Hardware madness: crypto hype quadruples the price of popular graphics cards

Hardware madness: crypto hype quadruples the price of popular graphics cards

Hardware madness

Anyone who is currently putting together a gaming PC knows the problem: lack of availability and outrageous prices for graphics cards. Even cards from past generations are going away for moon prices. One reason for the catastrophic availability is the semiconductor bottleneck, which was exacerbated, among other things, by the Covid pandemic and geopolitical developments. In addition, there is the boom in cryptocurrencies and the associated extremely strong demand for GPUs. Although semiconductors are indispensable in all electronic end devices, PC gamers are hit particularly hard when it comes to graphics cards.

A press release from the price comparison platform Idealo now confirms an increase of up to 294 percent for high-performance graphics cards. Idealo are particularly suitable for generating cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Powerful models from Nvidia and AMD are particularly in demand and therefore regularly sold out. The price trend is insane. The Radeon RX 5700 XT Red Devil graphics card was priced around an average of 444 euros last year, and is now around 1800 euros. The price of the Geforce RTX 3070 Gaming OC has risen in a similarly extreme manner: from the original 679 euros to an impressive 1600 euros in just a few months. On average, the prices for all graphics card models rose by 136 percent.

Overall, however, card models from Nvidia take up 90 percent of the demand for GPUs. Among the most popular graphics cards of the past 12 months there is only one model from AMD, the Radeon RX 5700 XT Nitro +.

Overall, the situation on the graphics card market is still depressing. Getting good current-generation cards for the EIA is almost impossible. And there is still no sign of an easing of the situation. We will go into the topic again in an article over the weekend.

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CAPTCHA tests labelled 'madness' that costs us 500 years per day

a hand holding a laptop: Loss of productivity is not the only cost of the internet pop-up puzzles © Getty Images Loss of productivity is not the only cost of the internet pop-up puzzles

CAPTCHAs are a form of 'madness' that costs humanity 500 years per day and need to be confined to the internet's trash bin, says online security company Cloudflare.

They're a familiar sight on the internet - you've searched your memory for the username and password of the website you're trying to access, hit the login button - only to be met by an annoying picture puzzle.

Can you select all the squares with pedestrian crossings in them? Are there any trees in the photographs? Or fire hydrants?

CAPTCHAs are automated tests designed to identify whether you are human or bot and strengthen the security of websites - but that comes at a cost, says Cloudflare.

The first CAPTCHA was developed in 1997 before the name came later, in 2003, as an acronym for 'Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart'. 

In a blog posted on the Cloudflare's website research engineer Thibault Meunier did a quick calculation based on its data suggesting an average user takes 32 seconds to complete a CAPTCHA.

With 4.6 billion global internet users and an assumption the average user sees one CAPTCHA per 10 days, that equates to around 500 years wasted every day trying to prove we're not bots.

But loss of productivity is not the only issue with the pop-up puzzles.

There are cultural and accessibility issues - does everyone know what a fire hydrant is? What about internet users who are sight challenged? Then there is the data and battery usage for those reliant on mobile data. That all adds up to make it a less-than-ideal means of humanity identification.

So Cloudflare is running an experiment to 'end the madness', it says.

'The idea is rather simple: a real human should be able to touch or look at their device to prove they are human, without revealing their identity,' Meunier wrote.

'We want you to be able to prove that you are human without revealing which human you are! You may ask if this is even possible? And the answer is: Yes.'

That system will involve a hardware security key that can be plugged into a computer or connected to a mobile phone which is then verified - taking around five seconds to complete.

The test is currently limited to certain types of hardware security keys and in English-speaking regions - but should it be successful, it could mean no more unnecessary clicking.

It's all about building a better internet, says Cloudflare, adding: 'We're excited to bring about the demise of the fire hydrant on the Internet. It's no longer needed.'