current market demand.
When Bitcoin was first released, it was possible for anyone to mine on the network and make a bit of a profit. But once ASICs hit the scene, that dream was over. ASICs are hundreds of times more efficient at performing the calculations needed for mining. Some altcoins tout ASIC resistance as a key feature, meaning that people can mine on those networks with consumer-grade hardware. However, since the altcoin boom at the beginning of 2017, it has been very profitable to mine these ASIC-resistant coins.
The same piece of hardware sought after by gamers looking for extra power in their gaming rig can be used to mine cryptocurrencies such as Monero and Ethereum, along with dozens of others. This demand led to a massive shortage in GPUs that could be felt worldwide. Prices for the hardware spiked well above MSRP. NVIDIA, a leading producer of GPUs in the US, had a good year despite the backlog of orders. The tech company’s price has spiked 120% since early last year, no doubt in correlation with the mining craze. It sat at a mere $14 when BTC launched.
Despite three million GPUs getting shipped to miners, totaling $776 million dollars in sales across the industry, the actual number of cards getting produced has been decreasing. Overall GPU shipments have decreased by 1.5% in Q4 2017 alone and 4.8% since the beginning of last year. Other cutting-edge areas of technology, such as machine learning and AI research, also rely on the use of high-powered processors to handle the swaths of data they are constantly trying to handle and have been left out in the cold.
NVIDA CEO Jensen Huang is not 100% happy about the booming sales, however. With miners buying GPUs in bulk to build their farms, gamers and developers looking to take advantage of graphics cards often find themselves out of luck. Huang commented on this during an interview with TechCrunch, saying:
We have to build a whole lot more. The video supply chain is working really hard, and you know all of our partners are working around the clock. We’ve got to come closer to the demand of the market. And right now, we’re not anywhere near close to that and so we’re just going to have to keep running.
As cryptocurrencies increase in popularity, it’s expected the demand for top-grade hardware will increase as well. Demand for GPUs from the Artificial Intelligence community will be cranking up the scarcity as researchers continue to make huge strides in the field. Unfortunately, gamers everywhere may have to wait a little longer to play PUBG on high graphics.
Have you been affected by the increasing prices of GPUs? How do you think the market for hardware will evolve this year? Let us know in the comments below!
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