UPDATE (Feb 14th, 11pm ET): As a commenter has pointed out below, suddenly, as if by magic, Newegg has lowered prices on the currently in stock R9 290X cards by $200. That means you can currently find them for $699 – only $150 over the expected MSRP. Does that change anything about what we said above or in the video? Not really. It only lowers the severity.
I am curious to know if this was done by Newegg voluntarily due to pressure from news stories such as these, lack of sales at $899 or with some nudging from AMD…
If you have been keeping up with our podcasts and reviews, you will know that AMD cards are great compute devices for their MSRP. This is something that cryptocurrency applies a value to. Run a sufficient amount of encryption tasks and you are rewarded with newly created tokens (or some fee from validated transactions). Some people seem to think that GPUs are more valuable for that purpose than their MSRP, so retailers raise prices and people still buy them.
Currently, the cheapest R9 290X is being sold for $900. This is a 64% increase over AMD's intended $549 MSRP. They are not even the ones receiving this money!
This shortage also affects other products such as Corsair's 1200W power supply. Thankfully, only certain components are necessary for mining (mostly GPUs and a lot of power) so at least we are not seeing the shortage spread to RAM, CPUs, APUs, and so forth. We noted a mining kit on Newegg which was powered by a Sempron processor. This line of cheap and low-performance CPUs has not been updated since 2009.
We have kept up with GPU shortages, historically. We did semi-regular availability checks during the GeForce GTX 680 and 690 launch windows. The former was out of stock for over two months after its launch. Those also sometimes strayed from their MSRP, slightly.
Be sure to check out the clip (above) for a nice, 15-minute discussion.