Can you feel it? The change for PC builders, not very subtle, happening even as I type these words?
The clouds have lifted. The sun is shining. The news is good. It is as follows:
1: Ethereum is no longer mine-able
Mining Ethereum (the second largest cryptocoin) has been one of the factors driving up GPU prices for a long time. About a week ago, Ethereum switched away from GPU mining, meaning that many mining farms became more-or-less useless, and had to shut down. This means that hundreds of thousands of cards were now free! Well… “free” as in “no longer able to mine Ethereum”.
2: The pandemic is over… or at least “over”
Now is a great time to remind our readers that our domain is PC parts, and we do not delve into health or politics. But the pandemic has had a major impact on many aspects of our lives, including PC hardware availability and prices, and cannot be ignored.
Production, transport, tariffs, import restrictions, international tensions… There are just so many ways that the pandemic impacted hardware production and availability. But since the start of 2022, month-by-month, more and more countries have declared that the pandemic is “over”, as in there will no longer be any active pandemic-related restrictions. People can work. Goods can be manufactured. Products can be transported. Woohoo!
The result? Take a look at the travel advisory. Every country is now open for tourism and (more importantly) for business. Hardware availability is no longer an issue for any item. Fingers-crossed that this remains the case!
3: New cards are very close to release
nVidia has announced that it will release the first of its new 40XX series cards in October. AMD has also set dates for its new RDNA3 cards in November. Taking a deep look into the details of these new cards will need a separate post, and of course will need those cards to be actually out and benchmarked.
The result? I do not have a crystal ball, so I cannot predict the future with full accuracy. New card launches have not been good in the last 2-3 years. Inventories have cleared in less than 30 seconds largely due to bot buyers for scalping and other reasons. Prices have gone up to double (and sometimes triple) MSRP. Availability has been pitiful, with production very slow to make up the difference. The list goes on. I hope, though, (and it is a leap of faith) that with restrictions gone, and with mining demand being so low, that this year’s launch will have cards available for normal buyers at decent prices.
This is where we are now. Crypto-mining is dying; businesses are operating; new current-gen cards are available for MSRP; used cards are available for very low prices; and next-gen cards are just over the horizon. Yes, we can expect it to be a good time for GPU buyers (and welcome changes for our main chart) in the last months of 2022.