Poll: How has the Ethereum craze affected your graphics card plans?

The many Radeons and GeForces in the TR labs aren't being harnessed for the Ethereum cryptocurrency craze, but many other prospective tycoons have been buying AMD Radeon RX 570s and Radeon RX 580s by the truckload to take a crack at getting some of that digital dinero in their wallets. That means retailers have largely been able to sell through their stocks of Polaris 10 and Polaris 20 cards even with stickers many hundreds of dollars more than AMD's suggested retail price, leaving midrange system builders without a shot at our favorite affordable graphics cards.

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 cards aren't immune from the craze, either. Our preferred GTX 1060 6GB cards are now selling for about $300 and up, while GTX 1070s are selling for nearly as much as the GTX 1080. If you're after a GTX 1060, it's still possible to get one for a relatively reasonable price, but gamers shopping for a GTX 1070 now have little reason not to go for a fully-enabled GP104 card. On the other hand, GTX 1080 Tis seem safe from miners for now, assuming $700-and-up graphics cards weren't an obstacle to your wallet in the first place.

Ethereum's price seems to be on a downward swing at the moment, so it's possible graphics card prices may slowly return to normalcy in the near term. Still, we're wondering how this cryptocurrency-fueled gold rush has affected regular system builders that read TR. Have you been forced to buy a lower-performing card than you wanted to stay on budget? Have you held off buying the card you wanted in hopes that Ethereum miners would have to move on to other methods? Or did you choose to step up to a higher-performing card as prices for midrange pixel-pushers skyrocketed? Let us know using the poll options below.

Comments closed
    • TwistedKestrel
    • 2 years ago

    Have been using a 7950 that runs hot (oc’ed or not doesn’t make much of a difference) and was finally ready to pull the trigger on an RX 580 and then the Etherium thing happened. Put a Coollaboratory liquid metal pad on it and crank the fans to 100% as a band-aid for now, I’m expecting that I will have to sit out Polaris entirely (do not want an nVidia card)

    • Dysthymia
    • 2 years ago

    I’d been folding with my GTX 970 and RX 480, and when I realized how much I could get for the cards if I wanted to sell them, I switched to mining.

    I’ve been saving my money for so long planning to buy Vega. Now I don’t know if I should snap up a reference card immediately, or if the miners will disrupt the market before I can get a nice aftermarket version.

    …I don’t think I’ll be switching back to folding anytime soon.

    • Klimax
    • 2 years ago

    Fortunately I already got mine Titan X Pascal. (NVidia, fixed that bloody naming next time!)

    • Ifalna
    • 2 years ago

    Bought my 1070 last Nov, don’t understand crypto mining though.
    Factoring in the initial cost + electricity cost (quite expensive in Germany) + degradation of hardware, is it even possible to make an actual profit or are the people just betrayed by seeing the counter on their screens?

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      Based on some simple math, a week of mining pays my mining electric bill easily, rest is all profit. Everything is undervolted, temps are around 67c, and fans at 20%, so that should reduce wear on system. Based on all that… Yeah I have no idea if I’ll make money.

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      Actually did some real (but still rough) math using the highest rate my power company charges me. I figure 400 watts total to run my PC and my laptop (a high guess considering the undervolting. I have a killawatt device somewhere…..) costs me about $10 a month, and that’s only if all the power I use for it is above 400 kw/hs which is where the power gets more expensive. Mining theoretically earns my $75-90 a month, so $65-80 profit.

      That’s enough to pay for my going in 3-4 months, and pays for the laptop in another 10, Nott that I got either just for mining. Not insane profit, but not worth passing up either.

        • Ifalna
        • 2 years ago

        Napkin math with your throughput and wattage:
        400W x 30 x 24h = 288KWh

        1KWh = 0.35 € = 100 € of electricity cost.

        Profit of 82.5 $ = 72.14 €

        Net gain: -27.86 € per month.

        Pretty much as I thought, not worth it with my current electricity prices.
        Thanks for providing the data.

          • southrncomfortjm
          • 2 years ago

          That’s some pretty expensive power.

