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Will the coin mining bubble kill off PC Gaming?

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whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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That $400/mo could have been one of my comments. Anyways, it's winter here in the Northeast USA, so my PCs heat my apt. Since my apt. has electric heat, the PCs offset that (the heater basically don't come on, unless it's below 0F outside). So, no extra power wasted. Now when summer comes along, you might have a valid arguement. Although, my apt., has a limit on the amount of power I can draw through my 20A circuit, and the AC is on the same circuit, so I probably won't be able to run all of the PCs, or maybe I can, because now I have more efficient, lower-powered video cards in most of them as compared to last year.

And what about those data-centers, filled with racks and racks of GPUs, for cloud computing? Aren't those facilities equally at fault for "polluting the environment" as "miners" are? Should we shut down the cloud-computing data centers, just because of the environment? Considering the advances in solar recently, electricity is getting cheaper as a resource.
Data Centers serve useful functions, mining does not.
 

PrincessFrosty

Platinum Member
Feb 13, 2008
2,301
68
91
www.frostyhacks.blogspot.com
It's only temporary, the way the bitcoin network operates is that the global hashrate is estimated and then the difficulty is adjusted based on that to keep bitcoin being generated at a steady rate. What we saw was a huge surge in the value of bitcoin which meant that miners are investing rapidly in mining hardware (GPUs). GPUs are complex devices they have a pipeline for production which is somewhat limited that means is demand surges but supply cannot keep up, the retailers gouge on price as supplies dwindle.

This will all re-adjust very quickly because bitcoin is still extremely volatile and if the price crashes down the people won't invest in GPUs, up until recently mining with GPUs had not really broken even if you paid for your power bill, and this will be the case again soon due to a mix of value dropping in bitcoin, the network readjusting and GPUs being more expensive.

Long term it'll help, a massive injection into sales for GPUs is a good thing, it'll help pay for the R&D for Volta and future road maps which means Nvidia can set the MSRP on future products lower. So we're taking a short term inconvenience for a long term benefit.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,318
6,565
126
It's only temporary, the way the bitcoin network operates is that the global hashrate is estimated and then the difficulty is adjusted based on that to keep bitcoin being generated at a steady rate. What we saw was a huge surge in the value of bitcoin which meant that miners are investing rapidly in mining hardware (GPUs). GPUs are complex devices they have a pipeline for production which is somewhat limited that means is demand surges but supply cannot keep up, the retailers gouge on price as supplies dwindle.

This will all re-adjust very quickly because bitcoin is still extremely volatile and if the price crashes down the people won't invest in GPUs, up until recently mining with GPUs had not really broken even if you paid for your power bill, and this will be the case again soon due to a mix of value dropping in bitcoin, the network readjusting and GPUs being more expensive.

Long term it'll help, a massive injection into sales for GPUs is a good thing, it'll help pay for the R&D for Volta and future road maps which means Nvidia can set the MSRP on future products lower. So we're taking a short term inconvenience for a long term benefit.
No offense, but I think that your info is slightly out of date. Nobody I know of still mines Bitcoin with GPUs, ASIC miners have taken over that function. They do mine altcoins, which are ASIC-resistant, most of them. The reason mining is linked with Bitcoin prices, is that mostly, the entire CC market moves with Bitcoin. ("A rising tide lifts all boats".)
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
60,052
8,750
126
www.uovalor.com
I doubt it. At some point the manufacturers will just be forced to manufacture more. They have their reasons to not do it, but if one of them decides to, then they kinda all have to follow suit.

Then there's the fact that when newer cards come out the miners will sell their old ones, which are still going to be very viable for gaming.

Maybe someone needs to make a game that also mines. Call it... CraftMine, where you mine for blocks. :D
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
8,423
3,409
136
While I realize that coin-mining is the immediate and notable bogeyman, truth be told, GPU prices would have increased substantially anyways.

1) Total overall sales numbers for PCs are downward, although not among "enthusiasts" and "gamers". Translation, PC Gamers are a dying breed, except for those of us oldies and die-hards.

2) Because of that, neccessarily, prices would have to increase, to maintain R&D spending, to keep "neat-o tech" in the pipeline for gamers.

3) Mining purchases, although they are causing shortages at retailers, are actually GOOD, longer-term, as it means that the market for dGPUs is larger, mostly mitigating the loss of volume from #1, and slowing the rise of prices due to #2.

Note carefully, that we haven't really seen MSRPs increasing wildly, as we've seen retailer prices being gouged.

I didn't think much of the 3rd-party sellers gouging, as Newegg would release shipments at near-MSRP prices, but that's no longer true, as Newegg is 1st-party goughing now, with RX 580 @ $430+.

In theory, GPU makers and AIB companies, could shrink the "mining demand bubble", easily. Just produce MORE cards. Thus, the hashrate of teh network(s) goes up, the difficulty goes through the roof, and thus, profits plummet, and people want to get out of mining again, thus GPUs are cheap for gamers again.

