AMD and Nvidia graphics card prices may start to rise with Ethereum ASICs "a non-starter" | PCGamesN

AMD and Nvidia graphics card prices may start to rise with Ethereum ASICs "a non-starter"

Bitmain ASIC miner

Cryptocurrency demand for graphics cards has been hemorrhaging in recent weeks, lending to a drop in GPU pricing back to near-MSRP, which has also had a negative affect AMD and Nvidia’s financial outlook. However, Bitmain’s Ethereum ASIC - one key factor in the lower GPU demand from miners - is being called "a non-starter" by analysts, meaning pricing could be on the way back up.

ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) proliferation has been expected to at least partially replace the use of graphics cards for cryptocurrency mining, with Bitmain as the key player in this market. But while the market has now swayed in gamers' favour as a consequence, it has been expected to have a knock-on effect for the financial success of both AMD and Nvidia. Which I’m sure matters more to gamers than cheap graphics cards, right?

Here are the best graphics cards that money can buy.

Investment and trading group, Susquehanna, confirmed Bitmain’s Ethereum ASIC ambitions back in March. The very same analyst, however, Christopher Rolland, has now pulled back from his original outlook on how this Ethereum ASIC will affect the market and graphics card demand.

Originally, this move was expected to disrupt the massive demand for graphics cards among Ethereum miners. That's the second largest cryptocurrency on the planet, and previously thought ‘resistant’ to ASIC machines. This GPU-reliance led to almost every drop of hash-churning computational power for Ethereum coming from off the shelf graphics cards.

Bitmain AntMiner E3

However, the value of these Ethereum ASICs from Bitmain has since been brought into question.

“The Ethereum ASIC we previewed from our Asia trip held three times performance improvements, but fresh price hikes have destroyed its value proposition,” Rolland says in a note to clients. “Initial specs for the $800 E3 rig offered over three times improvement over premium GPUs. However, in the weeks following, Bitmain discretely increased prices to $2,150, cutting price to performance by two-thirds… a non-starter.”

This potentially nullifies one of the factors lending to a decrease in cryptocurrency market demand, and in turn, essentially reverses the market share that was expected to be taken from AMD and Nvidia by ASIC miners. Nvidia recently announced an expected 67% drop in cryptocurrency revenue for Q2 2018 - that equates to $190 million in lost revenue.

Subscribe to PCGamesN on YouTube

The large mining outfit clientele have supposedly been holding back on purchasing graphics cards, or at least suspending orders, until these ASICs arrive on scene. However, with pricing going up and ASICs losing value, the demand for GPUs could restart.

However, it’s not just ASIC value that is having an affect on GPU demand, and even without mining-specific chips on the scene, sales driven by crypto-miners could continue to wane on account of further changes to Ethereum and a weaker market.

The Ethereum cryptocurrency devs also recently announced a proposal to start the eventual transition from a proof-of-work algorithm to a proof-of-stake one. This means less reliance on graphics cards, less environmental impact, and for the time being, 80% less rewards for actually mining blocks. ASICs from the likes of Bitmain, among others, had been thought unlikely to offer good value in the face of these changes, and it looks like they may now be fighting a losing battle. This is also expected to eventually render graphics card mining almost entirely obsolete.

Cryptocurrency GPU mining

While graphics card demand may be on a downward trend, AMD’s CPU division is knocking it out of the park - currently due to the AMD Ryzen 2 processors. Susquehanna suspect AMD’s success could continue for quite some time, due to Intel’s 10nm woes. Either GlobalFoundries or TSMC, on the other hand, are charging ahead with 7nm for launch by the end of 2018 with AMD's 7nm Vega GPU for machine-learning.

Intel have recently made a statement on 10nm delays and future process nodes, however, Intel’s head of engineering, Murthy Renduchintala, stated that delays in their 10nm process won’t affect their EUV-enhanced 7nm node, allegedly still on track for sometime in 2020.

Sign in to Commentlogin to comment
Whiskeyjack avatarJacob Ridley avatarkenluskin avatarDragonstongue avatarDave James avatarJMiles2 avatar
Whiskeyjack Avatar
2 Months ago

Actually - a slight correction - AMD will apparently be using TSMC for 7nm fabrication until GlobalFoundries improves their process. So we might see GlobalFoundries produced 7nm dies in time for the release of the gaming version next year? I'll also take this opportunity to say I enjoy reading this site and keep coming back to it!

Jacob Ridley Avatar
2 Months ago

Thanks for reading!

Indeed, AMD will be using TSMC for some 7nm products, but GloFo could still be in the mix. Lisa Su mentioned "different product lines for each", although no word on which products will be going where as of yet. We guessed it may well be GloFo for Zen and TSMC for Navi, but may well be proven wrong.

