Monday, December 16, 2013

[Rant] Oh noes...coin miners are going to ruin R9 290 purchase

Today when I woke up in the morning, I recieved this alarming message. The prices of AMD R9 graphics cards have gone up by $100. Even the R9 280x is now $399. The R9 290 is $499. I have no idea what the new price of the R9 290x is though, and I don't care even if it is $1000 because I'm not interested in it.

The reason for this price hike is the high demand and low supply Not from gamers though. From coin miners. BitCoin and LiteCoin are the most popular virtual currencies at the moment. The value of these viirtual currencies have gone up massively in the last year or so, hence  the interest towards them have multiplied. If you use the GPU instead of the CPU, you could process more work and increase the chances of finding these coins in an order of maginitude. But you would only see a benefit - or a tangible benefit - if you use an AMD graphics card because their general compute power is lightyears ahead of the current gen NVidia graphics cards. With the current Kepler architecture, NVidia crippled the compute capabilities of the consumer graphics cards and are now basically only good for gaming. Even the old Fermi cards are better than Kepler in compute.

This has caused a huge demand for AMD cards. Most of the buyers give a rat's ass about gaming. They want these cards just for mining. They can even have more than 4 graphics cards in a rig to do their mining work. You don't have to combine them as in a Crossfire configuration to make full use of them. So if you see a photo of rig with more than 4 AMD graphics cards, you don't necessarily have to think that it is photoshopped.

I, on the other hand give a rat's ass about coin mining. I want a graphics card for gaming. If you read my previous post, you would know that the only card I thought was good enough to replace my current NVidia GTX 670 was the AMD R9 290. At the time I was writing that post (i.e. yesterday), the card was $399 in the US and $470 in Japan. But now the card is $499 is the US, but it is still at $470 in Japan. There is no doubt that the prices in Japan would go up as well, but when? Should I panic and buy a reference card now? Or should I wait for the dust to settle down (i.e. for AMD to ramp up the production and bring down the price to the original MSRP)? I still don't want to get a reference card because of that piece of crap cooler on them.

What do you guys think I should do? Play the waiting game and get what really wante or grab non-ideal while I can get it for "cheap"?

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