Inside the GPU Shortage: Why You Still Can t Buy a Graphics Card. How long will gpu shortage last

The most fundamental principle of economics, the law of supply and demand, applies particularly well to graphics cards these days. Prices soared as stocks ran out.

Inside the GPU Shortage: Why You Still Can’t Buy a Graphics Card

How scalpers, the pandemic, and the cryptocurrency boom have created the perfect storm that still makes building PCs a futile exercise.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition

Do you want to build a computer with the most modern parts? Good luck. The industry has been struggling with a component shortage for years, but the problem was revealed in 2020 when the pandemic delayed deliveries as people retreated to home offices and began buying the equipment they needed to keep their business running.

Then, as new GPUs hit the market, scalpers – some of whom tried to make ends meet after losing their jobs during the pandemic – used bots to scoop up wanted cards and sell them at inflated prices. Others have turned to GPU mining for cryptocurrencies.

Chip makers and retailers have taken steps to fight scalpers and cryptocurrency miners, but executives still predict that supply will remain tight until 2022. Here’s how we got here.


Years of development: As our sister site ExtremeTech explains, the shortage of GPUs before 2020 will soon translate to limited performance on 16nm GPUs in 2016 and demand for cryptocurrencies in 2017 and 2018. ?) At the same time, Intel was dealing with a slightly more complicated CPU shortage.

Nvidia is scared: As COVID-19 cripples the global supply chain, Nvidia is downgrading its Q1 2020 revenue forecast to $ 100 million. It turns out you didn’t have to worry too much, but more on that later.

A more decisive, if less picky, option is to buy a pre-made laptop or gaming PC. Due to graphics card distribution agreements, you may not be able to find the graphics card you want, but you are more likely to find a ready-made desktop or laptop with a graphics card already installed.

Where are the graphics cards?

Continued supply problems have led to a lot of confusion about the availability of popular graphics cards of the current generation. The answer to this problem is not straightforward, but the overwhelming demand is the main culprit. The persistent shortage of stocks, however, led many to mistakenly believe that there were production problems.

This is not necessarily the case, at least with regard to TSMC’s ability to produce state-of-the-art silicon wafers for chips. There are also problems with the shortages of raw materials and components, which relate to supply chain issues rather than simple problems with graphics card assembly. The number of issues reported is currently difficult to track, but the companies still record record profits. This reinforces the notion that while supply may be better, high consumer demand is what continues to drive the graphics card shortage, and supply is not lower than normal.

Supply chain problems also had a side effect due to potentially huge profits from the sale of graphics cards. As Daniel Nenni noted, concerns about the depletion of critical components and materials have caused some companies to accumulate excess inventory, further fueling competition shortages. Until enough companies feel confident in their constructed “safety” supply, component shortages will persist.

Still cashing in on coins

In addition, there have been suspicions that AMD and Nvidia are selling huge amounts of gaming branded graphics cards directly to cryptocurrency miners. While we cannot confirm this, miners are still buying gaming graphics cards one way or another to make a profit. To redirect mining demand to other product lines, Nvidia started selling the Turing silicon-based CMP card series (RTX 20 series) earlier this year, which it claims has no impact on games.

Nvidia also began selling LHR graphics cards with built-in limiters to make the models less appealing to miners. However, we do not know how many cards produced are LHR models, and miners were able to bypass the restrictions for the most part at this point. Additionally, if we consider the component shortages, it can be said that CMP cards have some effect on the ability to produce more graphics cards for games. With cryptocurrency prices remaining high, we can conclude that this will impact availability in the near future.

no unsplash img kryptowaluty graphics card

(Image credit: Pierre Borthiry on Unsplash).

If all this wasn’t complicated enough, there are also complications with cargo ships unable to enter ports due to Covid restrictions that slowed down procedures and caused a shortage of port authority crews. We contacted a contact who works in the port of Los Angeles who confirmed this, but the long line of cargo ships idling off the coast speaks volumes about the situation. And graphics cards could potentially be on these ships.

