Alberta Mirror

Purchasing graphic cards became a probe for Edmonton gamers and crypto miners


Key takeaways: 

  • The need for graphics cards fired up throughout the pandemic as supply decreased.
  • Many in the lineup had spent the night attempting to receive the ones they liked.

At dawn on cold winter dawn, a long queue of people had already covered around the Best Buy in south Edmonton. They came with chairs, food supplies, propane tanks, and some with tents and sleeping bags. 

The electronics dealer opens at 11 a.m., but multiple in the lineup had been there since the night back. 

It wasn’t Black Friday or Boxing Day. It was a routine November day, besides a particular group of people for whom it was a fall day for graphics cards. 

Graphics cards are individual components added to gadgets that generate photos to a display device like your computer screen. Video gamers and crypto miners most popularly utilize them. 

“It was a little silly for anybody with a full-time job or children or responsibility,” said Kevin Alexander, a crypto-miner in Edmonton who was in two lineups in 2021. 

Read more: Alberta’s police watchdog to probe lethal shooting in central Edmonton

a long queue of people had already covered around the Best Buy in south Edmonton

Even after standing in line for several hours, he did not receive the desired card.

“Unless you came 12 hours earlier and camped out the night before, you weren’t one of those individuals with the golden ticket,” he said. “You were only getting the trash that was leftover.”

The need for graphics cards skyrocketed throughout the pandemic, followed fast by their costs.

The logic? More people are staying at home and playing video games, supply chain problems which induced a shortage in semiconductors — microchips required in graphics cards, international shipping congestion, and the peak of crypto miners. Several crypto miners will use about a hundred graphics cards for their operation.

There are two direct suppliers of high-end graphics cards globally: Nvidia and AMD. Firms like Best Buy would receive shipments of these cards and instantly sell out. 

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