The graphics card shortage continues despite dips in Bitcoin and Ethereum pricing

graphics card shortage
Right now, looking for a great graphics card at a decent price can be a real pain. Why? Given that both AMD and Nvidia have teamed up with OEMs to produce graphics cards dedicated to cryptocurrency mining, it’s easy to point fingers at these digital miners for the graphics card shortage. And while that’s entirely possible, it’s not the full story. So we dug into Amazon supplies for a window into the shortage.

Disclaimer: Not every aspect of the graphics card shortage is attributable to physical supply. Many cards just aren’t sold through Amazon. For instance, EVGA’s portfolio of 70 GeForce GTX 10 series cards is reduced to 53 separate models served up through the popular online retail outlet. Out of the reduced batch, Amazon itself had only 15 cards in stock, with the remaining 38 models sold through its third-party sellers during our investigation.

That said, if Amazon has a graphics card in stock, it will normally sell the unit at the manufacturer’s suggested price. In our investigation of the graphics card shortage, there were rare instances where Amazon actually sold cards at slightly increased prices. There were also many units that actually had a reasonable discount. Another tactic we saw was that Amazon would increase the manufacturer’s price by $30 or so, then mark it back down to the normal price at a “reduced rate” exclusively for Prime Members.

Thus, Amazon customers looking for a good price on the best graphics card have to grab one while they’re still sold directly by the retailer. Otherwise, it’s a pricing free-for-all with its third-party sellers. Prices can inflate by more than 100 percent, and that can be costly the higher up customers go on the graphics performance totem pole. The biggest mark-ups are tacking hundreds of dollars to video card prices.

What’s in stock? Not much

To get a better visual idea of the graphics card shortage, take a look at these tables:

RX 500 Series
OEMs Total
Portfolio
Listed On
Amazon
In Stock
@ Amazon
Sold Via
Third-Party
Amazon Sellers
ASUS 15 9 2 7
Gigabyte 13 10 3 7
MSI 10 9 1 8
Sapphire 16 13 2 11
GTX 10 Series
OEMs Total
Portfolio
Listed On
Amazon
In Stock
@ Amazon
Sold Via
Third-Party
Amazon Sellers
ASUS 30 30 6 24
EVGA 70 53 15 38
Gigabyte 60 36 14 22
MSI 71 47 18 29
Zotac 31 26 13 13

As the numbers show, the Radeon RX 500 and GTX 10 Series cards manufactured by Asus and listed on Amazon are currently mostly sold through third-party sellers. In fact, Amazon’s stock of RX 500 Series cards is extremely low, thus customers are forced to purchase these cards at inflated prices through its third-party sellers, or look elsewhere online for (hopefully) a better deal.

However, in our investigation, we noted that Amazon’s stock mostly resided in the cheaper, low-powered card market. Gigabyte’s listed Radeon RX 550, GeForce GTX 1050, and GeForce GTX 1050 cards were plentiful. MSI’s low-end GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 cards were mostly in stock, too, along with solutions from Zotac. Interestingly enough, Amazon had plenty of Zotac GTX 1080 cards in stock as did MSI and EVGA, which are at the other end of the performance spectrum.

Ultimately, the cards mostly hit, it seemed, were the GTX 1070, GTX 1060, RX 580, RX 570, and RX 560.  Their suggested retail prices range from $100 to $400, making them great upgrades for the money when they’re actually sold by Amazon. However, the GTX 1070 cards manufactured by Gigabyte and sold through Amazon’s third-party sellers, for example, were jacked up in price between 33 percent and 82 percent, such as the G1 Gaming 8G selling for $780 (typically $430).

Here are the prices of baseline graphics cards listed on Amazon, which we will refresh each week. Right now, certain OEMs don’t even have listings for a specific GPU on Amazon, but we’ll leave space for them anyway in case a product does show up.

