Cryptocurrency users can use graphics cards to “mine” new coins, a technique known as GPU mining. AMD GPUs happen to be well suited for the task and generate the biggest returns on the investment.
The technique was quite popular among miners back in late 2013 when Bitcoin and Litecoin mining was a craze. At the time, miners would grab every Radeon graphics card they could, causing a global shortage.
A couple of years ago, however, the market shifted away from GPU mining as China based companies launched ASIC hardware dedicated specifically to mining. These specialized ASICs were much faster and more power efficient than consumer graphics cards at mining blockchains and earning cryptocurrencies.
Recently, GPU mining saw a massive resurgence once again thanks to the rise in the popularity of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency that can be mined like Bitcoin. The network was built to be ASIC resistant, making it viable to mine the coin using graphics cards.
There has been a dramatic increase in the value of Ethereum in 2017, with its price skyrocketing from under $19 at the beginning of March to roughly $220 today.
AMD’s mainstream graphics cards, in particular the Radeon RX 580 and RX 570, are favorites among cryptocurrency miners due to their high perf/watt and relatively low price. The AIB partners have caught on to the craze and now directly advertising to miners.
Right now, both Radeon RX 570 and 580 are in high demand and can’t be found online. All models are out of stock not only in the US but all over the global. If you’re lucky to find AMD GPUs in stock, chances are high that they would be selling for wildly inflated prices.
Budget Radeon 500 series cards, including the RX 550 and RX 560, are not as popular due to their low hash rates and so they are still available at standard prices.
With the values of cryptocurrencies still increasing, more users are gobbling up AMD GPUs to build their crypto miners. Users can reportedly pay for the hardware with up to four months of cryptocurrency mining using Radeon graphics cards.
It’s unknown how long these shortages will last. We’ll keep you updated with the latest when it happens.