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GPU Shortages & BitMining

Photograph by Andrey Rudakov / Bloomberg / Getty

Governments around the world are considering whether to cut down on cryptocurrency mining.

Attributed to concerns about its environmental impact.

Three state-run Chinese financial agencies warned Chinese banks not to provide their customers with any services relating to bitcoin and other virtual currencies, including trading, storage, or acceptance as a means of payment.

(According to some estimates, the electronic mining of new bitcoin consumes more energy than do midsize countries like Argentina and the Netherlands.)


The Shortage of AMD and Nvidia GPUs Causes Gamers Grief

The latest-gen gaming hardware promised to make a real difference in the gaming and technological world. This new generation of gaming included the latest PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, the Nvidia RTX 30-series lineup, and the AMD RDNA2 series of GPUs. Even though it has been around six months since their release, most consumers still haven't gotten a chance to upgrade their systems/setups for many reasons, including limited stock availability. Especially in the PC GPU market, prices of GPUs skyrocketed just after their releases, and currently, you can hardly get your hands on one of these latest-gen GPUs. Finding one latest-gen GPU for their launch prices or at least for reasonable prices is impossible, and finding stock of them is similarly hard. So what might be really causing this massive worldwide GPU shortage?

As GPUs have gone scarce as hens' teeth, people have already started pointing fingers at who they think might be responsible for this historical shortage. Consumers, especially gamers, have started blaming crypto miners for the worldwide GPU shortage, but without proper evidence, the question of who caused the real shortage still stands. It is not a secret that cryptocurrency mining has become a flourishing market, and the number of investors for it grows by the day. Especially the COVID-19 global pandemic encouraged more miners to join the market. This ultimately caused a great demand for GPUs in 2020.

Even though crypto miners contribute to a huge share of the current GPU demand, they aren't exactly the only reason or even the main reason for the shortage. Just like in all other markets, the global pandemic has also affected the GPU market by creating a higher demand and restricting the supply.

The pandemic has forced people to stay at home and work from home, and most people have made this an opportunity to either upgrade their PC setups or build new ones altogether. This has greatly increased the demand for GPUs in the mid to late 2020.

When Will Things Get Back to Normal?

Still, the demand for GPUs easily exceeds the supply. This is predicted to last for at least another year. The semiconductor manufacturers are slowly recovering, and things are getting back to normal but really slowly. The semiconductor demand comes from not only the GPU manufacturers but all sorts of tech industries such as mobile phones, CPUs, and even automobiles. Experts and Nvidia themselves predict that shortages likely to continue at least until Q4 2021, if not into 2022, and AMD fans can expect the same.


Nvidia isn’t the only company looking to stop cryptocurrency miners buying-up its GPUs, as it appears Ethereum is also looking to help put a stop to the ongoing graphics card shortage.

Currently, the mining of Ethereum is powered almost exclusively by graphics cards, something that has contributed massively to the ongoing GPU shortage that’s made it near impossible for PC gamers to get their hands on Nvidia RTX 3000 and AMD Radeon RX 6000-series cards.

The change means that, rather than relying on GPU power, the network itself will verify transactions, or blocks, according to their stake in Ethereum - which could, in turn, mean less demand for graphics cards.

If successful, the new Proof-of-Stake model would cut Ethereum's power use by up to 99.95%, the foundation claims, and means the cryptocurrency will be almost 7,000 times more energy-efficient than Bitcoin.


AMD’s CEO gives us hope that GPU and CPU shortages will soon improve

CEO Lisa Su has again predicted that the supply of AMD’s chips will improve as 2021 rumbles onward, and that the current chip shortage – which is making its effects felt across the entire tech industry, and not just with AMD’s GPUs and processors – is just a ‘megacycle’.

Meaning that while the tech industry in general goes through cycles of increased demand outweighing supply (or vice versa) as a matter of course, this is a particularly pronounced one, in which demand has been massively stoked by the pandemic (spiking hardware sales as a whole load of folks are now working from home rather than going to the office). Nonetheless, it’s good to hear what seem to be reasonably firm assertions that the situation will improve regarding AMD’s graphics cards and CPUs throughout 2021, and this backs up similar promises we’ve heard from the company recently.


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