As cryptocurrency miners once again push the prices of graphics cards up – and even drive some GPUs out of stock – Nvidia has issued a statement in support of gamers struggling to find a card, and has made a move to try and help them.
Nvidia is asking retailers to sell a maximum of two graphics cards (of the same model) per person, in an effort to cut back on bulk orders from virtual currency miners.
Nvidia also issued a statement stressing that it’s behind gamers when it comes to the current GPU stock and pricing problems. In a comment to German tech site ComputerBase (opens in new tab), the company said: “For Nvidia, gamers come first. All activities related to our GeForce product line are targeted at our main audience.
“To ensure that GeForce gamers continue to have good GeForce graphics card availability in the current situation, we recommend that our trading partners make the appropriate arrangements to meet gamers’ needs as usual.”
Of course, the two-card purchasing rule is just a suggested limitation, and it’s up to retailers to actually enforce it, with no comeback if they don’t. And realistically, many retailers aren’t likely to care exactly who is buying their products – or particularly want to go to the effort of policing orders – as long as cash is going into the till.
So it’s certainly arguable how much tangible impact this move will make.
Still, it’s something, and in some ways, this is more about Nvidia letting gamers know that it hasn’t forgotten about them, and that is realizes the gravity of the situation, as graphics cards prices are starting to get silly thanks to the excessive demand.
For example, the GeForce GTX 1070 is the card many gamers would want to get, but looking on Newegg at the time of writing in the US, the cheapest model is $889 – and on the UK site, it’s £707. Remember, this is supposed to be a card with a recommended price of around $380 or £380, so you’re basically paying double right now.
That isn’t necessarily true across the entire spectrum of GPUs, but price pressure is clearly getting ridiculous, and some models are completely out of stock at some retailers. Even a supposedly wallet-friendly GTX 1060 will now set you back around $330 or £240 on Newegg.
It’s a miserable situation which means that those looking to upgrade their graphics card, or those building a new PC and looking for a GPU to go inside, are pretty much throwing their hands up in despair.
Of course, the mining craze is currently being fuelled by the recent major boom in cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin leading the (volatile) charge. Although mining the latter is now dominated by dedicated ASIC devices, other virtual currencies have shot up in its wake, and the likes of Ethereum can still be effectively mined using PCs sporting multiple graphics cards.
There’s been plenty of discussion around this topic across the net, as you can imagine, with many not understanding why Nvidia and AMD can’t simply produce more GPUs to meet demand – but there are obviously production issues to consider. Ramping up the assembly lines isn’t just a matter of flipping a switch.
Perhaps the real solution will be the production of more mining-dedicated graphics cards – with no video output ports – specifically targeting the cryptocurrency market. Fingers crossed that everything settles down sooner rather than later, but we’re not particularly optimistic about that right now.
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