Over the past 2 years, certain products have been difficult to find. For a while, laptops and other electronics were in short supply. This came about because lockdowns stopped production but increased demand as more people were working from home. One of the hardest products to acquire was webcams, requiring people to search hard to find even off-brand webcams. But, video cards have been the one consistently hard to find.
In August 2020, Intel and Nvidia showed off new video card hardware. In November 2020, AMD released its new cards. All of this new video technology improved performance immensely, causing gamers and video editors around the world to want to get ahold of the cards. Because of the excitement, it drove a big business for scalpers.
Prices for video cards on eBay skyrocketed, with people selling GTX 1070s for 2 or 3 times the original price. GTX 1080 Tis were being sold for as high as $800. Many people thought that the video card market had become a monopoly. Card prices have slowly returned to their original values, but they are still much more expensive than they were before the release of the new hardware.
Now that video cards are available again, there is no need to overpay on eBay. You can find cards available on regular retail sites, such as Amazon and Newegg. However, just because they're available doesn't make them inexpensive. In many cases, these cards are still far above their MSRP prices. But, they're available, making it possible to build a PC without waiting for months.
Part of the increased availability is because production has leveled out some. But, the real scenario appears to be that the value of cryptocurrencies has been falling in recent months. With the fall in value, the amount of time to recover the cost of a video card has gone up significantly, making it almost impossible to break even. So, crypto miners have less of a reason to invest in high-end video cards. Also, as more currencies move their mining process from proof of work to proof of stake, the need for the cards decreases.
One of the more interesting aspects could be that a lot of mining was happening in Russia. With the sanctions going into place, it's getting harder to purchase cards in the country. So, once again, a decrease in crypto mining is leading to the availability of cards.
Not necessarily. There is evidence that the current situation is the beginning of a trend, not the new scenario. With the European conflict looking like it will continue for a while, sales there might continue to stall. With the change in the mining process, the need for crypto miners to purchase the cards out from under gamers is going to decrease. This means that scalpers are going to have less reason to participate in the market. So, in the end, prices are likely to continue to decrease. The only possible issue comes from the neon gas shortage used to produce chips.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.