            • Ifalna
            • 2 years ago

            Not really, those prices are quite normal for us.
            It does make you think twice about letting devices run unnecessarily though.

    • freebird
    • 2 years ago

    There is no Poll question that states the Ethereum craze made me craZy and buy 2 new 1060s & 2 new 1070s to add to my 2 R9 290s in my mining rig…

    Although, my 2nd 1070 I had to pay $499 for a EVGA Hybrid (it has a AIO cooler attached). I had to pay a little more, but I plan on running it in SLI with the other 1070 once the mining craze blows over and the AIO cooler keeps the 1070 GPU mining at 46c.

    Just hoping the price stays up for another month or 2 so I can pay off the cards…should have my 1st complete Ethereum coin by tomorrow morning.

    • heinsj24
    • 2 years ago

    I was waiting for Vega to appear before buying a new video card but after seeing how much I can sell my R9 390 for I might just ditch the desktop and only use my laptop.

    The R470 in the laptop is great for 1080p; every bit the equal of the 390 at least.

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      Amazing, an AMD GPU powered laptop. Rarely see those.

      Shoot, you could probably mine with the laptop and do pretty well.

    • Kretschmer
    • 2 years ago

    1080Ti. Immune to the craze.

      • moshpit
      • 2 years ago

      Same.

      • Krogoth
      • 2 years ago

      It is affected by it. Not to the degree as with 1070 and 1080.

    • Anovoca
    • 2 years ago

    My 970 still has all the grunt I need for the JRPGs and blizzard titles I play. That said, I will keep my eye closely on Vega and if I think the price is right, I will make the switch. That move, however, would be mostly for the purpose of buying into freesync support; an investment I am sure will pay for itself over keeping my 970 and trying to pay the gsync tax on 3 new monitors.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 2 years ago

      Why would you have to pay the G-Sync premium on 3 monitors? Do you game with 3 monitors simultaneously?

    • jokinin
    • 2 years ago

    I bought an ASUS GTX1060 6GB OC Dual last year, which perfectly fits my needs in 1080p gaming. Now I’ve seen its price has gone up from 299€uro to 379, and there are even more expensive GTX1060 models (>400€).
    If I had to buy now, I’d stick my my old Radeon HD7870 until prices come down to a reasonable level.

    • Misel
    • 2 years ago

    Two years ago, I bought an R9 290X on eBay instead of a retailer and still paid quite a fortune.

    Now, I’m waiting for Vega and fear that the situation will be the same.

    • Zizy
    • 2 years ago

    If anyone was buying 7950 I would have sold the card, not buy something new.
    With these prices, I will stick to that card for a while I guess. Plus civ5 and aow aren’t really demanding 🙂

    Now if X1X was released already could be used for mining too, I could see it easily outselling iPhone right now (supply permitting) 😀

    • Fieryphoenix
    • 2 years ago

    I didn’t vote because none of the option fit. I already had a 1080 Ti, and I bought another one after I tried Nicehash for a day. While it’s not going to make near as much as it seemed that first day, it will pay for itself, and I will end up either using it for SLI when I get a 4k display next year, or I will use it to enlarge my VR room by moving my computer and its desk elsewhere and making a VR dedicated rig.

    • Major-Failure
    • 2 years ago

    When the craze dies down, be careful with buying used cards, because mining can leave them in a functional, yet unstable condition. So they will run fine, but crash for no obvious reason.

    I was amazed when I discovered I could run a 2160p resolution on a Core i5-4690 IGP (Intel HD4000 something something) without a problem, so that’s what I’m doing. No need for a dedicated card, even when gaming (I switch to 1080p and play “old” games, but I will probably buy the future equivalent of a 1060/1070 eventually I think).

      • auxy
      • 2 years ago

      Yes, Intel HD 4600 is [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=106680<]quite capable.[/url<] (ΦωΦ)

    • odizzido
    • 2 years ago

    I voted for I bought my Radeon or GeForce before prices shot up and it’s true….but a much more accurate statement is I got a 970 back in 2014 so I got it before the US dollar went up and before video card prices rocketed from the mining craze.