AMD video card prices

RX 580
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS DUAL RX580 O4G $230 $364 58.26% Amazon
Third-party
Gigabyte Gaming 4GD $240 $380 58.33% Amazon
Third-party
MSI ARMOR 4G OC $230 $326 41.74% Amazon
Third-party
PowerColor AXRX 580 4GBD5-3DHDV2/OC $230 $337 46.52% Amazon
Third-party
Sapphire PULSE 4GD5 $230 $380 69.57% Amazon
Third-party
RX 570
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS ROG Strix O4G Gaming OC $215 $340 58.14% Amazon
Third-party
Gigabyte Gaming 4GD $220 $334 51.82% Amazon
Third-party
MSI GAMING X 4G $220 $450 104.55% Amazon
Third-party
PowerColor AXRX 570 4GBD5-3DHD/OC $190 $350 84.21% Amazon
Third-party
Sapphire PULSE 4GD5 $190 $330 73.68% Amazon
Third-party
RX 560
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS RX560-O2G OC Edition $120 $110 -8.33% Amazon
Gigabyte Gaming OC 2GD $110 $110 0.00% Amazon
MSI Aero ITX 4G OC $130 $130 0.00% Amazon
PowerColor AXRX 560 4GBD5-DHV2/OC $110 $220 100.00% Amazon
Third-party
Sapphire Pulse 2GD5 $110 $110 0.00% Amazon
RX 550
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS RX550-2G $85 $85 0.00% Amazon
Gigabyte Gaming OC 2GD $90 $90 0.00% Amazon
MSI Aero ITX 2G OC $90 $85 -5.56% Amazon
PowerColor AXRX 550 2GBD5-DH/OC $90 $120 33.33% Amazon
Third-party
Sapphire Pulse 2GD5 $90 $90 0.00% Amazon

Nvidia video card prices

GTX 1080 Ti
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS FOUNDERS
EDITION
$700 $805 15.00% Amazon
Third-Party
EVGA GAMING $700 $800 14.29% Amazon
Third-Party
Gigabyte FOUNDERS
EDITION
$700 $950 35.71% Amazon
Third-Party
MSI AERO 11G OC $739 $780 5.55% Amazon
Zotac FOUNDERS
EDITION
$700 $844 20.57% Amazon
Third-Party
GTX 1080
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS ROG STRIX 8G GAMING $560 $730 30.36% Amazon
Third-Party
EVGA GAMING (ACX 3.0) $540 $580 7.41% Amazon
Third-Party
Gigabyte WINDFORCE OC 8GD $500 $510 2.00% Amazon
MSI GAMING 8G $600 $670 11.67% Amazon
Third=party
Zotac FOUNDERS EDITION $550 $750 36.36% Amazon
Third-Party
GTX 1070
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS DUAL O8G $430 $630 46.51% Amazon
Third-Party
EVGA GAMING $410 $700 70.73% Amazon
Third-Party
Gigabyte WINDFORCE OC 8G $400 $580 45.00% Amazon
Third-Party
MSI AERO 8G OC $420 $500 19.05% Amazon
Third-Party
Zotac AMP Edition $450 $1,000 122.22% Amazon
Third-Party
GTX 1060
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS PH-GTX1060-3G $215 $270 25.58% Amazon
Third-Party
EVGA GAMING $200 $277 28.50% Amazon
Third-Party
Gigabyte WINDFORCE OC 3G $210 $266 26.67% Amazon
Third-Party
MSI 3G OCV1 $230 $295 28.26% Amazon
Third-Party
Zotac 3G Mini $194 $280 44.33% Amazon
Third-Party
GTX 1050 Ti
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS PH-GTX1050TI-4G $145 $164 13.10% Amazon
Third-Party
EVGA GAMING $145 $164 13.10% Amazon
Gigabyte OC 4G $150 $164 9.33% Amazon
MSI 4G OC $160 $160 0.00% Amazon
Zotac Low Profile $170 $167 -1.76% Amazon
Third-party
GTX 1050
OEM Model Retail
Price
Current
Price
Price
Increase
Sold By
ASUS PH-GTX1050-2G $115 $134 16.52% Amazon
Third-Party
EVGA GAMING $110 $120 9.09% Amazon
Gigabyte OC 2G $130 $149 14.62% Amazon
Third-party
MSI 2G OC $109 $109 0.00% Amazon
Zotac Low Profile $120 $132 10.00% Amazon
Third-party

Is there an end in sight?

Not yet.

The graphics card shortage stems from the cryptocurrency mining crowd, which appears to be consuming GTX 1070 and GTX 1060 cards along with AMD’s batch of Radeon RX 500 Series cards. These cards offer a lot of bang for the buck, and cryptocurrency miners understandably want the best value, because it improves the efficiency of mining coin for profit.

We’ve started to see companies offer graphics cards for mining digital currency. These typically have less impressive coolers than gaming cards, and often don’t have video output ports, because they’re not needed for mining. However, these cards remain rare, so a lot of demand is still focused on gaming cards.

A recent downturn in the price of Ethereum, an upstart currency that gained popularity over the last six months, has brought some hope that demand will decrease. However, Bitcoin remains strong. It does appear that video card prices are slightly offer the peaks — but cards are still hard to obtain at MSRP, and there’s no immediate reason to expect relief.

Updated on July 26, 2017, by Kevin Parrish to reflect current prices.

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