The midrange graphics-card market may finally be cooling off

As any PC enthusiast knows, it's been infuriatingly difficult to purchase a midrange graphics card over the past few months. The insane demand for cryptocurrency mining power has swept up every GeForce GTX 1060, Radeon RX 570, and Radeon RX 580 that Nvidia and AMD can turn out, and the black hole of demand has even warped GeForce GTX 1070 prices. Time after time this year, we've crossed our fingers hoping that one event or another in the cryptocurrency world would be the one to make midrange graphics card prices sane again, but those hopes have been repeatedly dashed.

Recent regulatory changes in China have shut down cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, though, and that move appears to have been the needle sharp enough to finally hole the Bitcoin and Ethereum balloons. (Ed. postscript: turns out a difficulty bomb for Ethereum isn't helping, either.) After some deep plunges from their peaks this year, both currencies seem to have found a new level, albeit at prices far below their record highs.

Whether this is a long-lasting plateau can perhaps be gauged by current prices of the two graphics cards we recommend for midrange builders: the Radeon RX 580 8GB and GeForce GTX 1060 6GB. Recall that the GTX 1060 6GB carries a suggested price of $259.99, while the Radeon RX 580 8GB was meant to go for $229 and up. Until recently, though, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB SC that we like exceeded $300 at retail, and Radeon RX 580 8GB cards have commanded $400 or more. It's impossible to recommend those cards for gamers when a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 offers far better performance for not much more money. Folks without the scratch for a GTX 1080 have been shut out of the graphics card market for months, though, and that sucks. 

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB SC

As of this week, though, it seems that prices for midrange cards are on a road back to regularity. On the GTX 1060 6GB front, Newegg has one card in stock for its suggested price, and our EVGA favorite is just $15 more.

Asus RX 580 Dual 8G

Radeon RX 580 8GB cards are not much more expensive. You can get this nice-looking dual-fan Asus model for $289.99, and similar versions from MSI, Gigabyte, and Aorus are all $309.99. Yes, $60 to $80 over AMD's suggested pricing for those cards is still a big ask, but at least they're in the same ballpark as competitive Nvidia products. We're still waiting for the taming of RX 570 prices, though. Those cards are impossible to recommend for the $260 or so they're commanding right now.

Radeon RX Vega 56 (and RX Vega 64)

The slight easing of tensions may be extending to AMD's higher-end cards, too. Although Newegg still isn't selling standalone Radeon RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64 cards yet, the Radeon Black Pack versions of both cards are not far off their official prices. One can actually pick up an MSI RX Vega 56 Black Pack for the suggested $499.99 right now, and the RX Vega 64 Black Pack from Sapphire is $619.99 (or $20 over AMD's suggested price for the combo). Whether those are good values in light of the fact that you can still pick up a GTX 1080 for $500 to $550 is debatable, but they are at least not pants-on-head stupid.

All told, we can only hope that graphics card prices continue to cool off. Once again, we've got our fingers crossed. If you need a midrange card today, though, now is the best time to buy one that we've seen in months.

Comments closed
    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Ethereum is going to hard fork maybe yet this week and go to proof of stake which will kill mining for Ethereum. There are many other crypto that can be mined though, including when bitcoin 2x hard fork hits in the near future

      • Firestarter
      • 2 years ago

      proof of stake is not happening in 2017

      • willmore
      • 2 years ago

      Someone who knows about the scene should write a nice article for TR. *cough*

      • freebird
      • 2 years ago

      you didn’t read what else is happening with the “hard fork” did you?
      Ethereum mining will be more profitable than it is today after the “hard fork”, approx. what it was about a month ago…depending on total mining hash rate.

      Original Dev Call in August.
      [url<]https://www.reddit.com/r/EtherMining/comments/6t56a0/important_information_from_todays_ethereum_dev/[/url<] "After the dev call today, we now know that the update to delay the bomb into 2018 will not happen until after the bomb drop on September 24th meaning there is going to be a very tight squeeze on miners over the coming weeks [b<]([i<]currently happening right now[/i<])[/b<] , possibly to the point of it costing more in electricity for some people than what they earn. To make it easy for you to calculate, whatever you earn today (beginning of August), it will be about 19% less after August 25th. Whatever you earn then, it will be about 28% less after September 24th. Again, none of this takes into consideration rising difficulty from potential new miners coming into the network. When Metropolis Byzantium does go live, we will see the network return to approx 15sec block times however the issuance will likely reduce to 3. [b<]This means that we will essentially earn the same amount of ETH then as we will between Aug 25th and Sept 24th (3 per 15s is the same as 5 per 25s). With this happening, the only thing that will drive the difficulty of mining will be mining hash power...[/b<]" From what I've been able to gather this change occur around Oct. 17, 2017. [url<]https://www.opdeepstate.com/2017/09/28/ethereums-byzantium-hard-fork-postponed-for-further-testing/[/url<] "The hard fork for Byzantium – the first leg in ethereum’s Metropolis update – will now occur at block number 437,000,000, or about October 17 given current block production metrics." So Ethereum mining will become more profitable again, which means ETH miners are NOT going away...

