The Cost Of The Mining Boom

If it isn’t clear by now, the day of cryptocurrency is upon us. Despite a bumpy start to 2018, ‘miners’ all over the world are still building rigs with the industry-leading desktop GPUs. No one could have predicted the crisis that cryptocurrency would cause for PC gaming.

As gamers will know, keeping a gaming desktop up-to-date requires regular upgrades in the form of solid-state drives, processors and, perhaps most importantly, video cards. Unfortunately, video cards are the main source of power for mining rigs to complete their equations and generate currency over time.

The popularity of cryptocurrency mining has risen the demand for top-level and mid-level graphics cards through the roof. Those gamers looking to purchase their cards for the legitimate purpose — gaming — are the ones paying the price. In some cases, major retailers are getting away with charging more than double the suggested retail price for cards of all varieties.

It will be interesting to see how card manufacturers react to the growing shortage. They’ve already implored retailers to limit miners from buying several cards in one visit, but the numbers don’t lie: Micro Center and similar retailers have no incentive to make any change at all. In fact, doing so would be a deliberate assault on their bottom lines. Any regulations set against mining-specific purchases must be put into play by NVIDIA and AMD.

At large, the worst possible outcome would be a premature ending of the current PC gaming ‘golden age’ we’ve enjoyed for the past two years. Unreasonable prices could send gamers right back to consoles. Though not even as powerful as mid-level gaming PCs, consoles come with the benefit of staying at a consistent price.