Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are driving up prices of computer GPUs. It's to the point where for the first time in a long while, it seems like it might be cheaper to just buy a prebuilt PC rather than build your own. Though not by much.
Cryptocurrencies are in demand right now, with prices of Bitcoin currently around $11,000. With that much money on the table, naturally mining for cryptocurrency is also becoming a booming market. Unfortunately for gamers, mining cryptocurrencies takes a lot of computer power and high-end graphics cards are a good place to find such power.
Prices for graphics cards have practically doubled on the secondhand market. A GTX 1080 Ti goes for somewhere around $1,350 which is twice the suggested market price for the card. As the demand for GPUs climb, it's harder to find them in regular retailers on sale for their suggested market price, and instead users will have to scrounge Ebay and other retailers only to see a selection of inflated prices.
It's to the point where when sites like Gamespot started pricing the cost of building a gaming rig, it somehow became more costly than just buying a pre-built gaming PC. Despite the fact that building a PC has been historically cheaper than just buying one.
The site went ahead and built CyberPower's Z370 i5 which the retailer sells for $1,169. When Gamespot priced a similar rig themselves using the cheapest prices on Amazon and Newegg it came out to $1,322.
This is because according to CyberPower PC, system vendors typically have a strict GPU pricing guideline which makes it hard for them to over-inflate prices based on how much graphics cards are going for in second hand markets.
As you can see, now is probably not the best time to build your own gaming PC. Which is a real shame because that was actually one of my goals for the new year. We'll keep you updated on any significant changes coming to GPU pricing in the coming days.