One of the incredible things of the last couple of months is how much the Bitcoin has soared versus the US dollar and other central bank issued currencies. The price of a Bitcoin has nearly tripled since April and many altcoins rallied significantly too. This new episode of cryptocurrency craze is fueling demand for high-end video cards and results in shortages of models like AMD's Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 as miners buy up everything they can get.
It's a tricky situation for GPU makers and add-in board partners. Ramping up supply takes a couple of weeks at least and they have to be careful to not increase production too much as a sudden Bitcoin crash can result in oversupply situation. This is what happened in 2013 when graphics card vendors suffered from an over-stocked inventory as mining demand cooled off suddenly.
Furthermore, the graphics card vendors were also hit by higher warranty expenses as the former miners sold their used video cards into the second-hand market:
In 2013, the market also enjoyed a wave of strong graphics card demand because of Bitcoin mining, but graphics card vendors turned out to be suffering from over-stocked inventory after related demand cooled off suddenly. In addition, since Bitcoin miner's graphics cards are normally running 24 hours a day, they have shorter life than graphics card with normal usages. After the Bitcoin-mining trend in 2013 cooled off, many miners had sold their used graphics cards into the second-hand market. With most of these cards still covered by warranty, graphics card vendors' costs were greatly increased for providing maintenance on them.
To address the high demand from cryptocurrency miners, both AMD and NVIDIA are planning to release video cards specifically targeted at the mining market. AMD will reportedly redesign its entry-level Radeon 400 series while NVIDIA is rolling out a GeForce GTX 1060-100 GPU for mining.
These mining cards will lack unnecessary features like display outputs and should be cheaper than the gaming series cards. Another key difference is that these models will ship with a warranty of just 90 days.