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GPU prices more than double as cryptocurrency craze accelerates

One AMD card's street price has tripled to $1,500 but pre-built system vendors unable to match price

The rise of cryptocurrency has caused a significant shift in the PC gaming space, with graphics cards now increasingly expensive for anyone attempting to build their own rig.

GameSpot reports that as awareness spreads of how high-end gaming GPUs can be used to mine digital currencies such as Bitcoin, sales are driving prices double, sometimes triple the retail price.

In a comparison chart, the site shows that cards such as the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Nvidia's flagship among its range of gaming GPUs - is currently being sold online for $1,350 - more than twice the MSRP of $700.

AMD has also been affected, with the Radeon RX Vega 64 tripling in value from $500 to $1,500. The site also reports many of these cards are sold out at most retailers.

Consumers hoping to build a high-end gaming rig have most often done so by purchasing individual components. However, these inflated prices for GPUs are compelling many to buy pre-built systems from vendors, who must adhere to strict pricing guidelines that prevent them from increasing PC prices to match GPU street value.

Cryptocurrencies are also capturing the interest of more games firms. Last year, Reality Clash raised $3.5m through an Initial Coin Offering, selling its own currency to fund its mobile AR shooter. GamesIndustry.biz later spoke to the firm about the opportunities for other developers.

Similarly, Playkey raised $10.5m through an ICO to finance ongoing development of its on-demand games service, while Crytek is attempting to raise funds through a new currency of its own.

The increasing volatility of certain cryptocurrencies - specifically the most known one, Bitcoin - prompted Valve to no longer accept it as tender via its Steam store. But not everyone is as negative about the potential of digital currency, with long-running game designer Brian Fargo announcing plans for a new PC storefront that will deal in its own cryptocurrency, allowing users to sell their unwanted digital games.

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