    • Captain Ned
    • 2 years ago

    If anyone ever desired to see a proof of the laws of thermodynamics in action, look no farther than crypto-mining.

    • titan
    • 2 years ago

    You bastards just heated up the market again!

    First link I click on…sold out.

    • yuhong
    • 2 years ago

    It is a pretty weird time with the difficulty bomb just being hit and the next Ethereum update likely to reverse the effects.

    • willmore
    • 2 years ago

    I’m still holding onto my HD7850 after four years because every time a new replacement card pops up in the range, the damn cryptocurrency people suck them all up.

    After several generations of this happening, you would think that the ASIC makers would figure this out. Yeah, I understand that we’re under a DRAM crunch right now, but how about they make mining specific cards with much less memory? Then sell the ones with the correct amount of memory–for gaming–to the gaming crowd?

    AMDs attempt to control the market by bundeling seems like a silly afterthough.

      • yuhong
      • 2 years ago

      Many coins including Ethereum also require lots of VRAM.

        • willmore
        • 2 years ago

        Damnit.

    • backawayslowly
    • 2 years ago

    I have a 660 Ti still and it’s going strong. Those 2GB VRAM are getting smaller by the year, though. I think its time to do an upgrade.

    Im looking at you 1070 Ti.

      • Voldenuit
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, the 1070 Ti looks sweet. 2436 CUDA cores? Nice.

        • Krogoth
        • 2 years ago

        It is just excessive GP104 stock being offloaded to make room for Volta. There aren’t enough GDDR5X chips to go around.

        Nvidia did this GK104 back in the day with the 770 and 760 so they could make room for Maxwell launch.

          • Renko
          • 2 years ago

          Nvidia CEO comment on Aug. 11th to investors: “For the holiday season, for the foreseeable future, I think Pascal is unbeatable,” Huang said. “It’s just the best thing out there.”

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            For gaming, Pascal is currently #1 in terms of performance and efficiency. However, for general compute and professional graphics the battleground is a lot less clear.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 2 years ago

    Prices of cryptocurrencies did take a dive after China crackdown but they’ve been recovering since then.
    The real reason GPU prices returning to normal is this :
    [url<]https://etherscan.io/chart/difficulty[/url<] Notice the sharp increase at the end of graph.

      • Firestarter
      • 2 years ago

      the difficulty bomb, apparently

        • PrincipalSkinner
        • 2 years ago

        Yup. I was hoping for that even though I’m an ex miner.
        Mining has consolidated to the point some mines have thousands of cards. I have no sympathy for their dwindling profits.

          • ptsant
          • 2 years ago

          Which, by the way goes against the whole concept of a distributed blockchain. If a few major miners/pools can achieve majority, the remaining no longer count.

            • kamikaziechameleon
            • 2 years ago

            Didn’t realize how these things worked till researching your post… It does seam that consolidation of by way of mega farms is a real thing and kinda throws into question the validity of of the system as a whole.

            • DPete27
            • 2 years ago

            It’s a real problem for all mined coins. Including Bitcoin itself. I agree, it does go against the whole premise of cryptocurrency when these coins ultimately become consolidated (“centralized”) due to corporations. Which in-turn gives those companies major influence to the progression of the coin(s) they control.

            • spugm1r3
            • 2 years ago

            It’s weird that people are surprised cryptocurrencies are subject to the same forces/behaviors of more traditional currencies. Consolidation is always the first rule, followed closely by control. Control the source, control the means of production, or control the market for consumption.

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 2 years ago

      Thanks for pointing this out, wasn’t aware.

