Crypto Mining Gains a Bane to Gamers
Gamers just couldn’t get a break as the prices of graphics processing units (GPUs) are at record highs in recent weeks, and it’s mostly driven by the demand in the crypto trading industry. Over the last four months, the prices of graphics cards have doubled off the shelf, and even tripled or quadrupled on resale. This meant that the GTX 1080 Ti, which used to retail for about $500, was already selling at $1,000. Crypto Mining Gains a Bane to Gamers.
But this was to be expected. The price of GPUs, like bread during a shortage, is driven by demand.
Perhaps as a consolation, most games right now can be played even if you have a mid-range graphics card. That means gamers don’t have to scratch their heads looking for the latest powerful models unless it’s really necessary.
The Great Graphics Card Famine
The scarcity of high-end and very powerful graphics cards seemed to have started in the last quarter of 2017. It’s easy to see why as it coincided with the soaring attention on crypto mining. Even today, you would have a hard time looking for a GTX 1050, RX 560 or GTX 1080 Ti because miners are scooping them all up.
While the prices appear to be stabilizing right now, the demand is still very high to possibly reverse the upward trajectory of the GPU costs.
Why GPUs are Very Important to Crypto Mining
There used to be a time when mining was done using a computer, laptop or even cellphone. But the practice was quickly shelved due to inefficiency. The fact is that a CPU has a very limited processing speed—not to mention the high electricity bills at the end of the month—to become a viable option.
Then miners turned to GPUs, which clock at 1,000 times more than the speed that the CPUs are capable of.
How is this possible?
Think of the CPU as at the jack of all trades. It’s designed to multi-task, taking on different duties at the same time. The main function of the GPU, meanwhile, is video rendering, as well as performing mathematical computations at breakneck speeds. This makes the GPU ideal for crypto mining.
Crypto Mining vs. Crypto Trading
The main difference between the two is the risk involved. Crypto trading is unlike buying and selling in the stock market, only that you are using digital currency. It’s a high-risk, high-reward game.
Those who are not familiar with crypto trading equate it to gambling. In a sense, there’s some truth to that statement. But it involves a lot of skills, too. People who trade digital coins without taking time to study the intricacies will fail.
With crypto mining, you are not putting in any money except during the initial stages when you are building your mining equipment; and perhaps the resulting power costs while your machine automatically goes to work.
It’s considered a long-term investment.
You can mine coins through the “blocks.” Simply put, you earn coins every time you complete one block. For ethereum, you get paid five per block. But the reward for mining coins gets halved per cycle. Pretty soon, there will come a time when it’s not going to be as profitable to supply the crypto market with digital coins.
A Little Light on the Horizon
It’s not always a doom-and-gloom for gamers, however, as the end of the GPU gold rush appears to be in sight.
For one, manufacturers are set to release even more powerful graphics cards in the market. This means that the prices of GTX 1080 Ti or GTX 1050 will likely stabilize, if not go down a bit.
Second, there’s another toy in town. ASIC’s are supplanting the GPU as a tool for crypto mining.
These customized ASIC’s (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) dwarf GPUs in terms of computing power. For instance, a GPU may be able to do over 200 million million hash operations per second. The ASIC can do 7 million MHash/s.
Among the advantages of ASICS are:
- They require low power
- Very high computing power
- High hash rates
- They are smaller and lighter compared to GPUs
- A very good cost-value ratio
But there are distinct disadvantages, as well. For instance, the price point can be high. As an example, the Dragonmint 16T is selling for more than $2,700.
The Antminer S9, meanwhile, can be purchased at just a little under $700 although with the accessories like the power supply and heavy duty power cord will drive up the price to over $1,000.
However, to make your new venture profitable, you need to initially spend at least $8,000 to $10,000 for the hardware. Then you have to factor in the monthly electricity costs when you compute earnings.
Crypto trading and crypto mining—can become extremely addictive – make sure you know what you’re getting into prior to taking the plunge into trading and mining.
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