Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards are suddenly cheaper — but there's a catch

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
(Image credit: Onliner)

UPDATE: Looking to buy an Nvidia GPU? Reading this in January 2022? Today's Newegg Shuffle offers the chance to buy everything from an Nvidia RTX 3060 through to RTX 3090. But hurry — it's taking place on January 19 and you need to register soon.

An unlikely source of cheap Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards has emerged: the China-based cryptocurrency miners that bought up so much of the precious GPU stock in the first place.

As reported by The Block, an ongoing crackdown against mining farms by the Chinese government has left erstwhile bulk-buyers looking to sell their masses of graphics cards. The GeForce RTX 3060, in particular, is listed on secondhand site Xianyu for as little as 1,760 yuan: about $270.

Similar listings have been popping up for weeks, but only recently have prices dropped this close to the card’s original MSRP. It seems that so many mining operations are shutting up shop that the GPUs’ current owners are competing with each other on the secondhand marketplace, forcing prices down.

Since supply shortages have kept current-gen GPU prices high, an issue compounded by intense demand from crypto miners themselves, this could mean big losses for anyone who didn’t already recoup their expenditure though mining. Perhaps let’s all just take a moment to appreciate that irony.

Sadly, other than some light schadenfreude, this isn’t the good news for hopeful PC owners that it might seem. Even if you’ve been having trouble finding where to buy the GeForce RTX 3060 and wouldn’t mind importing, a lot of these listings are for bulk purchases as opposed to individual cards. In-person collection is also a common requirement: one ad, according to The Block, demands that buyers pick up their cards "at power station along the Yarlung Tsangpo river.”

There’s also the matter of whether you’d even truly want a retired crypto mining card as your everyday gaming GPU. A few hours of Cyberpunk 2077 is one thing, but these cards will have been running non-stop, at maximum capacity, for weeks or months on end. Future hardware failures are therefore a lot more likely than if you bought a used graphics card from a fellow PC gamer.

That’s not to say that falling interest in cryptocurrency mining won’t have a positive effect on GeForce RTX 3060 stock levels, including close to home. You may just have to keep being patient, until you can have a better chance at catching a restock.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.