Gamers, this is our time: crypto miners are trying to make some money back by auctioning mountains of used (but cheap) graphics cards via live streams.
The cryptocurrency market has had a rough few weeks after the collapse of most of its more profitable coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but as they say, the pain of one is the pleasure of the other. PC gamer (opens in new tab) reports that with so much value knocked off Ethereum, especially the largest currency that can still be viablely mined using a consumer desktop GPU, crypto miners and farms are trying to sell the used hardware to recover their losses.
GPU Flooding is here. Chinese miners and South Asian ecafes are now dismantling their mining rigs and putting cards up for auction on live streams.3060 Ti’s going for $300-$350 US…pic.twitter.com/kphmIt7vZwJune 21, 2022
This is because Ethereum mining still uses proof-of-work validation, although the currency will transition to proof-of-stake, making mining the currency hugely unprofitable using gaming GPUs, even if the market recovers. This is the same validation method used by Bitcoin today, which is why miners tend to focus more on application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners made specifically for mining rather than scrambling to get one of the best gaming graphics cards on the market. get hold of.
At its peak, a single Bitcoin was worth nearly $64,400, meaning if you bought $1,000 worth of Bitcoin on November 12, 2021, it would be worth about $326 today. Similarly, Ethereum price fell to $1,112 this week, down from $4,600 in November.
Bad news for crypto, good news for gamers
Chinese miners are dumping 3080 at a pretty crazy price on Xianyu (Taobao 2nd market smartphone app), starting at just 3500 yuan ($523). @CapFrameX @davideneco25320 @kopite7kimi @chunvn8888 pic.twitter.com/KMCPyXJDzIJune 21, 2022
China’s cheap electricity made it a haven for mining companies, which is probably why we’re seeing the most sales in this region, with piles of unwanted Ampere RTX 30 graphics cards being sold on the Xianyu marketplace website. Some of the lists for RTX 3080 graphics cards were posted on Twitter by I_Leak_VN (opens in new tab)showing that these used GPUs are advertised for just 3,500 Yuan (about $523 / £420 / AU$760).
The same GPU technically has a suggested retail price of $699 (£649, about AU$950) for the original Founders Edition model, so the savings here aren’t particularly huge, although it’s worth pointing out that while we’re looking at stock improvements and While prices are falling, some units are still priced above MSRP, albeit slightly.
Livestream auctions have also been held to help sell the tickets, with Tom’s Hardware Reporting (opens in new tab) on a Baidu (opens in new tab) post describing the masses of the cards advertised via live streams, some under the speculation that they come from gaming internet cafes. The post listed RTX 3060 Tis and sold between $300 (about £245 / AU$440) and $350 (about £290 / AU$510), which, while only just below the card’s original MSRP of $399 (around £299, AU$540), is a huge improvement over the prices we saw at the height of the GPU shortage.
Analysis: Wait, So Should You Buy These GPUs?
This sale isn’t just happening in China – eBay, Facebook Marketplace and more are also seeing an influx of used GPUs around the world, but there are a few things to consider before buying one.
The biggest problem for most people will be the concern about how this hardware is used, especially if it may come from a large scale farm rather than a hobbyist miner, but mining maps are actually not as bad as you might think. This video from LinusTechTips takes a closer look at how maps are used for mining and tests in the video revealed that months of constant use in a mining rig actually had a pretty negligible effect on performance.
This is because many miners are underclocking the cards to better preserve longevity and consume less power, so despite running 24/7, these GPUs haven’t been pushed to their limits.
However, there are other things to look out for that you may not see in an online listing. Our American computer editor John Loeffler wrote an informative article about the dangers of buying ex-mining cards, warning: “In many cases it is [run] in a dusty open warehouse alongside dozens of other similar burnt-out graphics cards, all of which generate heat and bake their own and their neighbors’ silicon transistors, plastic PCBs, and solder joints.”
It’s hard to judge the physical condition of a GPU from a listing image, but only you can decide whether buying a cheaper, used product is “worth it.” For those of you planning to buy a next-gen Nvidia Lovelace graphics card like the GeForce RTX 4090 when they come out later this year, a used GPU may be worth the risk of buying something brand new at the MSRP, as you can afford it. only need to leave you a few months behind.
Whatever your stance on ex-mining hardware, this is generally good news for PC gamers. With the tanking of the crypto market, there will be less competition against miners, which will not only result in mountains of used graphics cards hitting the market, but also more availability for new stock. It has been reported that Ethereum miners have spent $15 billion on GPUs in the past two years and that is no small rival to compete with.
As we near the launch of Nvidia Lovelace and AMD RDNA3, we can only hope the market stays low to give gamers a chance to get their hands on a new GPU after years of battling scalpers, bots and miners. Failing that, we may be reliant on pre-built desktop gaming PCs and gaming laptops again.