Good news for graphics card crunch

An analysis by independent German tech site ComputerBase has revealed early signs that the graphics card shortage is easing.

The publication recently assessed the availability of new Nvidia and AMD graphics cards from online retailers in Europe, and found the situation has improved considerably.

Its previous assessment from 17 May showed there was very limited stock of many popular RTX 30 series and Radeon 6000 series cards, while prices had tripled from the recommended retail prices.

One month later, the number of available models have increased as follows:

  • GeForce RTX 3060 – 5 to 24 units
  • GeForce RTX 3070 – 4 to 25 units
  • GeForce RTX 3080 – 3 to 24 units
  • Radeon RX 6700 XT – 9 to 20 units
  • Radeon RX 6800 – 3 to 6 units
  • Radeon RX 6800 XT – 3 to 8 units
  • Radeon RX 6900 XT – 9 to 13 units

In conjunction with this, the cheapest prices for the cards have also dropped significantly.

For example, the previous minimum price of €1,499 for an RTX 3070 has come down to €999.

The prices are still some way off the recommended retail prices of the cards, however.

The table below shows the minimum prices of the latest graphics from Nvidia and AMD as observed in the online market in Europe by ComputerBase.

Graphics card prices – 17 May vs 17 June 
RX 6700 XT RX 6800 RX 6800 XT RX 6900 XT RTX 3060 RTX 3060 Ti RTX 3070 RTX 3080 RTX 3090
RRP  €479 €579 €649  €999 €329 €419 €519 €719 €1,549
Minimum price – 17 May  €929 €1,499 €1,499 €1,699 €949 €1,499 €2,299
Minimum price – 17 June €799 €1,049 €1,249 €1,589 €639 €999 €999 €1,499 €2,199

One of the factors behind the increased stock availability and drop in pricing may be the recent crackdown on cryptocurrency miners in China and the subsequent decline in the market.

The global silicon chip shortage has been attributed to several factors, including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, poor chip demand forecasts by automotive manufacturers, and a severe drought in Taiwan, where many of the world’s chip factories are located.

However, cryptocurrency miners have been the main culprits for the limited availability of graphics cards.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies recorded massive increases in the early months of 2021, which spurred demand for powerful graphics cards that could mine cryptocurrencies effectively.

But the Chinese government’s most recent clampdown on cryptocurrencies wiped nearly $300 billion in value off of the total digital currency market in just a few days.

Global Times China reports the country is estimated to lose 90% of its Bitcoin mining power by the end of the current crackdown from the Chinese government.

This comes after miners in the Sichuan province — the country’s second-largest mining power producer — were ordered to shut down operations.

Due to the decreased prices, mining cryptocurrency has become less profitable, which means fewer miners are snatching up new cards these days.

Crypto miners might also be losing interest in Nvidia’s cards in particular, as the company itself has intervened to try and get more graphics cards into the hands of gamers.

A driver update rolled out to its RTX 3060 card limits the hashing rate for mining Ethereum, one of the most commonly-mined cryptocurrencies.

This limiter has now been made compulsory in its new RTX 30 Ti series.

Now read: Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti is really good for 4K gaming

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Good news for graphics card crunch