The market for used GPUs has been flooded nearly an entire month after Ethereum’s Proof-of-stake consensus mechanism went live. RTX 3060s were available for as little as $99, and if you were willing to take the chance that the GPU would fail after a few months, there were some sincerely sweet deals. This has contributed significantly to one of the most significant declines in first-hand discrete GPU sales since 2009. However, for whatever reason, the supply of used GPUs appears to be dwindling – at least on one of the world’s biggest secondhand websites: eBay.
Is this the beginning of the end for dirt-cheap pre-mined GPUs?
In a story we wrote just a few weeks ago, you could still buy NVIDIA Ampere GPUs for extremely low prices. An RTX 3060 could be purchased for $150 on November 4, 2022. An RTX 3080 Ti could be bought for as little as $369 from November 7, 2022. These prices have slowly risen since the GPU crash a few months ago, when you could buy an RTX 3060 for $99, apparently from a Chinese crypto-mine.
Yet something has changed. Prices for the Ampere sequence have increased by 200% in just 26 days since November 4. The available supply has completely depleted, and as of November 30, an RTX 3060 (used) is selling for $300, while an RTX 3080 Ti is approaching $800. Prices for these cards have risen even further, with the RTX 3080 Ti now coming to $1200. This is a sharp price increase in a short time, similar to the price increases seen during the crypto boom. So, what could be the cause of this?
This is where the article becomes an editorial (read: educated speculation). There could be several causes, but the reality is a healthy mix. To begin, it is critical to distinguish between new and used stock. There were a lot of brand-new Ampere graphics cards sitting in warehouses in the supply chain. Then there was a metric ton of used/pre-mined Ampere GPUs flooding the market – an amount that, in hypothesis, should have been numerous times greater than the new GPUs sitting in warehouses.
According to what we can see on eBay, the used-GPU supply is nearly depleted, allowing users to sell brand-new Ampere GPUs at exorbitant prices. Has the supply equivalent to almost two years’ worth of GPUs dumped from mines run out? That is extremely unlikely. The slow trickle of price increases we’ve seen in recent months was set to continue well into the first half of 2023, so its sudden disappearance is shocking.
Another interpretation, which is much more likely, is that scalpers/investors have begun purchasing cheap secondhand GPUs in bulk from miners and selling them back at higher prices. In other words, the scarcity of used GPUs for sale results from profiteering, and many may be seated in a distribution center. The scenario is bad for consumers because NVIDIA’s 4000 series selling prices are pretty high, while the RTX 3080 Ti, new or used, is accessible for somewhat similar pricing.
News source: wccftech.com