Almost a month after Ethereum’s Proof of Stake consensus mechanism went online, the market is flooded with used GPUs. RTX 3060s can be found for as low as $99, and if you’re willing to risk that GPU bumping you up after a few months – there are some great deals to be had. This is something that contributed significantly to one of the largest declines in direct discrete GPU sales since 2009. However, for whatever reason, the supply of used GPUs seems to be fading away — at least on one of the largest used websites. There: ebay.
Is this the beginning of the end for dirt cheap pre-mining GPUs?
In a story we wrote just a few weeks ago, you can still buy NVIDIA Ampere GPUs very cheaply. The RTX 3060 can be purchased for $150 (November 4, 2022) and the RTX 3080 Ti can be purchased for as low as $369 (November 7, 2022). These are prices that have slowly risen since the GPU crash a few months ago – when you can buy an RTX 3060 for just $99, direct from a supposed Chinese crypto miner.
However, something has changed. Since November 4th, in just 26 days, prices have increased by 200% for the Ampere series. . The on-sale supply has completely vanished, and as of November 30, the RTX 3060 (used) will be $300, and the RTX 3080 Ti is close to $800 (used). New prices for these cards are even higher, with the RTX 3080 Ti now at $1,200. This is an incredibly sharp price hike in a very short period of time – similar to the highs seen during the cryptocurrency boom. So what could be the reason behind this?
This is where this article turns into an editorial (read: educated speculation). There could be multiple causes and the reality is most likely a healthy mix of all of these causes. First, it is important to differentiate between new inventory and used inventory. There have been too many Ampere graphics cards lying around in the warehouse in the supply chain – and they are brand new. Then, there was also a metric ton of used/pre-mined Ampere GPUs flooding the market – in an amount that should have been, at least in theory, many times greater than the new GPUs in stock.
From what we can see on eBay, most of the used GPU supply available for sale has gone, allowing users to sell their new Ampere GPUs at incredibly inflated prices. Is it possible that the supply of nearly two years’ worth of GPUs, dumped from the mines, is over? In my opinion this is very unlikely. The slow price increase we’ve seen since the last few months was expected to continue into the first half of 2023, and the fact that it has suddenly evaporated is surprising to me.
Another explanation, and I think more likely, is that investors/speculators started buying cheap used GPUs in bulk from miners and reselling them at higher prices. In other words, the lack of used GPUs available for sale is a result of profit-taking and a lot of them may be lying around in a warehouse somewhere. In any case, it’s bad for the consumer because NVIDIA’s 4000-series pricing is so high, and the RTX 3080 Ti, new or used, is available for about the same price. It also means that NVIDIA (and AMD and Intel) will not face any pressure to lower prices for the RTX 4000 series – something they would have had to do if the used GPU market was to be viable for another quarter or so.