PC gaming has never been particularly easy and the price of entry has always been considerably more than console. There are some trade offs, in that PC gamers benefit from STEAM, and other platforms that have ludicrously good sales. Plus, PC Gamers, mostly, get the best experience, just not necessarily the cheapest or the easiest. The main expense for any gaming PC is the GPU, from Nvidia or AMD. The price of these, usually, not so long ago, would actually come down over time, making it better for all concerned. But with the onset of cryptocurrency mining and every man and his dog is looking to mine, the price for GPU’s is actually going up. Not just by a bit, but by too much. Making it prohibitive to even setup a decent rig, to setup a top notch gaming rig, you’re looking at silly money.
Those looking to buy a GPU today have it hard, it sucks in fact. Not only is it difficult to find a card in stock, certainly the AMD cards are proving a little harder to find because of their lower power consumption to hash rate, but even the higher 1080ti’s are proving hard to find. Then when you do find one, holy mother of god do they know how to charge. For example, I’ve a 1080ti FTW EVGA card, it cost me £750 in October and that was considered a good price. That same card, on Amazon, is £899. To those in the US, that’s easily over $1000. Crazy prices, just for the GPU.
Miners are to blame of course, people are sucking up dozens of these cards to build mining rigs. As fast as they are being made available for sale, they are being bought up and added to yet another mining rig. When I’m not gaming, I too set the card to mine, and I too have considered building a dedicated rig, or using ASIC miners, but it’s expensive and with the cost of Electricity in the UK, prohibitive if Bitcoin drops below £10,000 – thankfully, it’s remained above that for a while, but it’s come close. Other coins are even more volatile.
In as profitable but not very environmental as mining is, it’s also increasing the cost of building PC’s. RAM has gone up exponentially the last year or so. Building a decent PC, even a midrange gaming PC, is getting too expensive. Meaning that for now, I’d recommend anyone that’s looking to get into PC gaming, to perhaps wait and until then get an Xbox One X.
Are we likely to see a change, well more and more mining cards are coming out – you could almost call them retail mining cards, that are bare bones, limited warranty and just simply designed to mine. They are much cheaper and have limited resale value. Motherboards just for mining are becoming more popular too, and selling out. As more and more miners move to more efficient mining cards and begin to sell their retail 1070’s, 1080’s and AMD cards, we could, likely see an influx of second hand GPU’s onto the market and prices collapse. Not now, but as more and more mining specific cards, with barebones and better efficiency come out, this will likely happen.
So, for now, if you are thinking of building a PC, wait, and get an Xbox One X to tide over your PC itch. Or you are looking to upgrade, hold out. I believe that sometime this year, or next, there will be an enourmous flood of high end second hand GPU’s hitting the market and this will cause a price crash.
What do you think? Are you looking or are building a new PC, or thinking of upgrading? If so, what are the prices you’ve seen, what advice do you have? Are you looking to ugprade and from what, to what GPU? Will you wait and hold out or are you going to suck it up and buy one when you see it available?