What you need to know
- Someone managed to buy numerous NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards.
- This same person also runs a very profitable mining farm and decided to build a small one in the back of a BMW i8 to give anyone wanting a GPU the middle finger.
- Stock shortages continue to plague potential GPU buyers who are resisting the urge to hand over cash to scalpers for inflated listings.
It's still nigh to impossible to locate a GPU. I'm not talking about the best graphic card either, but any GPU. Need a graphics card for 1080p gaming? You're also out of luck unless you plan on parting with upwards of $550 for a GTX 1660 SUPER. That's right, $550 (the same price as a GeForce RTX 3070 at launch) for a GPU that cost $230 at launch.
What adds salt to this open wound are a few things. First up are the scalpers. I'm sure you heard the whole fiasco surrounding an MSI subsidiary selling its own graphics cards at inflated prices? Well, the general public is doing just that too. Those who manage to locate stock at retailers are then selling said cards on sites like eBay with a 20% (or higher) markup.
Next are the cryptocurrency miners. Unfortunately, the process of mining cryptocurrency requires a GPU. If you really want a good return on investment, you'll purchase as many high-end GPUs as possible, which then drives up demand. While card manufacturers have attempted to make GPUs specifically for miners, this still hasn't helped matters.
Most miners are like you and I, mere mortals simply wanting to make some form of passive income. Others are hoarding cards and sometimes even boasting about the fact. Take Simon Byrne, who runs a very profitable RTX 3080 mining farm that pulls in $128,088 each year. He decided it would be a good idea to really drive a stick into the open wound by installing a mining rig with six RTX 3080 GPUs in the rear of his BMW i8.
Not only is he able to make serious money with his main farm, but also now while on the road. Tom's Hardware even reached out to Byrne to ask about whether it was actually running or not, the response was simply "Indeed, just to annoy gamers." The only drawback is the requirement to have the boot open for ventilation. But the vehicle has more than enough power from its battery pack to power the rig.
Don't buy a GPU unless you really have to. The situation should improve as supply lines are able to once again push out more stock for us to browse. In the meantime, should you truly require a GPU sooner than later, don't pay scalpers and instead join a queue at your local retailer (preferably online).
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.