High-End Gaming GPUs Disappear From Store Shelves

GPU availability is back to being awful again.

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It used to be fairly cheap and easy to get into PC gaming, especially in late 2016. Performance for your dollar was at an all-time high and all was right in the gaming hardware market. As we reported 8 months ago, the rise of value in various cryptocurrencies caused a run on consumer gaming GPUs that left retailers empty-handed and gamers frustrated. As some of the crypto-hype died down, the retail channel was replenished with GPUs in each price segment (at least for NVIDIA cards). As we sit in the middle of January 2018, any gains made in GPU availability or price stability have gone out the window again.

Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toes back in the water, the cryptocurrency market experienced price spikes in December and just recently in January. Predictably, the promise of riches has driven prospectors to buy up all available GPU stock just like they did at the end of last spring. Because the squeeze from crypto speculators wasn’t enough, the months-long DRAM price hike is also driving up GPU prices.

As anyone who has recently priced out a new PC can tell you, RAM got expensive. A 16GB DDR4 kit that would have set you back $80 in January of 2017 now costs $200. As most of the world’s new smartphones started transitioning to DDR4, the available supply for it began to dry up and prices increased accordingly. The top memory producers claim they are working at capacity to meet the demand, but some suspect price fixing shenanigans. It would not be the first time it happened.

Crypto speculation, stock shortages, and soaring memory costs have combined to inflate the prices of GPUs to levels above what we saw in the middle of last year in some cases. At the time of this writing, internet PC parts retailer NewEgg had one NVIDIA GTX 1080 card left in stock, a PNY blower card, for $599. This represents a markup of $100 on that particular model. If you want or need a GTX 1080, this is the only game in town. The rest of the 1080s are shown as out of stock or have been delisted entirely. Pricing and availability for the midrange GTX 1070 is just as bad. There are no GTX 1070 cards available on NewEgg at this time. The same goes for the enthusiast GTX 1080 Ti.

As expected, the story for AMD GPUs is no different. NewEgg has 3 Polaris-powered RX 580 cards left in stock and each of them is carrying a $100 premium over MSRP. Even mentioning AMD’s high-end RX Vega cards seems like a waste of time as the cards have been notoriously unavailable since launch last August.

There seems to be no end in sight to the GPU madness or the memory price spikes that exacerbate the problem. This is just about the worst time a person could choose to build a new PC, and not just because the new CPU you buy comes preloaded with massive security flaws. There has never been a better time to be a PC gamer. 2017 was filled to the brim with awesome and just about anything that wasn’t a Nintendo Switch exclusive was best experience on a PC. It’s too bad that current conditions have made getting into the game so costly and frustrating.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 10, 2018 9:00 AM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, High-End Gaming GPUs Disappear From Store Shelves

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 9:03 AM

      I wish there was an easy way for me to crypto mine as a direct way of paying off my student loans.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 9:41 AM

        Lol, that would be great.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 10:06 AM

        I mean, you could run an autominer, cash out every month, and then pay your loans with the money.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 9:09 AM

      Aaaand they're gone. If I can get good money for my 1080 Ti I might just ditch it. No real backup but a 1050 Ti but I've not been playing a lot of 3D games outside pubg... Probably will survive until the next crash.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 9:17 AM

        that a 2gb card? Going to put your fps down in the toilet @ 1440p probably until volta comes out.

        • reply
          January 10, 2018 10:38 AM

          It's a 4gb card, but not sure its going to matter with everything turned down.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 9:21 AM

        I just checked eBay and my card going used for $200 more than I paid for it and now I'm wondering if I should do this to fund a future Volta purchase...

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          January 10, 2018 9:47 AM

          Quick check on ebay seems its not really worth it.

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            January 10, 2018 10:04 AM

            If in another month 1080tis are going for 1100-1200 it will be hard to resist.

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              January 10, 2018 10:36 AM

              Yeah somewhere around that I have to wonder if it isn't worth it to sell and live with shit gaming for a while until the next crash. $200 isnt worth it to me.

              • reply
                January 10, 2018 10:44 AM

                I have to wonder if the GTX 1180 will be $750-800 at launch. The 1080 was so I'd assume it would be the same thing.

                • reply
                  January 10, 2018 10:59 AM

                  Well eth should be moving to proof of stake at some point, and IIRC that might mean the bottom drops out on GPU mining as eth seems to be the dominant one driving the GPU mining.

