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GPU buyers, beware: Ethereum value hits all-time high, meaning graphics card shortages likely aren't ending soon

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Cryptocurrency Ether just crossed the $3,000 mark.
  • Its popularity shows no signs of slowing, meaning miners are going to keep grabbing GPUs.
  • The fewer GPUs there are on the market, the longer the global shortage will continue.

There's a global shortage of all things semiconductor-related that's been going on for a while now. It's affecting everything from car production to graphics card availability, the latter of which is where cryptocurrency miners are having an impact. Global GPU supply levels were already in dire straits thanks to the pandemic and the universal demand spike for electronics, and cryptocurrency miners are making matters even trickier.

That's not to say that crypto mining is some sort of immense villainy; it's not. It's simply a niche activity that's complicating the lives of average consumers and gamers by sucking up what few new GPUs are on the market. And with today's news that Ether has crossed $3,000 per unit in value, it looks like mining is going to increase its exacerbation of the global shortage.

The $3,000 milestone has been in the works for some time now, as Ether has been steadily climbing in value since July 2020, when it was valued at a lowly $200 per unit. Given its steady growth, the odds are that crypto miners will only be hungry for more, meaning they're going to need more GPUs for mining.

NVIDIA's already tried putting limiters in place to combat the use of its GPUs for mining instead of consumer and gaming purposes, but that fight hasn't been going perfectly. And AMD's not even willing to dish concrete figures regarding how much of its recent financial success is due to crypto miners. Both of these companies are short on hardware because of numerous factors, and the folks hunting for Ether are making it that much trickier for ordinary people to get their hands on the newest GPUs.

In short, if you want a graphics card like the RTX 3060 Ti for gaming, good luck. It's one of the best GPUs for crypto mining, meaning it's likely going to be powering Ether-hunting machines rather than those that just want to run Crysis.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

5 Comments
  • I made almost £15k from ETH over last ~6 months. Price is starting to move fast now. If it moves like BTC has over the years, more so now people are comfortable with cypto it's going to be a nice return in a couple of years. Certainly a nice investment for anyone with a bit of spare cash to invest with right now.
  • How many GPUs you have?
  • I wouldn't even know where to start.
  • If their plan is to be believed, Ethereum is moving to it's proof of stake model by the end of this year. They even issued a statement to tell miners not to buy hardware right now because they would most likely not be able to recoup the cost. So an extension of the shortage for this is pretty unlikely and if mining really goes down at the end of the year, there should be a great second hand market coming up to help with the shortage. They also said that the EIP 1559 should go live in mid-july which will cause a significant income reduction from mining. So anyone, not currently mining Ethereum would be foolish to get new hardware just for this. If you do already have a card and are not mining in your downtime, then you should if it is profitable in your situation.
  • Link to the source for the projected end of the year death of mining ETH: https://twitter.com/trent_vanepps/status/1387837123756240898?s=20