The availability we do have

Graphics cards that make their way to retailers continue to disappear from the shelves of whatever type, with the exception of blatantly labeled models that cannot be resold at high, if any, profit. They can now be found at stores such as Micro Center and, in some cases, online. High prices make it no coincidence that this is how the best top-of-the-range models are available, leading us to the question of whether higher-margin graphics cards and GPUs are prioritized in production.

Why are prices so high?

The simple rules of supply and demand apply fully to graphics cards, and everyone wants a slice of the cake. However, there are good reasons why most products are priced above this generation’s MSRP. This complex situation has also caused some confusion among consumers, with anger at high prices often directed at retailers as they serve as the main point of contact for consumers in the distribution chain.

To understand how price points work, it is important to understand supply chains and distribution models. For components as complex as graphics cards, there are a huge number of companies that manufacture themselves. Add in all the distributors and logistics, and there are many hands that graphics cards have to go through before they hit the shelves so you can buy them. There are many ways to add up small price increases. Manufacturers usually try to anticipate all these potential problems and come up with standard suggested retail prices, but we live in an unprecedented time where there is a lot of uncertainty and therefore high prices. Although we can certainly also attribute some greed to this situation.

As noted by Silver Knight on PC, some distributors are taking advantage of this situation to sell special edition graphics cards at or similar prices. Unfortunately, we have not been able to pinpoint exactly where these margins occur most frequently on distribution networks, as prices vary from customer to customer and this is sensitive information.

There’s also the issue of connecting products with graphics cards, made famous by Newegg shuffle and Gigabyte’s explosive power supplies. But consumers, apparently, aren’t the only ones being forced to buy more than they want. Silver Knight PC also noted that some distributors were demanding that components such as power supplies be purchased along with graphics cards, creating oversupply problems for retailers. However, this does not appear to be standard practice for all distributors.

In stock Packages Rtx 30 series

An example of a graphics card package. (Image credit: Antonline).

We asked Antonline if this was required but were told it was not. When asked why Antonline is choosing to sell graphics card packages, he explained that he makes packages to reduce the likelihood of scalpers and miners being interested in the extra items in the package, while a new mouse and keyboard and power supply or processor are things players can handle. While Antonline understands that packages are not what every consumer wants, the practice has improved accessibility and allows you to sell graphics cards at MSRP alongside other products.

Many factors come into play, but most of the problems are due to the Covid influence from what we can tell. Given that there is no clear end to the pandemic, we don’t expect prices to fall any time soon. Additionally, the prices of raw materials (such as copper) and components (such as GDDR6 memory), increased shipping costs, tariffs, fear of inflation and greed keep graphics card prices high in this generation.

Cryptocurrency Miner AMD: Go crazy. AMD says it won’t limit cryptocurrency mining on its PC graphics cards. “We won’t be blocking any load, not just mining,” said PC Gamer, AMD product manager Nish Neelalojanan.

Solution 1: Buy Used, Last-Gen GPUs

One possible solution is to buy a used GPU of comparable power to what you are looking for, either from the previous generation of the same manufacturer or from a competitor. This works best in the mid-range, where higher-end GPUs will be thicker counterparts.

The alternative GPUs in the market you are using, listed below, should provide a rough equivalent (give or take ~ 10 percent more or less) to these GPUs on your system. Try to buy as late as possible to avoid GPU end-of-life and to get better support for the latest games.

It should be noted that even these cards will be more expensive than usual as people use inflated prices to earn more selling in the secondary market. Even so, it’s definitely worth a look at ebay or Craigslist to see if you can find some good deals. EBay will have higher prices but will have better buyer protection. There is also a Hardware Replacement Subreddit.

Here are some useful replacements for Nvidia and AMD GPUs:

  • Replacement for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060: RTX 2070, RTX 2060 Super, GTX 1660 Ti / RX 5700
  • Replacement for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti / AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT: RTX 2080, RTX 2080 Super, GTX 1080 Ti / RX 5700 XT
  • Replacement for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 / AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT, RX 6800: RTX 2080 Ti
  • Replacement for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 / AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT: Nvidia Titan RTX
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 / AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT replacement

Solution 2: Buy A Prebuilt PC

It may physically hurt for PC building enthusiasts (like us), but precompilation can be one of the best options these days. Companies like iBuyPower or CyberpowerPC buy their GPUs in bulk from vendors, so they are less affected by the GPU shortage and associated price increases, although it is still to be expected that some will emerge. This is a reversal of the norm – were it not for the lack of a GPU, buying a finished computer would be a little more expensive than building it yourself from the same / equivalent components.