    The 970 I am running is more than adequate for me and I have no plans to get a new one.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Voted option 5 but I honestly don’t have any plans at all to replace my 4.5yo HD7770.

    • NovusBogus
    • 2 years ago

    I’m waiting for Volta/Vega, so no effect here.

    • albundy
    • 2 years ago

    still running a really cheap refurbed 4GB r9 290…for another year or three. way more than enough than i will ever need for now. i doubt DX13 will be out anytime soon. so yeah, no rush.

    • synthtel2
    • 2 years ago

    This is one of many reasons I’m glad my 960 is still mostly good enough.

    • JosiahBradley
    • 2 years ago

    I bought a 1080 Ti with the money I made selling my 290Xs to an assumed miner. The craze has treated me quite well.

    • CuttinHobo
    • 2 years ago

    Not exactly related to the article, but it displayed an ad for bitcoinira.com, the “world’s first Ethereum IRA”. That’s what I want to do – base my retirement account on a volatile crypto currency…

    • Kougar
    • 2 years ago

    I’ve been sorely tempted to buy a 1080 Ti just so I can dump my current R9 380 GPU on ebay. Got it as a holdover card for Volta before the latest bubble craze, buI there is no way the current stupidly high selling prices will last until Volta shows up.

      • Kougar
      • 2 years ago

      I blame Tech Report. It’s all your guys fault. And Jeffs. Especially. Yes.

      Made me look up the current selling price of 380’s on eBay… Willpower failed and blew away all my EVGA bucks, but next week I will be the proud owner of a 1080 Ti Hydro.

        • southrncomfortjm
        • 2 years ago

        Congrats. You can mine exceedingly well with a 1080 Ti (just not Ethereum).

          • travbrad
          • 2 years ago

          Maybe they are one of those weirdos who uses graphics cards to play games.

          • Kougar
          • 2 years ago

          I don’t mine, just game. I do run F@H on the side and the 1080 Ti is the best GPU for that.

    • Voldenuit
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]On the other hand, GTX 1080 Tis seem safe from miners for now, assuming $700-and-up graphics cards weren't an obstacle to your wallet in the first place.[/quote<] The 1080 and 1080Ti underperform at Ethereum hashing relative to their core counts, most ppl say it's because of the large latency of GDDR5X. This is why their prices haven't been affected as much. Sold my 1070 and bought a 1080Ti at under MSRP, win-win.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    I dumped all three of my RX480 cards and also the RX580 on ebay for insane profit and I’ve put the GTX 970 into my PC for the moment.

    I can probably afford to buy a new 1080Ti rig and an entry level gaming laptop with the proceeds, though I seem to have accidentally bought a new washing machine and booked a couple of transatlantic flights instead.

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      How do these things happen?! You really need to be more responsible with your massive mining profits.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        I kno rite?
        I was just like “ooh look loadsa money” and then I accidentally a washing machine.

          • southrncomfortjm
          • 2 years ago

          Why wash clothes when you can just buy new clothes with all your crazy GPU money?

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      It’s nice to sell if you have a good backup card or are willing to quit gaming for essentially the rest of the year.
      I found that if I sell, then buy back another (used) RX480 when the bubble bursts, I’d basically be wasting my profit on buying a new card. It only made sense for me to upgrade (Vega) if my card sells.

        • southrncomfortjm
        • 2 years ago

        Moral of the story – buy plenty of extra GPUs in every generation in case there is a mining craze.

    • Audacity
    • 2 years ago

    Maybe TR should go with the flow and include cryptocurrency benchmarks in future GPU reviews. 🙂

      • Krogoth
      • 2 years ago

      Not going to happen.

      Cryptocurrency mining is a energy credit backed by more shady characters than governments and banks.

    • slowriot
    • 2 years ago

    The quality of new AAA games, or more accurately the lack thereof, has affected my graphics cards plans way more than the Ethereum boom.

      • NovusBogus
      • 2 years ago

      Same here, really. My anticipated future high end graphics needs are based on Star Citizen and Cyberpunk 2077, neither of which will be fully baked for at least another GPU generation. In the meantime, there’s loads and loads of pretty good small-dev games that strike my fancy but they’re mostly Unity based and run on just about anything.

