PC gamers and anyone trying to upgrade their computers have faced a frustrating time trying to find a graphics card that hasn’t been marked up to ridiculous prices. The ongoing global semiconductor shortage is the prime reason GPUs are scarce, but scalpers and cryptominers have made the whole situation even worse. However, recent developments could lead to graphics cards becoming easier to snatch in the latter half of 2022.
As CNBC (opens in new tab) (via Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab)) reports, Bitcoin and Ethereum hit record lows this week, reaching $30,000 and $2,200 (respectively). That is almost 50% off both crypto coins’ highest value. But even before this happened, there has been a gradual decline in crypto prices over the past month that has, in turn, lowered the price of GPUs. According to research conducted by Tom's Hardware, graphics cards are now 11% cheaper on eBay compared to last month.
Graphics card prices in 🇩🇪🇦🇹 as of Jan 23, 2022👉 Price level go down, a noticeable movement in the right direction.👉 Availability better again, really no problems to get cards.👉 ETH price give hope for the future (see yellow line).https://t.co/fNSz3OX69i pic.twitter.com/leX4cynnGvJanuary 24, 2022
3DCenter.org (opens in new tab) (via TechRadar (opens in new tab)) posted a graph illustrating the falling prices of GPUs, which you can see above. Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series cards are selling for about 77% above retail price compared to 87% over a month ago. AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 GPUs are also selling for reduced prices, retailing for 67% over MSRP instead of 83%.
Tom’s Hardware posted a chart (available from the link above) that lists prices of the latest AMD and Nvidia GPUs from late December and compared them to the past week’s prices. On average, graphics card prices dropped by 5% or more. Some, like the RTX 3080 (10GB) and RX 6600, fell by 10% or more. The site notes that GPU volume on eBay plummeted for almost all GPU models.
With Bitcoin and Etherium hitting record lows, cryptomining has become less viable. This may be bad news for cryptominers, but it's great news for people who haven’t been able to purchase a current-gen GPU. However, it’s unclear if the bottom will continue falling out of the Bitcoin market. If cryptomining becomes more feasible again, we may see the price of GPUs rise.
Another recent development could also make GPUs easier to find. According to Digitimes (opens in new tab) (via Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab) and PC Gamer (opens in new tab)), a shortage of Ajinomoto Build-up (ABF) substrates has contributed to the global GPU shortage – a fact that very few know about. The report says Asrock and TUL (Powecolor’s parent company) wish to increase GPU shipments in the second half of 2022 when supplies of ABF substrate material are expected to improve.
What the heck is ABF substrate? To put it simply, it’s a vital material for advanced semiconductor manufacturing that is used to create the circuitry connecting nanoscale microprocessor die materials to the larger terminals on printed substrates. If that went over your head, don’t worry; all you need to know is that more ABF means more graphics cards (potentially).
Hopefully, these developments lead to more readily available cards that don’t cost an outrageous amount. Nvidia is reportedly gearing up to launch new RTX 40 series GPUs in late 2022, and it would be nice if they landed in a market where regular customers could obtain those next-gen cards for a reasonable price.