By not meeting demand, these producers are actually maintaining the mining bubble. And why not? They're getting more for every GPU sold. (Well, if the producers started raising MSRPs, which I don't believe that they've done - yet.)
3 is a good point that hadn't occurred to me. Though I remain of the opinion (until anyone convinces me otherwise) that the cryptocurrency fad is insane, not to mention a complete waste of an increasing share of the global electricity supply. But it might well actually be subsidising more traditional uses of video cards. I wonder how the economics work out exactly? Probably quite complicated.
 

Yakk

Golden Member
May 28, 2016
1,574
272
81
GPU demand will depend on how ETH & ASIC resistant coins go.

Of growing concern however should probably be how ASIC miners like Bitmain are booking massively more & more TSMC manufacturing capacity on better & better processes. Driving costs up between Bitmain & Apple everybody else is getting squeezed over there.
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,007
255
126
And what about those data-centers, filled with racks and racks of GPUs, for cloud computing? Aren't those facilities equally at fault for "polluting the environment" as "miners" are? Should we shut down the cloud-computing data centers, just because of the environment? Considering the advances in solar recently, electricity is getting cheaper as a resource.
Sorry but I always dislike these arguments. Saying "well they are getting away with it so it's alright if I add to the problem" isn't a valid argument. Just because other places are polluting more than you doesn't justify adding to the pollution.
 

Yakk

Golden Member
May 28, 2016
1,574
272
81
Mining migrating from China to Canada is a fantastic development. The heat is able to be reused for other purposes like greenhouses and there is an abundance of non-used hydro turbines which might finally able to be turned on for a completely new source of profit for the provinces instead of wasting power.

It's a win-win for everybody, entrepreneurs & governments.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
No. Coins are in a wildly speculative bubble at the moment, which is the only reason why mining with consumer-grade GPUs is profitable.

There is no way that long-term blockchain and coin use will be powered by home miners doing piecework with general-purpose GPUs, aside from possibly a small amount of darkweb use.

The big corporations and nation-states have no reason to tie their large-scale, high-volume transactions to anonymous distributed users instead of using known users and much more efficient purpose-built hardware under their control. The values in being anonymous are only for Libertarian ideals and darkweb use.

The only question to me is how long it will be before the bubble pops.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
96
No. Coins are in a wildly speculative bubble at the moment, which is the only reason why mining with consumer-grade GPUs is profitable.

There is no way that long-term blockchain and coin use will be powered by home miners doing piecework with general-purpose GPUs, aside from possibly a small amount of darkweb use.

The big corporations and nation-states have no reason to tie their large-scale, high-volume transactions to anonymous distributed users instead of using known users and much more efficient purpose-built hardware under their control. The values in being anonymous are only for Libertarian ideals and darkweb use.

The only question to me is how long it will be before the bubble pops.
Hopefully real soon before a lot more people start "investing" in it.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
60,052
8,750
126
www.uovalor.com
Before the GPU shortage was an issue I actually wanted to build a solar powered mining farm. But I realized it's not really feasible at this point, kinda late to the game. It would just be something cool and fun to do, and the revenue would be a bonus especially if it's enough to actually do it full time. Eventually convert the place into a regular data centre and host services and such. Though getting an internet connection here in the north that can support that is another issue. Most ISPs don't offer IP blocks or static IPs or even allow to host servers, which would be needed for a proper data centre.
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,007
255
126
Before the GPU shortage was an issue I actually wanted to build a solar powered mining farm. But I realized it's not really feasible at this point, kinda late to the game. It would just be something cool and fun to do, and the revenue would be a bonus especially if it's enough to actually do it full time. Eventually convert the place into a regular data centre and host services and such. Though getting an internet connection here in the north that can support that is another issue. Most ISPs don't offer IP blocks or static IPs or even allow to host servers, which would be needed for a proper data centre.
Look at the cost of building and operating something like that in comparison to what you would actually make. This is assuming the mining only grows and gets better with time. I'd be surprised if you broke even after a few years of mining.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
60,052
8,750
126
www.uovalor.com
Look at the cost of building and operating something like that in comparison to what you would actually make. This is assuming the mining only grows and gets better with time. I'd be surprised if you broke even after a few years of mining.
Probably go on the cheap at first. Sea cans. Then expand as money is made. Idealy also sell solar power to the grid when they reopen that program again.
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
8,423
3,409
136
That $400/mo could have been one of my comments. Anyways, it's winter here in the Northeast USA, so my PCs heat my apt. Since my apt. has electric heat, the PCs offset that (the heater basically don't come on, unless it's below 0F outside). So, no extra power wasted. Now when summer comes along, you might have a valid arguement. Although, my apt., has a limit on the amount of power I can draw through my 20A circuit, and the AC is on the same circuit, so I probably won't be able to run all of the PCs, or maybe I can, because now I have more efficient, lower-powered video cards in most of them as compared to last year.

And what about those data-centers, filled with racks and racks of GPUs, for cloud computing? Aren't those facilities equally at fault for "polluting the environment" as "miners" are? Should we shut down the cloud-computing data centers, just because of the environment? Considering the advances in solar recently, electricity is getting cheaper as a resource.

