AMD graphics cards for PCs are running in short supply as a new generation of bitcoin adopters drive demand for hardware to mine the cryptocurrency.
The dramatic rise of bitcoin prices – bitcoin has gained nearly 200% in 2017 – is sparking off a resurgence in small-scale cryptocurrency mining, according to hardware manufacturing giant AMD.
AMD, which is known to compete with Intel in the processor industry, is also a giant in the PC gaming market. The space is dominated by a duopoly between Nvidia and AMD, who manufacture standalone graphics cards or GPUs. GPUs are typically used for graphics intensive activities such as gaming or video editing. They are also useful for mining cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum.
AMD points to a “solid demand” for its new GPU product line from cryptocurrency miners.
“The gaming market remains our priority,” CNBC cites an AMD spokesperson as stating, who added:
We are seeing solid demand for our Polaris-based offerings in the gaming and newly resurgent cryptocurrency mining markets based on the strong performance we are delivering.
AMD’s flagship GPU models Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 are sold out at most major retailers including Amazon, Newegg and Best Buy.
Vendors who are selling the GPUs are doing so at inflated price tags. A more exhaustive investigation by Germany’s Computer Base blaming cryptocurrency mining for the cause of the AMD GPU shortage can be found here.
A surge in GPU-based mining saw a similar shortage in late 2013 when Bitcoin and Litecoin miners drove demand. In 2017, it’s Ethereum, along with bitcoin, that’s catching the attention of miners.
One analyst who ran a recent comparison test of Nvidia and AMD GPUs mining for Bitcoin and Ethereum stated:
In a small-scale environment (mining Etherum) the profitability is higher given that the Network rate is materially lower at ~38K GH/s when compared to Bitcoin at 4.858 billion GH/s.
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