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K-L-Waster
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Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:42 am

For the past several months almost every article about GPUs or CPUs has at least one comment in it about prices being out of whack due to miners. A frequently expressed opinion is that it's all just a passing phase and will be over soonish.

Well, it appears that the hardware manufacturers don't see it that way:

https://www.coindesk.com/asus-debuts-specialized-motherboard-for-cryptocurrency-miners/

From the article:

The B250 Mining Expert motherboard itself boasts a total of 19 PCI-Express expansion slots, compared to the 12, eight or six slots featured on competitors' products.

...

The 19 expansion slots are split into three groups, each containing 24 dedicated pins. This allows the mining rig to be connected to three power supply units at once, stabilizing the rig for multi-GPU usage. The board also boasts a variety of features likely to appeal to miners, such as live visual statistics.


Sadly for us, this may mean that elevated GPU prices are the "new normal".
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whm1974
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:45 am

So I guess we gamers are going to have to settle for lower end cards or pay higher prices for mid-range to higher end GPUs? I swear we need another GPU vendor in the PC gaming market.
 
cynan
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:57 am

If this trend persists, then GPU prices should eventually approach the prices they were selling at prior to this mining demand. The main reason for high prices is that mining hasn't been something GPU manufacturers have been able to plan supply around. If/once that changes - if mining demand persists across more than one product cycle - market forces should eventually drive prices down.Unfortunately, that could still be a numbers of months away.

Mining-specific GPUs, like those already announced by AMD/Nvidia OEMs are a step in this direction.
 
blahsaysblah
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:12 am

Can they realistically reduce the cost of a mining only card to match what the miners could recoup by selling off used cards on eBay? I guess there might be a market for used purely compute/physX cards??
 
The Egg
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:49 am

K-L-Waster wrote:
A frequently expressed opinion is that it's all just a passing phase and will be over soonish.

Well, it appears that the hardware manufacturers don't see it that way:
https://www.coindesk.com/asus-debuts-specialized-motherboard-for-cryptocurrency-miners/

Sadly for us, this may mean that elevated GPU prices are the "new normal".

I don't think it means anything. A demand exists, and Asus is selling a motherboard to meet that demand. The fact that they're doing this has no effect on the efficacy of using GPUs for mining, or the long-term outlook of cryptocurrencies in general.
 
southrncomfortjm
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:51 am

I still don't see how GPU mining is profitable at the moment. An RX 480 can earn you about $2 a day before energy costs. I just don't see how that is sustainable. At this point, I don't believe that miners are buying up tons of GPUs. I think retailers are simply being slow to reduce prices even though demand has dropped. It's also probably still taking a while to restock since every single GPU that was available was purchased through June.
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bfg-9000
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:57 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:
I think retailers are simply being slow to reduce prices even though demand has dropped.

This. It's like how gas prices rise immediately whenever some crisis shows up in the news, but take forever to drop again.
 
southrncomfortjm
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:22 pm

bfg-9000 wrote:
southrncomfortjm wrote:
I think retailers are simply being slow to reduce prices even though demand has dropped.

This. It's like how gas prices rise immediately whenever some crisis shows up in the news, but take forever to drop again.


Yeah, you'll notice that RX 580s are in stock all over Newegg (just really expensive) unlike in June when they were all out of stock.
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jihadjoe
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:26 pm

The solution to this is obviously more product segregation, kinda like how Nvidia nerfed the compute units on its consumer-oriented line of GPUs. Assuming volumes stay high enough, taping out a chip tuned to a specific workload wastes less of the wafer and thus means more profit for the manufacturer, and lower prices plus greater power efficiency for the consumer.
 
techguy
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:47 pm

jihadjoe wrote:
The solution to this is obviously more product segregation, kinda like how Nvidia nerfed the compute units on its consumer-oriented line of GPUs. Assuming volumes stay high enough, taping out a chip tuned to a specific workload wastes less of the wafer and thus means more profit for the manufacturer, and lower prices plus greater power efficiency for the consumer.


How about just plain old more product? Clearly the demand exists, and has existed for some time. It doesn't even make sense for the IHVs and their AIB partners not to take advantage of this situation by selling more products.
 
southrncomfortjm
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:50 pm

jihadjoe wrote:
The solution to this is obviously more product segregation, kinda like how Nvidia nerfed the compute units on its consumer-oriented line of GPUs. Assuming volumes stay high enough, taping out a chip tuned to a specific workload wastes less of the wafer and thus means more profit for the manufacturer, and lower prices plus greater power efficiency for the consumer.


Is compute even the big deal with ETH? I thought it was all about memory speed and latency. I didn't think it was like with BTC where AMD cards destroyed Nvidia's cards due to their compute capability.
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mikewinddale
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:06 pm

cynan wrote:
If this trend persists, then GPU prices should eventually approach the prices they were selling at prior to this mining demand. The main reason for high prices is that mining hasn't been something GPU manufacturers have been able to plan supply around. If/once that changes - if mining demand persists across more than one product cycle - market forces should eventually drive prices down.Unfortunately, that could still be a numbers of months away.


Exactly. That's what economists call the "second law of demand." It says that supply and demand both become more elastic over the long term. In plain terms, this means that consumers and producers become more responsive to prices, the more time passes.