                  Another coin might still run well on GPUs, but then we're back to the ROI calculations on those until they go to the moon and fuck it all up again.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 11:02 AM

        Wish I held on to my 1070 when I got the 1080 ti too, :P

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 11:51 AM

        Yo, I'll give you a cool 250$ for it. No joke.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 9:10 AM

      Thankfully I grabbed a 1070ti a couple weeks ago.

      I'm not mining, just for gaming. Mostly Star Citizen.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 10:39 AM

        Oh good job not investing in a bubble

        • reply
          January 10, 2018 12:28 PM

          Only paid $480, during a newegg sale. That's only $30 above MSRP, so I did pretty well.

          • reply
            January 11, 2018 12:35 AM

            Yeah but how many spaceships do you own

            • reply
              January 11, 2018 5:52 AM

              4.

              An Origin 325a that was my original pledge.
              A Dragonfly spacebike because spacebike.
              Those are paid for. Altogether about a hundred bucks.

              An Anvil Gladiator bomber, won in a referral contest back at the beginning of 2013.
              And a Drake Cutlass I won in a streamer drawing.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 9:14 AM

      I experienced this second-hand the other day as well: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=37107153#item_37107153

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      January 10, 2018 9:15 AM

      So this means prices are going to go up?

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 9:23 AM

      My 380 will last another year it seems. So annoying.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 4:30 PM

        I have 2 380x's. So 90% of the time I'm kinda "meh" like you. 10% of the time I'm like "fuck yeah who needs a 1080?"

    • Zek
      reply
      January 10, 2018 9:24 AM

      Everything about this is so stupid. Fortunately my PC is still good to go until next gen.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 9:46 AM

      it was super fucking weird to see 1080tis in stock, then instantly not in stock.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 9:48 AM

      I am so happy I snagged my 1080ti when I did.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 9:51 AM

      I got a new system December 2016 and I think all the parts except for the cpu now cost 40% more than what I paid for. Crazy

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        January 10, 2018 10:12 AM

        I built a computer for my daughter in July and 8gb of DDR4 ram was $65. I just paid $107 for the same ram for the computer I am building for myself. We couldn’t even get her a video card. Even 1060s were hard to find. Fortunately, a buddy of mine gave us his old 780ti to put in her machine.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 11:01 AM

      On a related note, shout-out to Wadmaasi for selling me his 980Ti last year. My old card was on its last legs and I was looking at $400+ for a new card, due to the cryptomining craze. He sold me his old one for $225 -- which was significantly less than anything else I could find, and from sketchy sources to boot -- and now I can max most of the sliders on my games (Killing Floor 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider, etc) without worrying about slowdown or on-screen corruption / artifacts.

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      January 10, 2018 11:39 AM

      Where would be the best place to sell my old RX 480? I see them going for 300+ easily on ebay. I've heard a bunch of scam stories though of people getting ripped off and ebay telling the seller to pound sand. I've never sold anything on ebay. Amazon marketplace or another third party that I don't know about?

      My vega 64 is going for twice what I paid for it but then I would have nothing to replace it with.

      • rms
        reply
        January 10, 2018 11:48 AM

        Not a chance I'm selling my launch vega. AMD won't have any updates til fall, Navi is 2019. I doubt Nvidia feels any need to release a nextgen card.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 11:40 AM

      I think crypto might become an eco disaster

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 11:53 AM

      As someone who appreciates GPU's for gaming, this really pisses me off. I hope the cryoto-madness ends soon, and with extreme losses for all involved.

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        January 10, 2018 12:03 PM

        Maybe its time for the rebirth of software mode rendering!

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 12:02 PM

      Ugh, So many band wagoners, fuck crypto.

    • reply
      January 10, 2018 1:18 PM

      So fucking annoying. At least my 1080 will last me another year or two hopefully and this shit will calm down.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 1:47 PM

        Unless you were planning on rolling with 4K, you will probably be ok over the next 12 months.

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          January 10, 2018 2:24 PM

          not much content I'd even want at 4k. borderlands 3, maybe, or a new splinter cell.

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          January 10, 2018 3:15 PM

          Nope. I'm fine with my 1440p 144hz GSync for awhile.

      • reply
        January 10, 2018 4:31 PM

        Unless your target is 120hz 1440p on every new game, I don't see why that card shouldn't last more than two years.

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      January 10, 2018 2:20 PM

      Maybe I should sell this Titan X I have laying around.. Hardly uses any power

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      January 10, 2018 4:33 PM

      looks like im hangin onto my 970 for a bit longer