Scalpers, miners, and gougers to blame for GPU shortage, analysis finds

No good news here.

Image by NVIDIA

Analysis conducted by Jon Peddie of the Jon Peddie computer industry research firm and published in Graphic Speak has narrowed the cause of the GPU shortage to several parties: scalpers, miners, and gougers.

While putting the blame on scalpers, miners, and gougers is the easy conclusion, there’s a bit more to it than just naming those parties involved. In his report, Peddie narrows the start of the shortage to a rise in Ethereum value that occurred alongside the pandemic. Seeing this trend, miners began using bots to buy up as many Add-In Boards (AIB) as they could get their hands on before selling them to people at two to three times what they previously paid. Peddie notes that the supply chain crash in tandem with the rise of scalpers and miners caused supply to run dry, which contributed to the ongoing shortage many gamers are dealing with today.

Touching on the cost of GPUs, Peddie’s research shows GPU prices skyrocketing between 2019 and 2020 when the Ethereum boom occurred. This massive price hike resulted in AIBs spiking from around $400 in 2019 to $700 in 2020. To add insult to injury, Peddie also highlighted Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 Ti’s MSRP of $2,000 as being four times what the company charged five years ago. The RTX 3090 Ti is now well above MSRP, with AIB partners selling options for up to $3,820, according to Peddie.

Peddie argues that with the price of PC gaming and mining AIBs on the rise up to three times as much as laptop GPUs, of which there are apparently plenty, the only culprits to pin the price hike on are “miners, speculators, and gougers.” The term “gougers” refers to retailers and resale platforms that directly helped push the market in the direction it’s found itself following today.

To wrap things up, Peddie offers a small bit of hope. The solution? Vote with your wallet, essentially. Peddie’s hope is that a lack of business will result in gougers and scapers being stuck with a surplus of inventory, leaving them with no recourse but to lower prices. It sounds good on paper but will likely take some time.