      • odizzido
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, system requirements have been pretty tame recently. I have some pretty old hardware and it still runs anything that is made well. The things that don’t run well simply run poorly even on top of the line hardware.

    • firewired
    • 2 years ago

    I sold my GPU for more than I paid for it, so I have no complaints.

    I will be selling my PC as a bare bones as well. I change hardware often enough that I find it too time-consuming and annoying to work with PC cases any longer.

    I bought the Open Bench Table and will use the money gained from selling my other gear to buy some new parts to mount into the OBT. I have plenty of desktop space for the OBT and keeping it dust-free will be easier than a cleaning a typical PC case.

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 2 years ago

    Anyone have a rough idea how long a consumer GPU of decent quality will last running 24/7? Just wondering. I’ve got my 480 set at a nice underclock/volt, so temps are always at 74c and fans are at 15% (about 650-700 rpm).

      • BurntMyBacon
      • 2 years ago

      Depends on how cool you can keep it. I’ve had an EVGA 780Ti SC running 24/7 folding@home for about 3.5 years. I’ve kept the base/boost clocks at 1006/1072 vs 876/928 for a stock 780Ti. The only time it isn’t folding is when it’s gaming. No problems whatsoever. Of course, I have a water block on it and a pretty hefty radiator and the core temperatures never exceed 32C ever (usually sub-30C). I don’t remember specifically what VRMs hit, but they are also pretty good. I was actually thinking about selling it soon, but the cryptocraze has me considering selling my newer cards instead.

    • Demetri
    • 2 years ago

    Picked option 1 because I sold my 470 while the price is inflated and bought a cheap 460 to get by until prices drop back down. Figured I’d probably buy Vega when that comes out, but after seeing Vega FE’s performance and power consumption, I may just get another P10, or switch to Nvidia if I get a new monitor.

    • deruberhanyok
    • 2 years ago

    Would have liked a “wish I had just loaded up on cheap RX 470s a few months back” poll option. I took the cheese instead.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      Back when they were $130 in January? Yeah, me too.

    • Takeshi7
    • 2 years ago

    I wasn’t planning on any new graphics cards in the foreseeable future, but because of this craze I bought 6 1050 Ti’s and started mining on them.

    P.S. I got a lot of extra keys for Rocket League if anyone wants one. You have to have a 1050 Ti installed as the main GPU in order to redeem it though.

    • Firestarter
    • 2 years ago

    Not as much as the freesync/gsync divide has. I just don’t feel like buying into proprietary technology or settling for a mid-range card, and buying a graphics card without a monitor or vice versa makes little sense for me. So until AMD gets back into the high end or Nvidia stops their anti-consumerist nonsense, I’m just going to stay in 1080p land. I hope that by the time that situation ends graphics card production will have caught up with crypto-miner demand

    • Concupiscence
    • 2 years ago

    I seriously considered selling my 8 gig RX 480 a little while back – paying $200 and potentially making $500 sounds like great math – until realizing that even Nvidia’s kit is being snapped up by miners, and I’d have nothing to replace it with at a reasonable price point. I may as well hold onto it and ride this ridiculous new cycle out.

      • The Egg
      • 2 years ago

      For $500 profit, I’d be fine with taking a break for a few months.

        • southrncomfortjm
        • 2 years ago

        $300 profit. That’s great and all until you consider you don’t really know when GPUs will be normal price again. The GTX 1080 may be the only GPU at MSRP left, and that’ a solid $500, so you’d be paying $200 on top of your $300 profit for that.

        Either way, even if you went in and got a 480 after all calmed down, you’d only make a $100 profit after spending $200 on your new 480.

          • the
          • 2 years ago

          If you could sell the RX 480 for $500 and then pick up a GTX 1080 for $500, it would be a nice upward performance increase.

          • The Egg
          • 2 years ago

          Not sure about your math there. If you made $300 [i<]profit[/i<], that would mean in addition to making back the 200 spent on the card. If you spend the original 200 again a few months later, you still have the $300 profit. In any case, it's all about the individual, their situation, and what they're able to tolerate. I still have a GTX660 on hand, and would be perfectly fine playing indie games or less graphically intense titles for a while. Some may be able to go without gaming entirely, or just play on a different platform.

