I can’t explain it. I can’t justify it. But I do get Gundam fans’ strange attachment to the special-edition GeForce RTX 3080 Gundam graphics cards. They’re beefy but elegant and come in a sleek titanium white. They’re also next to impossible to find, which is why some people might be crestfallen to see them put to work anonymously mining crypto currency.
As first reported by VideoCardz, the expensive GPUs were recently spotted at the Nguyenconpc PC shop in Vietnam being packed in cases like sardines, presumably to be resold as custom crypto mining rigs. Announced last year, Asus’ RTX 3080 Gundam cards are pure fan service, with extremely limited quantities pushing them to resale for $2,000-$3,000 on places like eBay. (The most basic RTX 3080 models have an MSRP of $699, though of course you won’t find them for that little these days.)
The Gundam-edition 3080s don’t have special souped-up specs, but these cards are especially attractive to miners since they were created before Nvidia started artificially limiting cards’ mining performance. That’s a bummer for the Gundam fans who would love to get their hands on these great-looking GPUs but now probably won’t get the chance.
While pandemic-related supply chain issues and the crypto boom have put a lot of pressure on the graphics card market over the last year, both of those factors are slowly subsiding. Nvidia, for example, has made moves to silo its crypto mining customers from general PC gaming enthusiasts and reduce the effectiveness of mining with its newest cards. Meanwhile, certain crypto currencies, Ethereum ostensibly being one, are set to move to a much less power-intensive mining system later this year.
While those changes are good for the environment and for people trying to build or upgrade their gaming PCs, it’s probably too late for this current, limited round of Gundam 3080 GPUs. Of course, it’s not like there’s a shortage of white paint and Gundam decals in the world, so hopefully Asus gets the message and decides to bring back the Gundam RTX line in a much more plentiful fashion at some future date.