With the switch from the RX 400 to the new RX 500 series (even if there is not much difference in hardware), AMD started having issues with availability. Older GPUs have been pretty much sold out where there were some left and the newer 570/580 models are pretty much out of stock everywhere. If there are some units left they are with an inflated price tag, because the people selling them want to make some extra bucks from the lack of availability and high demand. It is not known how long this lack of video cards will continue, but things were slowly progressing towards this negative outcome the whole month.
We are pretty sure that one of the reasons is mining and the recent peak of the price and profitability of Ethereum that inevitably leads to more and more new miners and mining rigs getting built. It seems however that AMD was really not ready for an increased demand after the release of the RX 500 series, even though RX 400 GPUs were already selling a lot. It may take a couple of weeks for things to get back to normal, unless the craze continues and unless AMD is actually having trouble making enough GPUs at the moment to cover the demand. Maybe the fact that the company is preparing for the release of their newer higher-end Vega solutions has something to do with the problem as well.
Miners are already looking at the alternatives of using Nvidia GPUs that are available plenty on the market, because they are not as good deal for Ethereum mining like the AMD cards in terms of price/performance. If you however take out the Ethash algorithm (Dagger-Hashimoto) out of the equation Nvidia’s Pascal GPUs are actually pretty good in terms of performance/power usage ratio… just not as good in memory intensive algorithms where GPU power is not required as much. Mining aside, gamers already have no other choice but to go for Nvidia if they are currently in the market for a new video card with AMD GPUs being out of stock.
The people that were mining a couple of years back during the Litecoin craze will most likely remember a similar situation where things got out of control for a while with the exchange rate of LTC exploding. This was only temporary as everyone was rushing to get into mining the top altcoin back then and then the price went down and things started to get back to normal. There are no guarantees that the same situation will happen again though, but don’t forget that we may be heading for a POW to POS switch for Ethereum by the end of the year…