            • southrncomfortjm
            • 2 years ago

            That doesn’t work because you are forgetting you still paid for the original card. You can’t spend that original $200 again, it’s gone, but covered by $200 from the sale, leaving you with $300. If you buy another card for $200, then you have $100 left.

            • K-L-Waster
            • 2 years ago

            Well, no… you have $100 + 1 video card.

            • BurntMyBacon
            • 2 years ago

            You are overthinking things. Here’s the scenario:
            1) I have $200 in my hands
            2) I exchange $200 for an RX480 before cryptocraze. I now have an RX480 in my hands
            3) Cryptocraze hits. I exchange my RX480 for $500. I now have $500 in my hands.
            4) Cryptocraze passes. I exchange $200 for an RX480. I now have $300 and an RX480 in my hands.

            [quote=”southrncomfortjm”<]You can't spend that original $200 again, it's gone ...[/quote<] The $200 was returned with the sale of the card (along with an additional $300). You can indeed spend it again and still have an additional $300 afterwards (in this scenario).

    • Veerappan
    • 2 years ago

    I had been planning on replacing my aging Radeon 7850 after the Vega gaming variants came out with either a RX 480/580 or a Vega, depending on the pricing structure… Now, I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to do.

    I’m only running 1920×1200@60hz, and that card has served fairly well for the backlog of games in my Steam catalog, but there’s definitely places where it’s showing its age.

    Hopefully the craze will die down and I can get a decent non-nVidia card in the $175-250 range in the next 6 months… I don’t know how much I should even get my hopes up.

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      It’s a bubble/craze, it will die down. Maybe. Hopefully.

        • Takeshi7
        • 2 years ago

        I’m not so sure. With the Bitcoin craze back when that was a thing, the graphics card prices didn’t go down until ASICs came out and made the GPUs obsolete. But since it will be much more cost prohibitive to develop an ASIC for ethereum compared to bitcoin, I think this shortage will last much longer.

          • southrncomfortjm
          • 2 years ago

          What about this proof of stake thing that’s happening? I’ve heard that may calm things down.

            • Takeshi7
            • 2 years ago

            That might be true, but I’m skeptical of that because from what I’ve read that’s not for another two versions of Ethereum, and they’re still working out all of the specifics of how that algorithm will work. Nothing’s set in stone yet.

            • southrncomfortjm
            • 2 years ago

            I just don’t understand how its supposed to calm things down.

          • the
          • 2 years ago

          While I haven’t looked around, you’d think that some of the FPGA boards for mining in the Bitcoin days could be repurposed for Ethereum.

            • freebird
            • 2 years ago

            The Ethereum algorithm was designed to be non-ASIC friendly… it needs VERY FAST memory/bandwidth and currently a 3 GB minimum for the DAG file ( 2GB was exceeded in June of 2017), which is growing every several days.
            From a posting on Ethereum Stack exchange:

            The DAG started at 1 GB at the time of the Frontier launch, and increases by approximately 0.73x per year. That puts the current size at roughly 1.35 GB as of mid-January 2016 (feel free to comment with an exact link if anyone has one).

            Following the same crude approximation:

            The 2GB limit will be hit around mid-December 2016 (*Actually was hit in June 2017)
            The 3GB limit will be hit around mid-April 2018
            The 4GB limit will be hit around mid-September 2019

            However, it’s likely that the switch to PoS will occur long before then

            It was estimated that the DAG file (sits in GPU memory) won’t surpass 4GB until 2019, but they may change the PoW (Proof of Work) to PoS (Proof of Stake) before then, which would completely change it’s mining worth.

        • dyrdak
        • 2 years ago

        I could understand the valuation of bitcoin as non-inflationary “asset”. But the problem all crypto-currencies share is that anyone can come up with new scheme and thus fragment the market and/or devalue the rest. I can’t see long term appeal of bitcoin copy-cats (unless someone found major weakness in bitcoin that led to its collapse). We’ll see what’s the RoI for all this GPU “investments”.

