New Nvidia RTX 30-series gaming laptops looked to have been the answer for those wanting next-gen graphics card power. This is because desktop cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 remain extremely limited. It turns out that new laptops have helped not only ordinary consumers, but cryptocurrency miners, as they're buying up laptops to build mining rigs.
Weibo user BTCer posted photos on the Chinese social media site of one such rig, featuring dozens of RTX 30-series laptops. Cryptocurrency mining on laptops has historically been unprofitable, but the improved performance of Nvidia’s latest GPUs is apparently making the process viable at scale. Combined with a recent boom in the price of Ethereum, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, and it looks like laptops won’t be spared the same squeeze on demand that miners inflicted on desktop cards.
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- Plus: It just got easier to compare Nvidia RTX 30 laptops — here's how
However, we haven’t yet seen similar mining rigs outside of China, and it’s unclear yet whether regional fluctuations in demand will affect availability more globally. It is, at least, telling that the desktop RTX 30-series shortage has gotten so bad that even serious miners, with all their cash, still can’t get their hands on enough that they’re driven to using much less cost-effective laptops instead.
Ironically, it was a rise in the price of Bitcoin that played a part in the new GPUs selling out earlier this year. Then again, this was also compounded by a sluggish manufacturing process, reseller bots and high demand from ordinary consumers. If anything, the mass buyout of Nvidia RTX 30-series laptops won’t be the sole reason you can’t get one yourself — it’s just another problem to add to the pile.
If you still want to try your luck with the desktop cards, check out our guides on where to buy the RTX 3080, where to buy the RTX 3070 and where to buy the RTX 3060 Ti. We update these every day and will let you know when new stock becomes available.
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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.