      • freebird
      • 2 years ago

      which will change once “Byzantium” is implemented…

      Original Dev Call in August.
      [url<]https://www.reddit.com/r/EtherMining/comments/6t56a0/important_information_from_todays_ethereum_dev/[/url<] "After the dev call today, we now know that the update to delay the bomb into 2018 will not happen until after the bomb drop on September 24th meaning there is going to be a very tight squeeze on miners over the coming weeks, possibly to the point of it costing more in electricity for some people than what they earn. To make it easy for you to calculate, whatever you earn today, it will be about 19% less after August 25th. Whatever you earn then, it will be about 28% less after September 24th. Again, none of this takes into consideration rising difficulty from potential new miners coming into the network. When Metropolis Byzantium does go live, we will see the network return to approx 15sec block times however the issuance will likely reduce to 3. This means that we will essentially earn the same amount of ETH then as we will between Aug 25th and Sept 24th (3 per 15s is the same as 5 per 25s). With this happening, the only thing that will drive the difficulty of mining will be mining hash power..." From what I've been able to gather this change occur around Oct. 17, 2017. [url<]https://www.opdeepstate.com/2017/09/28/ethereums-byzantium-hard-fork-postponed-for-further-testing/[/url<] "The hard fork for Byzantium – the first leg in ethereum’s Metropolis update – will now occur at block number 437,000,000, or about October 17 given current block production metrics." So Ethereum mining will become more profitable again, which means ETH miners are NOT going away...

        • willmore
        • 2 years ago

        So, I have two weeks to find a good deal on an AMD [45][78]0?

          • willmore
          • 2 years ago

          I’m not seeing anything under $299, yet. Then again, I’m only looking at the 8GB models.

    • DarkUltra
    • 2 years ago

    Seems to be doing pretty good to me:

    [url<]https://www.coindesk.com/price/[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Until you hit the 1m button and see it was at $5000 a couple weeks ago.

      Also BTC isn’t what’s driving GPU prices since it’s a very inefficient mining method. It’s been Ethereum. It’s way down over the last month. Currently 25% down. [url<]https://ethereumprice.org[/url<]

        • Firestarter
        • 2 years ago

        ETH is still way up there in the grand scheme of things: [url<]https://i.imgur.com/S3ZXAb3.png[/url<]

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          But between the difficulty ramp and the concurrent drop in value, relatively few people can make money on it. The perception is that it’s past it’s cash cow stage and so GPU azalea have tumbled.

            • Firestarter
            • 2 years ago

            the price is still high enough that people haven’t suddenly stopped mining. It might not be a cash cow right now but people apparently aren’t losing money hand over fist yet, otherwise we would be seeing people dumping their mining cards for pennies on the dollar

            • freebird
            • 2 years ago

            Yeah, right that is only your perception. Anyone with 4 -8 cards in a “typical” mining rig can still make money on it; less then they were last month, but still reasonably profitable. Also, Zcash (ZEC) has recently jumped in price and is now more profitable than Ethereum to mine, so there won’t be a slow down in mining with crypto-rigs in the foreseeable future, unless the whole crypto market crashes which will probably require a crash in the stock market…which will affect the economy, cost and price of many products.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            Those cards are paid for, so they might as well mine with them. I’m talking about laying out for new cards now. Seems like a bad idea based on the difficulty curve that’s been linked by other posters.

            • freebird
            • 2 years ago

            It all depends on crypto-currency prices… I don’t see them tanking to any real degree unless the US or Europe gets scared and bans them. Eventually more institutions will see the electronic advantages of blockchain technology, some already do, but are afraid they may damage other parts of their business too much. It is a very disruptive technology. Ethereum has at least 12 months of steady mining with only earning dropping by increased miners or the Ethereum price dropping the difficulty bomb has been defused by Byzantium if you bothered to read any links I’ve posted in other replies in this and other conversations on crypto-mining. Knowledge lets people make informed decisions, but I see way too much uninformed speculation when it comes to discussing crypto-mining on this site… and I get tired of repeating myself for others on here (not you) that seem that they would rather keep their heads in the ground about what is going on.

            I usually try and read 2 or 3 good articles,blogs,etc. (sometimes that requires reading 6 or more to determine if they are any good or not) before I post to make sure I have good info. So it does take me considerable time to post on here.

            • southrncomfortjm
            • 2 years ago

            But, far as I can tell, GPU mining is the only way to go with ETH since there are no ASICS. Who’s left to mine if its so hard GPU mining just doesn’t make sense?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            Makes tons of sense – the value is going to be in the rarity of newly minted coins, but they’re going to be very difficult so it keeps n00bs out since there will be very little ROI.

