The Recent Rise of GPU Prices:

    In the recent age of technology, it isn’t surprising that computers require a few components, even if the computer isn’t meant for heavy workloads or gaming. One of the most necessary components would be the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). The GPU renders the images on the screens and usually takes a good portion of the Central Processing Unit (CPU)’s workload. From this information, one can guess that GPUs are essential in almost every computer. However, semiconductor chips have been in high demand lately for a variety of reasons, leaving GPU manufacturers and almost every technology manufacturer to raise prices to keep their business afloat.

    Looking at the many causes of this problem, arguably the biggest issue was the number of semiconductor chips needed to the amount produced/exported. Covid-19 shook various industries throughout the world, even impacting the shipping industry. Less supply of such a valuable resource leads to higher prices (with some examples of higher prices being almost 800 U.S dollars over the rated MSRP for graphics cards). As mentioned in an article from The Cold Wire, not only citizens rely on semiconductor chip production. Gaming consoles, laptops, phones, and sometimes even refrigerators carry semiconductor chips in some piece of hardware.

    Next to supply and demand lies the problem of scalpers and cryptocurrency mining. Starting with scalpers, one might wonder what a scalper does. By definition, a scalper is someone who buys specific products and resells them at increased prices. One of their many methods of doing such is using programmed bots to purchase the product at insane speeds (with many items selling out in a matter of minutes or even seconds). Especially during the pandemic, when electronics were needed or wanted, having something sell out before one can open their cart can be a pain. The second topic mentioned was cryptocurrency miners. While not too much detail can be put into what cryptocurrency is, it is a digital currency that can be exchanged without too much of a problem. The problem with crypto lies in how one can obtain it. To get crypto, one needs to “mine” by solving complex math problems. This process has been automated with computers, although requiring many GPUs. Some crypto miners have rooms filled with computers all made for mining, which makes it a room filled with GPUs. The activity of mining crypto has gained popularity recently, not helping to contribute to the problem of increased prices.

    All in all, the high demand for semiconductor chips is not only for GPUs, but for technology around the world. Many came up with creative ways to get their hands on some graphics cards, although leaving the general population with some expensive options.