NVIDIA RTX 30 ‘Ampere’ GPU Supply Evaporates From The Market As Second Hand Prices Increase By Up To 200%

Usman Pirzada

Almost a month after Ethereum's Proof-of-stake consensus mechanism went online, the market has been flooded with used GPUs. RTX 3060s could be found as low as $99 and if you were willing to take the risk that the GPU might conk out on you after a few months - then there were some seriously sweet deals to be made. This is something that contributed significantly to one of the biggest declines in first-hand discrete GPU sales since 2009. However, for whatever reason, the second-hand GPU supply seems to be fizzling out - at least on one of the largest secondhand websites out there: 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 at ridiculously cheap rates. An RTX 3060 could be bought for $150 (November 4, 2022) and an RTX 3080 Ti could be bought for as low as $369 (November 7, 2022). These are the prices which have been slowly ticking upwards since the GPU crash a few months ago - when you could buy an RTX 3060 for just $99, direct from a Chinese crypto-mine presumably.

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However, something has changed. Since November 4, in just 26 days, prices have increased by 200% for the Ampere series. . The supply available-for-sale has completely fizzled out and as of November 30th, an RTX 3060 (used) is going for $300 and an RTX 3080 Ti is approaching $800 (used). New prices of these cards is even higher with the RTX 3080 Ti now touching $1200. This is an incredibly sharp hike in prices in a very short span of time - akin to the hikes seen during the crypto boom. So what could be the reason behind this?

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This is where this article turns into an editorial (read: educated speculation). There could be multiple causes and the reality is likely a healthy mixture of all of these. First, its important to differentiate between new stock and used stock. There were quite a lot of Ampere graphics cards sitting in warehouses in the supply chain - entirely brand new. Then, there was also a metric ton of used/pre-mined Ampere GPUs flooding the market - in a quantity which should have been, at least in theory, multiple times larger than the new GPUs sitting in warehouses.

From what we can see on ebay, the used-GPU supply available for sale is mostly gone, which is allowing users to sell brand new Ampere GPUs at incredibly steep prices. Is it possible that supply equivalent to almost 2 years worth of GPUs, dumped from mines, is all gone? In my opinion that is exceedingly unlikely. The slow trickle of price increase we were seeing since the last few months was expected to continue well into the first half of 2023 and the fact that is has suddenly evaporated is surprising to me.

Another explanation, and the one I believe to be more likely, is that scalpers/investors have started buying up cheap second-hand GPUs in bulk from miners and are reselling them at higher prices. In other words, the lack of second-hand GPUs available for sale is a result of profit-taking and a lot of them might be sitting in a warehouse somewhere. In any case, the situation sucks for the consumer because NVIDIA's 4000 series pricing is quite high and the RTX 3080 Ti, brand new or used, is available for roughly similar pricing. It also means that NVIDIA (and AMD, Intel) will not be facing any pressure to reduce pricing of the RTX 4000 series - something they would have been forced to do if the second-hand GPU market had been viable for another quarter or so.

What do you think is the reason behind the sudden price hike?
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