For example, suppose gas prices doubled overnight. There wouldn't be much you could do to adapt overnight. You'd just have to suck it up and keep buying the same amount of gas as before, at double the price. But a year from now, you might buy a new apartment that is closer to work, or you might buy a smaller car. That way, you'd use less gas.

I suspect that what is happening with GPUs is similar. In the short term, GPU manufacturers cannot increase the quantity they supply, because that is a function of large, capital intensive fabs. And they can't just build new fabs overnight. But over the long-term, if mining demand continues, then manufacturers will build extra capacity, and supply will increase.
 
K-L-Waster
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:05 pm

The Egg wrote:
K-L-Waster wrote:
A frequently expressed opinion is that it's all just a passing phase and will be over soonish.

Well, it appears that the hardware manufacturers don't see it that way:
https://www.coindesk.com/asus-debuts-specialized-motherboard-for-cryptocurrency-miners/

Sadly for us, this may mean that elevated GPU prices are the "new normal".

I don't think it means anything. A demand exists, and Asus is selling a motherboard to meet that demand. The fact that they're doing this has no effect on the efficacy of using GPUs for mining, or the long-term outlook of cryptocurrencies in general.


True. It does, however, suggest that Asus at least is sufficiently convinced this market is going to be viable long enough to make selling dedicated motherboards a profitable line of business. They must expect to sell enough of these boards to cover the engineering, QC, assembly line ramp up, packaging, marketing, shipping, etc. and still turn a profit -- which would not happen if the predictions some posters are making that it will all blow over in a month or two are correct.

Now, Asus may be completely off base here and about to take a bath -- they might be moving to service a demand that is about to disappear. But I doubt it. Between the extension of the difficulty wall on Ethereum and the inevitable "next coin" (I have no idea which coin will take off next, but I think it's a cinch that there will be one) this pattern of GPUs suddenly becoming scarce and over priced is going to continue.
Main System: i5-4670K, ASUS Sabertooth Z97, 16 GB RAM, GTX 980 TI, 1 TB CRUCIAL MX500, Corsair 550D

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K-L-Waster
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:11 pm

blahsaysblah wrote:
Can they realistically reduce the cost of a mining only card to match what the miners could recoup by selling off used cards on eBay? I guess there might be a market for used purely compute/physX cards??


The other way to do it would be to make a card with an altered design that would be better at mining than a gamer card would. I'm not sure exactly what form that would take, but presumably there are components / design considerations on a GPU that are needed for 3D acceleration but are of no use for mining. Conceivably you could design a card (possibly including a variant on the chip itself) that eliminated those irrelevant components and replaced them with more mining-relevant components.

Miners would buy those because they would be better suited to mining and thus more profitable.
Main System: i5-4670K, ASUS Sabertooth Z97, 16 GB RAM, GTX 980 TI, 1 TB CRUCIAL MX500, Corsair 550D

HTPC: I5-4460, ASUS H97M-E, 8 GB RAM, GTX 970, CRUCIAL 256GB MX100, SILVERSTONE GD09B
 
The Egg
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:48 pm

K-L-Waster wrote:
The Egg wrote:
I don't think it means anything. A demand exists, and Asus is selling a motherboard to meet that demand. The fact that they're doing this has no effect on the efficacy of using GPUs for mining, or the long-term outlook of cryptocurrencies in general.


True. It does, however, suggest that Asus at least is sufficiently convinced this market is going to be viable long enough to make selling dedicated motherboards a profitable line of business. They must expect to sell enough of these boards to cover the engineering, QC, assembly line ramp up, packaging, marketing, shipping, etc. and still turn a profit -- which would not happen if the predictions some posters are making that it will all blow over in a month or two are correct.

Now, Asus may be completely off base here and about to take a bath -- they might be moving to service a demand that is about to disappear. But I doubt it. Between the extension of the difficulty wall on Ethereum and the inevitable "next coin" (I have no idea which coin will take off next, but I think it's a cinch that there will be one) this pattern of GPUs suddenly becoming scarce and over priced is going to continue.

They're taking a mild gamble, but Asus has also produced over 70 different Socket 1151 board variants, so you might be reading too much into it.
 
Kougar
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:07 pm

Anandtech has more info on the board here http://www.anandtech.com/show/11739/asu ... ions-slots

Just.... wow.

And I'm sure ASUS will reap sales on it. I bet some of the larger farmers will even make money buying this board and selling off no longer needed boards/CPU/RAM. They power savings alone will probably justify a lot of farmers to upgrade their gear around this motherboard.
 
defaultluser
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Re: Waiting for Miners to go away? Don't hold your breath

Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:46 pm

Elevated GPU prices are not "the new normal," it will just take longer than 2-4 months after launch for demand to be met. Until there's enough sustained demand to pay for more fabs. Hey, it could happen :D

Remember when you couldn't buy a 6GB GTX 1060 for less than $400? Now there are several on Newegg for under $275. The 1070 will take longer because it's a better card, but it won't take forever. And the GTX 1080/Ti has always been unaffected by mining.

Despite the enticing money to be made, there is a finite market for GPU mining. There's a maximum number of cards a single person can reasonably keep running, and then there's the analysis you have to do to make sure you're running the best alt-coin at any given time. And not all PC gamers have the temperament of a System Administrator.

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