You have a point, but only because you have the bad luck to have such an expensive and inefficient (and environmentally sub-optimal) heating system in the first place! Electricity is a poor choice for heating. Most people aren't in that situation. And as you acknowledge, it's only a valid point in temperate climates in winter.

As for the data-centres, it's hard to prove, but I'd argue those places are producing real value by doing something productive. Whereas I have yet to see how coin mining actually creates any real value. It _redistributes_ wealth, in that some people have made money out of it (hence I wouldn't say it was crazy at a personal, individual level, for any individual to try it, depending on their circumstances), but so far that money appears to have just come from other people, I can't see what _net_ value it has added to the world in total. Other than making it easier for people to trade illegal goods, what useful purpose does it currently serve?

If there were only one type of cryptocurrency that could possibly be mined, ever, the mania would make more sense to me. But as it seems the underlying technology can be instantiated in any number of different ways, with any number of new currencies, I just don't see what the real value is in any one of them, other than as pure arbitrary speculation plus market manipulation.

It seems to me mining is one of those things that can make sense seen from an individual's perspective, but which collectively becomes a ridiculous waste of resources. Bit like the gambling industry, I suppose, but more energy-intensive.
 

dud

Diamond Member
Feb 18, 2001
7,631
72
91
Higher GPU prices will not kill off PC gaming but it isn't helping it. Amazed at how high even low-to-mid priced cards have gotten. I've seen people trying to sell used 1050 Tis for almost $200 ... and that is a lower end card.
 

Red Storm

Lifer
Oct 2, 2005
14,207
216
106
More and crypto will move to proof of stake vs. proof of work which is what uses up a lot of energy.
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
5,436
1,226
136
I still feel AMD/nVidia should make a miner only card. The gaming GPU has something done to make mining performance terrible. Then a mining only card with no graphics output, it just crunches numbers.

Because as of right now you can buy a GPU easily. I know three people that i work with that have new computers that are using OLD GPU's because they can't find a new GPU MSRP. And even for over MSRP they are very hard to find. THIS IS hurting the gaming industry.

Even I REALLY wanted a Vega56, but chances are that won't ever happen. Maybe next generation.
 

BlitzPuppet

Platinum Member
Feb 4, 2012
2,460
7
81
Because as of right now you can buy a GPU easily. I know three people that i work with that have new computers that are using OLD GPU's because they can't find a new GPU MSRP. And even for over MSRP they are very hard to find. THIS IS hurting the gaming industry.
I have a buddy that doesn't know much about computers, but bought 48 GPUs this month after being financed by his bro in law.

I really don't like what it's doing to the market.
 

arandomguy

Senior member
Sep 3, 2013
532
149
116
PC gaming is not represented solely by the DIY desktop market.

There has already been a shift away from the DIY market in terms of volume. Increasing ASPs is what is still offsetting this to contribute to overall revenue growth.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
96
I have a buddy that doesn't know much about computers, but bought 48 GPUs this month after being financed by his bro in law.

I really don't like what it's doing to the market.
Sure sounds like very people are doing their due research before deciding to jump on the bandwagon.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
60,052
8,750
126
www.uovalor.com
PC gaming is not represented solely by the DIY desktop market.

There has already been a shift away from the DIY market in terms of volume. Increasing ASPs is what is still offsetting this to contribute to overall revenue growth.
I'd say the DIY market is the biggest though. You're not going to fit a 1080 TI inside a Dell or HP or other clone computer lol and even if you somehow get it to fit the cheap 150w PSU they put in those things is not going to handle it. The type of person that buys a high end graphics card is typically the type of person that builds their own machine. Or the type of person that has more money than brains and buys an Alienware. But those people usually just buy a console. :p
 
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mooncancook

Platinum Member
May 28, 2003
2,855
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I think the video card shortage is temporary holding out new gamers from entering the pc gaming market. They will wait it out, which is going to slow the growth of pc gaming. Though I don't think it will have any significant effect on established pc gamers like me. We'll just hold on to our existing video card for longer than usual. I don't think this bubble can sustain for that long, either it will burst or if not then the market will adapt, i.e. card makers will increase production or maybe even create special mining cards for this profitable market. PC gaming has endure a lot and has grown mature enough from dying.
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
28,247
3,671
126
as long as there's profit to be had from having an advantageous computing setup for mining (video cards), i think high-end cards will remain in super high. if (when?) a long-term crash happens, then we'll see things settle down.

either that, or once the next generation comes out, then the market will be flooded with cheap 1080's as miners move on to the next best thing :p
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
60,052
8,750
126
www.uovalor.com
That's what I'm thinking, when the next batch of cards come out we'll see lot of 1070's and 1080's for cheap. As a miner myself I'm looking forward to that since they are still profitable and I'll buy them. But for an established miner that already reached ROI a long time ago it makes sense to just move to whatever card is more profitable.
 

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