            • southrncomfortjm
            • 2 years ago

            I know it. I’m really close to my next gift card, and its just been a total slog to get there.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          also, what are those solid lines? A rolling average of some sort? That always takes some of the bounce out of the volatility. And of course it’s way up from December of 2016. That was before it was even popular. :p

            • Firestarter
            • 2 years ago

            simple moving averages yeah

    • ozzuneoj
    • 2 years ago

    So, finally, 2 1/2 years after I got a smoking deal on a GTX 970 for ~$250, cards that are in a similar performance bracket (within 15-20% usually) are finally starting to creep back into the sub-$300 range.

    At the time my 970 purchase was mostly an opportunistic impulse buy that felt a little frivolous… but it has turned into one of the best long-term GPU purchases I’ve ever made. Looking back at the integrated Riva 128, Voodoo 3 2000, Geforce 2 GTS, Geforce 4 Ti 4400 (died), FX 5600 (RMA replacement… sold), 9600 Pro, 6800GT, 7900GTX, 7950GX2 (oops!), 8800GTX, GTX 260, GTX 470, GTX 560 Ti and GTX 660 I had prior to this 970, none of them stayed relevant for as long as this has (the legendary 8800 GTX being a close second).

    … and to top it all off I actually got a $30 check a few months back from Nvidia for being “cheated” on memory bandwidth. Which paid for an Arctic Accelero S3 for the 970, which allows it to run quietly (with a good 120MM fan that doesn’t need to spin up under load), extremely cool, overclocked (performs like a 980), and with no fear of dead proprietary cooling fans. This thing should last me quite a while this way.

    Best. Video. Card. Purchase. EVER.

      • LostCat
      • 2 years ago

      I just think the 660 is funny. And 760. And 960. Since they all performed like the same card.

        • ozzuneoj
        • 2 years ago

        Yeah, that was another good one. My 660 was a great performing card for the money and the power\heat\noise. Kepler was such a massive improvement over Fermi. And then Maxwell was a another huge step…

        Pascal was a big improvement at the high end and low end but the mid range was meh. The 1060 never impressed me. Especially the 3GB model. A ~$200 3GB mid range card in late 2016 wasn’t even remotely attractive.

      • f0d
      • 2 years ago

      i dunno, i have had graphics cards since the first voodoo cards (actually i even had a nv1) and imo nothing will ever stay as relevant for as long as the 8800 did – that thing was relevant all the way up to the GTX4XX series of cards

        • ozzuneoj
        • 2 years ago

        I nearly forgot how well that card lasted… My 260 was an upgrade but it wasn’t a huge improvement by any means. I’ve updated my post.

      • jokinin
      • 2 years ago

      My purchase of a GTX1060 for 300€ a year ago also seems to be a good deal considering that right now same model new is selling for 360.

      • homerdog
      • 2 years ago

      That’s my story as well. Went from a 670 to a 970 cause I had money to burn. The 670 was still performing fine for me but man am I glad I upgraded now.

      • DoomGuy64
      • 2 years ago

      For Nvidia people. Otherwise, it’s the 390/290 for anyone else. More ram, more ROPs, more new API support, and is the overall faster card today.

      The radeon 9800 was the best quality long term purchase, as the 88 GTX cards had driver problems, missing features, and high hardware failure rates. Hell, the whole dx10 generation was plagued with terrible hardware on both sides with either worthless or unplayable dx10 games like Crysis, which even the GTX had trouble with. People who skipped dx10 and Vista for windows 7 and dx11 were better off. A lot of people rip on Fermi, but I think Fermi was a better overall experience than the 88 cards, having used both, and Fermi’s performance lasted just as long.

    • NovusBogus
    • 2 years ago

    This is probably more to do with the fact that AMD, NV and their retail partners have begun rationing the supply. A quick trip to Coinbase’s chart section tells me that the exchange rate is still about where it was three months ago and far above ~8 months ago when everyone started complaining about mining.

      • Wall Street
      • 2 years ago

      Both the exchange rate and the mining difficulty impact the profitability of mining. The exchange rate is how much real money can you get per coin, the difficulty is how many GPUs do you need to mine the same amount of coins each day.

      Here is a chart of Etherium’s difficulty:

      [url<]https://etherscan.io/chart/difficulty[/url<] As you can see, it is much less attractive to buy new GPUs to mine now.

        • Krogoth
        • 2 years ago

        It has been that way since late July and early August to the economically literate.

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    Thank you China for cracking down on [Insert-name-here]Coin.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 2 years ago

      +3

      [url<]https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=-1&IsNodeId=1&Description=radeon%20rx%20vega&bop=And&Order=PRICE&PageSize=36[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      +3 updoots

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