In the first quarter of 2021, crypto miners are said to have bought around 700,000 middle and upper-class graphics cards worth 500 million US dollars, the equivalent of around 413 million euros, primarily to mine the crypto currency Ethereum and thus make a profit. The market researcher Jon Peddie Research arrived at the estimate based on a comparison of PC and graphics card sales.
Normally, around 25 to 30 percent of all desktop PCs sold have their own graphics cards. A combination processor with an integrated graphics unit, e.g. for work computers, is sufficient for the rest. In times of lucrative cryptocurrency prices, operators of huge mining farms in Asia in particular buy tons of graphics cards, but not complete PCs – one mainboard can run six or more GPUs.
The quota of installed graphics cards in desktop PCs is artificially increased – statistically speaking, it would be according to Jon Peddie Research currently at 45 to 50 percent. The difference shows that around a quarter of all graphics cards were probably bought by miners in the first quarter of 2021. A small part of this should fall on users who mine cryptocurrencies on a small scale at home.
Low average price
Around 700,000 graphics cards worth the equivalent of 413 million euros means that a single copy cost an average of just under 600 euros. Miners are likely to get away much better than gamers who want to buy their graphics card in stores: Even graphics cards from the (upper) middle class such as AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT or Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 currently cost at least 700 euros, but quickly climb to 1000 Euro.
The high costs sometimes arise in the intermediate and retail trade, where every station keeps its hands open and wants to benefit from the high demand. Miners have a reputation for having contacts with Asian manufacturers and largely bypassing the trade.
AMD and Nvidia benefit in the short term from the high demand from the crypto boom, but usually sell their graphics chips to third-party manufacturers at fixed prices. Sales of desktop graphics cards increased significantly at both AMD and Nvidia within a year: In early 2021, Nvidia earned almost 2.8 billion US dollars with GeForce models (including notebook GPUs) – more than twice as much Beginning of 2020. AMD has (Ryzen) processors and Radeon GPUs in a joint division, which grew by 46 percent to 2.1 billion US dollars.