from the let-the-games-begin dept.
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.
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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.
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.
Granted, these problems have nothing to do with Ethereum itself. They are all exploits in the surrounding ecosystem. Hacking the CoinDash website to replace their public wallet address was particularly cheeky. This all reminds me of tales of the Wild West, when money was transferred between banks by stagecoach or by train. The technology simply didn't exist to provide the necessary security way the heck out on the prairie.
Seems like that's where we are now. The necessary technology does not exist, to provide the security that currencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin really require. Website hacks are a dime a dozen, and when a hack can be worth $millions... The same for software: When professional programmers still write code vulnerable to SQL injection - when our platforms even allow this as a possibility - then we simply do not have the technology to secure the stagecoach.
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