INSANE GPU PRICES

The price of video cards lately has exploded as digital coin miners are in a frenzie. Miners are paying double for video cards so they they can earn money from mining digital coins. Bitcoin cannot be mined with a video card as it requires a specialized chip to be profitable. Secondary and tertiary digital coins are more amenable to the GPU capabilities. In the last 6 months prices have risen dramatically.

A spreadsheet with local energy costs and results from various video cards show that with current prices for digital coins that even the old R9 Fury can pay for its power bill with a couple of jars of instant coffee left over each month. The GTX 1060 3GB can earn maybe 3 jars of coffee per month. The RX 480 8GB can barely earn 2 jars of coffee. Earnings are all over the dial which makes it hard to calculate how much coffee mining can afford.

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What was more eye opening was calculating the payback time for the capital cost of video cards. With sky high prices the payback period runs into 3-5 years time frame. The spreadsheet was accurate using proper exchange rates and earnings from various algorithms suitable for the card being tested. With more cards it can be possible to expand the worksheet and model every card’s earnings vs capital cost and operating costs.

Many of the video cards in the studio came from miners when the price of digital coins collapsed. This modernized the collection significantly at very low cost.

Locally there are some RTX 3090 cards at double MSRP available but no gamer will pay that. Then again miners are balking too. The cheapest RTX 3090 here is $3,299 plus 12% tax. Some cards are over $3,500.

So far no Radeon cards but the RX 6800 XT MSRP converted to Canadian is $827 so anything substantially above this is gouging. For 4K gaming this card is the go to model. The Sapphire Nitro version probably will be slightly more expensive over the reference card.

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Second hand cards on eBay are also way overvalued as the bubble in coin mining grows with higher prices.

Hardcore gamers and film rendering studios use a video card. AMD and NVIDIA both support MPEG encoding with with their cards. Several in the film industry have been stuck with older hardware as replacements are impossible to find. The gaming community is even worse off as new games tend to be more demanding than previous generation games.

The new 10th generation games focus on the Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5. The EVGA RTX 2080 in the studio now fits in between the respective consoles for relative performance however the HAF 932 with affords more boost which does give the PC the upper hand.

RAM is cheaper but 32GB is already overkill for gaming. The AMD R5 3600 has held up better than expected but CPU availability has been poor as AMD ramps up production.

The old MSI X470 has been setup with the Sapphire Nitro+ R9 Fury which has been excellent for video encoding. The R9 Fury however was disappointing for gaming. At least the MPEG AVC (H.264) encoding has been fast which has made the old card useful long after it became nominally obsolete.

AMD Vega 64 with 8GB HBM2 have come down to $250-$300 which makes them viable to succeed the old R9 Fury. The power consumption of the big Radeon cards is high but the Corsair SPEC-01 has the Corsair RM650 which can handle power pigs fine. A higher capacity PSU is available if necessary.

LOST COINS

There are stories galore of lost Bitcoins and other digital currencies and tokens. The iPhone can use the iCloud to backup the wallet data so if a phone is lost it’s not a problem. Nicehash has a mobile app but it is not known if it uses iCloud or not.

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