Unfortunately for PC builders and PC gamers, the year of 2018 is off to a bad start. The continued growth of the cryptocurrency mining industry has resulted in more cards being hiked up in price. Even cards which were once considered sub-optimal, due to being too weak or too power-hungry have inflated in price. Many vendors are either completely sold out or they nearly doubled the prices to account for the shortage. You may be able to find some of the original prices on the online used market or from lesser known online vendors. Perhaps forgoing the GTX 10-series and finding used GTX 9-series (i.e. 960, 970) online can offer better values.
Generally, these have been the price changes:
GTX 1050: $100 –> $140
GTX 1050 Ti: $150 –> $200
GTX 1060 (3GB): $200 –> 300
GTX 1070 Ti: $450 –> $750
GTX 1080: $500 –> $800
GTX 1080 Ti: $750 –> $1100
With RAM price being expensive as well, I strongly recommend that people hold off on building a PC in the near future. If pre-built PC’s are still around at retail price, they can be an option as well. However, if you really need to build a gaming PC, and you can’t seem to find good sales in the used market, one option would be to just bite the bullet and a 1050 and then upgrade to a much better card in the future.
Cryptocurrencies are not going away anytime soon and there will always be mineable ones. I don’t expect GPU prices to be high forever, but they do seem to fluctuate. Since mining won’t change soon, it’s up to the hardware manufacturers to decide what they want to do. Option #1 – They could design cards specifically good for mining so that the gaming cards can go back into the market at a lower price. Option #2 – They could design gaming cards that are terrible for mining, so that gamers can have them.
In general, I think this bad short-term situation presents a long-term opportunity. PC building has been a small niche market for the past several years. Aside from gaming, other computer users have switched to laptops and tablets. Now that mining introduced new demand for PC builds, hopefully companies like NVidia can hire thousands of engineers, make big strides in technological innovation and make further money to reinvest into the market.