I'll switch up the story to reflect that - it wouldn't be all that surprising to see TSMC take on the initial 7nm products with GloFo following next year.

kenluskin Avatar
2 Months ago

Classic BS from Intel! 10nm is 2 years delayed disaster, but says all is well with 7nm... RIGHT? NOT!

AMD is going to kick Intel's butt over the next few years with access to TSMC Fabs , superior GPUs, superior infinity fabric for multi chip modules, that have advantage over large single chips.

EPYC server chip & Threadripper crushing Intel

While AMD integrated graphic APUs destroy equivalent chips from Intel, with exception of Intel MCM that uses GPU from AMD.

Dave James Avatar
2 Months ago

The delayed 10nm production ramp is a nightmare for Intel, especially on the data centre side, where AMD will be offering 7nm EPYC server parts while Intel can only deliver 14nm chips.

But to equate 10nm delays with problems at 7nm is missing the point a little. They are very different processes, and one doesn't rely on the success of the other. That's mostly down to the fact that 10nm is the last non-EUV lithography and as such needs as many as 34 different processes to get down to the level.

With the proposed EUV design of their 7nm parts that's supposedly down to around nine processes.

Dragonstongue Avatar
2 Months ago

"may start to rise" really, oh so you mean over the last two years because of mining this had ZERO impact on pricing from the sellers (such as newegg, amazon, ebay, kijiji) greed let alone potentially from the "makers" (Asus, MSI, XFX big time on XFX etc)

give me a F^^^ing break.

mining has been out quite a few years now (all the way back to AMD Radeon 4870-5870 time frame) only quite recently for Ngreedia (to even be remotely worth doing it with them because their performance lagged a massive amount behind radeons at 3-8x)

I call BS on any seller, analyst or whatever saying "its because of mining that GPU are priced the way they are" totally discounting greed from the makers/sellers, lack of Vram, the millions of units sold to other "sources" professional or otherwise.

This so called back to near MSRP pricing, ahahaha, I have not seen ANY evidence of this, not with Radeon 200-300-400-500-Vega GPU and similar side of the equation with Ngreedia.

seems if you want "fair price" you have to take the chance (and have the money) to buy them as soon as they are available, otherwise you run into something that should be price ~$150 Canadian MAX being $180+ tax/shipping, the ones that should be $200-$250 MAX end up being $400-$700 plus tax/shipping, and the ones that should be $350-$550 routinely going for $500-$1100 (or more for all these brackets) if you are even remotely willing to pay the massive % of overpricing in the range of 15-150% (or you go for the worst model selection and have to overpay just to send it back because the quality control is absolute crap from what it used to be with MOST makers, seems they really do not care to QC test things as thoroughly as they should, not make sure they are firmly packed/handled when it comes to shipping, why? because they are not the ones who paid the big bucks to buy the stupid things it seems IMO)

As far as placing the blame on "GPU prices may go up because the ASICS are not selling as well" what a flat load of BS that is, way back when the FPGA and ASIC were released for Bitcoin it had virtually zero impact on GPU pricing, whereas NOW I have the feeling it is nothing more than greed talking, why sell for $250 and make a scant 5% profit margin when you can overprice it to $350-$550 and make a solid 25-50+% profit instead "they really really want it, they have no choice, miner or not ahhaha lets go buy some champagne"

seems if you ARE NOT mining or have mommy/daddy to pay for it and actually have to work for a living (and make good income) you get told to bend over make sure to hold your knees!

Really Really sucks because there have been some really nice cpu-motherboards-cases etc released over the last 2-3 years, yet most of the "nice things" are obscenely overpriced unless you are "fortunate enough" to be USD based" where they cannot seem to greed price things nearly as easily (or take a chance on being dragged into class action lawsuit" but do they really care, nah because they make $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ hand over fist, if it mattered someone like Nv would not use lowest quality capacitors etc.

really sucks to be CAD or EUR etc I can tell you this outright.

As for Intel an 10nm woes, yeh for the "leader" in fab design, they really screwed that one up, they had a good lead on everyone, then all of a sudden AMD "caught up" for 45nm-32nm-20nm etc (unless Intel let them catch up?)

I just hope prices stabilize BEFORE "new gen" releases for CPU-GPU-RAM otherwise many folks who are "waiting to buy" may just say F it and get console, go without, or freak out when they realize how much "extra it costs" compared to what it was 3-5 years really is disgusting, some awesome parts but man are they pricey (even though is way lower cost to make them now than ever before)

JMiles2 Avatar
2 Months ago

You don't hear too many customers complaining, but wait until more demanding games start to hit the market and Nvidia releases new cards that are going to be sold out or sold for ridiculous prices, it's then when the s**t storm really starts, I can guarantee you that.