      • Blytz
      • 2 years ago

      I’m with you, I had a 5850 and when I went Ryzen I just grabbed a 2 gig RX460 (you can’t mine with them so they were available)

      Step up in performance for me, for you not as much, but it’s a slight nudge.

      Upside is 1/2 the power draw and better frame rate. Also runs of the pci slot (no additional power to the board)

    • LostCat
    • 2 years ago

    I don’t know. It’s looking increasingly unlikely I’ll replace my GPU before I get an Xbox One X and after that I probably won’t even care anymore, so I’m just watching and waiting.

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      One you get the Xbox, there’s little reason to have a gaming PC as well unless there are some real PC exclusives you just have to have. If my GPU had stayed sold, I probably would have just gotten a PS4 and caught up on PC games next year.

    • Goofus Maximus
    • 2 years ago

    Ethereum is such a craze, that this article’s title is literally the very first time I’ve even heard of it, and the article is the first time I even found out what it was.

    I still can’t see any of the cryptocurrencies as anything but a speculative bubble, but then, when you think of it, this is true for any currency that is used in place of pure barter.

      • just brew it!
      • 2 years ago

      Well, anyone who’s been wondering about the recent massive runup in GPU prices and looked into the reasons for it has heard of Ethereum.

        • Goofus Maximus
        • 2 years ago

        That explains why I didn’t know then, since I wasn’t looking. 🙂

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      I’d just look at the $2300+ price for bitcoin now, and how at the height of the “craze” when GPUs were skyrocketing years ago, bitcoin was only worth a few hundred dollars.

      All in all, its better to just buy the coins than try to mine them.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 2 years ago

        *Assuming* they all follow the same track as Bitcoin…

      • Dashak
      • 2 years ago

      This isn’t exactly wrong (money is really only a container for value rather than value itself), but you’re also referencing the great anthropology myth that there was ever a pre-money society that used barter internally.

    • w76
    • 2 years ago

    I’m getting old. I “game” (a simple 4X with basic graphics) with the integrated Kaby Lake iGPU in my laptop these days, a couple hours a week.

    So, I get to sit back and look at all this and hope that AMD is able to take advantage while the times are good, they certainly need the money. Old AMD wouldn’t of expected the possibility and would be utterly supply constrained, unable to ramp, and too slow to raise prices, so would’ve totally missed the boat. Maybe today’s AMD has a little more savvy?

      • ImSpartacus
      • 2 years ago

      The problem is the inevitable crash and how it will flood the market with used cards.

      The used market is WHY miners prefer gaming cards. They can get a decent portion of their investment back of necessary. Can’t do that with an ASIC.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Can there be a “card currently for sale” option!?!

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 2 years ago

    Bought a GTX 1070 for 370 euros. Thinking of selling it. Had a RX 470 and sold it before the current cryptocraze began.

      • Concupiscence
      • 2 years ago

      Only reason I’d stress caution is that it may not be easy to replace it at a reasonable price point once it’s gone. The price environment’s just silly.

        • southrncomfortjm
        • 2 years ago

        Same. I sold my 480, but then was actually kind of happy when it was returned as “defective” (it worked perfectly fine, pretty sure the guy just reconsidered his $560 purchase when he found out it would take 7 months to recoup his investment) since I didn’t feel like spending $500-700 on a 1080 or 1080 Ti as the only MSR priced cards left.

        • the
        • 2 years ago

        Very silly indeed. You could probably trade that GTX 1070 for a GTX 1080 considering it is more efficient at mining due the lower latency of GDDR5 vs. GDDR5X.

    • Philldoe
    • 2 years ago

    I still don’t see a need to upgrade from my 980Ti. Games just don’t need more GPU power.. well not until I find a Monitor over 1080p that fits my nearly impossible requirements.

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 2 years ago

    Where’s the “Sold my RX 480 for $560, but since the buyer didn’t know WTF he was doing, ended up returning it so now I have my 480 mining instead” option?

      • Philldoe
      • 2 years ago

      Ignore.. this was not meant to be a reply…

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