from the card-iology dept.
There are many reasons for investors to buy chipmakers Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices, but the recent rush for an indirect way to play skyrocketing cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum should not be one of them, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Friday. "One of the reasons why AMD and Nvidia have been going up is their chips are used for mining, for cryptocurrency mining," Cramer told "Squawk on the Street." But he warned, "Do not play it for this is what I'm saying. But it is being played for that." [...] Cramer cited a recent note from RBC Capital Markets, which said the growing cryptocurrency mining market has contributed $100 million worth of GPU sales for Nvidia in the past 11 days alone. "AMD chips are the best ones for the ethereum platform," he added.
As we look at the sales channels today, AMD Radeon graphics cards from the current and previous generation of GPU are nearly impossible to find in stock, and when you do come across them, they are priced well above the expected manufactured suggested retail price.
This trend has caused the likes of the Radeon RX 580, RX 570, RX 480, and RX 470 to essentially disappear from online and retail shelves. This impact directly hit AMD products first because its architecture was slightly better suited for the coin mining task while remaining power efficient (the secondary cost of the mining process).
But as the well dries up around the Radeon products, users are turning their attention to Nvidia GeForce cards from the Pascal-based 10-series product line and we are already seeing the resulting low inventory and spiking prices for them as well.
For mining heavy users, the source further claims that Polaris will continue to feature best price to power consumption ratio. A Vega graphics card that uses the same foundation and form factor as the Radeon R9 Nano is also expected but that's yet to be confirmed.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Over the past few months, there has been a GPU shortage, forcing the prices of mid-range graphics cards up as cryptocurrency miners from across the world purchased hardware in bulk in search for quick and easy profits.
This has forced the prices of most modern AMD and certain Nvidia GPUs to skyrocket, but now these GPUs are starting to saturate the used market as more and more Ethereum miners sell up and quit mining. Some other miners are starting to look at other emerging Cryptocurrencies, though it is clear that the hype behind Ethereum is dying down.
Earlier this week Ethereum's value dropped below $200, as soon as the currency experienced a new difficulty spike, making the currency 20% harder to mine and significantly less profitable. This combined with its decrease in value has made mining Ethereum unprofitable for many miners, especially in regions with higher than average electricity costs.
Now Ethereum is valued at less than $150, with the currency costing $134.97 at the time of writing, which is less than half of the currency's peak value. The currency has the potential to bounce back, though it is difficult to see the currency go back over £250 [sic*] in the near future.
On second-hand sales websites like eBay and Gumtree, we have seen a lot of new GPU listing appear in recent days, with plenty of used AMD RX series GPUs appearing over the weekend. More hardware is expected to hit these sites over the coming days as some miners wind down their operations, though many will simply move to a more profitable currency or to invest their computing power into an emerging Cryptocurrency that has the prospect of high values in the future.
German retailer MindFactory has removed many AMD and Nvidia graphics cards from sale because the products have a delivery time of 3 months. According to them, the GPU shortage affects "the whole of Germany" or even the "whole Europe".
The demand for GPUs to mine cryptocurrencies, particularly Ethereum, has led to OEMs creating products specifically tailored to cryptocurrency mining. For example, new cards that are smaller, have fewer display ports, with cooling systems:
While the GPU shortage continues, there are some signs of improvement. There are now several models of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 in stock from various OEMs, but prices remain high and relatively close to the price of the GTX 1080. There are also a few more GTX 1060 6GB graphics cards available, and the price on the least expensive one has dropped significantly, down from $484.80 to $259.99.
At the same time, however, the price on the least expensive GTX 1050 Ti has climbed by about $10, and several models now cost around $200. The price on the least expensive Geforce GTX 1060 3GB has also climbed by roughly $20, as well. This likely indicates that sales of these cards have increased somewhat, pushing prices up accordingly.
Meanwhile, several OEMs, including Asus, Biostar, Sapphire, and Zotac, have announced new mining graphics cards that are tailored for cryptocurrency mining. We have also seen a new motherboard from Asrock that can support up to 13 GPUs for mining. Biostar has a similar board for AM4 CPUs that can support six GPUs. Although we haven't seen them yet, EVGA and MSI also have mining GPUs coming soon, and MSI will also have a motherboard designed for mining. Although these may be attractive to cryptocurrency miners, one source told us that they use the same GPU cores as traditional graphics cards, and thus don't address the underlying supply problem.
The shortages go all the way to the source. OEMs are reportedly having trouble getting GPU cores from Nvidia, and Nvidia can't get enough from TSMC. This is presumably the same situation for AMD and GlobalFoundries.
It is perhaps not as medically useful as a rectal haptic logging device or stroke recovery glove, perhaps not as visionary and audacious as the 1989 Nintendo Power Glove, but perhaps some of the numerous sign language gloves can be used as ambidexterous VR gloves? Likewise, when the crypto-currency market crashes again there'll be a huge surplus of GPUs for VR.
Full disclosure: I'm easily amused; especially with purile jokes about cyber logging and stroking aids. However, in the last two months, I filed a haptics patent (which started as a purile joke). Also, I'm working on a US$300 immersive sound system and I'll have a large number of spare I/O pins.