If you are going to buy a prefabricated online gaming PC, we advise you to stick to specialized retailers such as iBuyPower or CyberpowerPC or possibly Origin. They offer the best performance for your money. Alienware and the like may look great, but tend to be overpriced for the components they ship with iBuyPower and Cyberpower should offer the best PC precompilations you can get on the market, both in terms of build quality and price.

Micro Center is almost the last major retailer of desktop hardware in the United States and remains relevant in helping deal with the GPU shortage. The way they do this is to lower GPU prices for those who buy a full PC from the Microcenter store. If you are buying a brand new computer and not just upgrading your existing computer, this is probably the safest way to save the biggest money. MicroCenter’s rebates in these situations tend to be about as close to the suggested retail price as possible. Just remember to call in advance and make sure that the microcenter you choose actually has the equipment you need in stock and is ready to discount it.

In addition to these PC gaming specialists, you can of course also buy ready-made gaming PCs straight from Amazon and Best Buy.

Not only graphics cards are missing. Even if you have the money, have you been able to buy a PlayStation 5? I didn’t think you couldn’t find the power of Sony’s new generation anywhere.

Nvidia RTX 3080 12GB GPU on Sale

Last week, Tech Times reported that Nvidia has finally released an advanced edition of the RTX 3080 GPU with 12GB of memory.

According to the report, the price of the new graphics card has not yet been disclosed, but in selected stores it could go up to 400,200. More information will be announced by Nvidia on January 27.

If you are considering purchasing this GPU because of its price, we recommend getting an inexpensive one. For example, you can check out the RTX 3050 and RTX 3070 GPUs. While their features are toned down compared to the upcoming graphics card, they are good alternatives if you’re on a low budget.

One possible solution is to buy a used GPU of comparable power to what you are looking for, either from the previous generation of the same manufacturer or from a competitor. This works best in the mid-range, where higher-end GPUs will be thicker counterparts.

Windows 11 product satisfaction is highest of all Windows, says Microsoft

According to Microsoft, Windows 11 is rolling out twice as fast as Windows 10 via upgrade offers. In addition, the Windows 11 upgrade offer is entering the final stage of availability, which Microsoft did not anticipate until mid-2022.

Intel’s €1.06 billion antitrust fine overturned by EU’s General Court

The European Union Court has just lifted a € 1.06 billion fine imposed on Intel in 2009. The fine was initially imposed after the European Commission found that Intel was abusing its dominant position in the processor market to foreclose competitors.

“To the moon” is like a slogan among cryptocurrency investors. They express their hope by saying “Dogecoin to the moon” for example – especially when Tesla and SpaceX champion Elon Musk shares a photo of his dog, live broadcasts eating a hot dog, barking or something like that.

What the future holds

Manufacturer GeForce recently announced that the global graphics card shortage would continue throughout 2021. To make matters worse, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and processor maker Intel also warned that the shortage could continue throughout 2022.

Given the state of the pandemic and these promises from major companies, the immediate future seems terrible. For at least a few years, the entry-level and mid-range graphics card market is likely to be dominated by the GTX 1030, and high-powered cards like the RTX series will be even rarer.

I’m pretty sure a lot of people who would otherwise build a personal computer for themselves chose the more expensive laptops simply because they needed more graphics power from the beginning of this scarcity.

Even if the immediate future is not very bright, any scarcity ends one way or another in this world order. As the Turks ironically joke: “There is no shortage of solutions in capitalism.”

Yes, the current shortage will also end, though not in a very short time. Waiting seems to be the only option for players these days, aside from hope and prayer.

NVIDIA’s reliance on Samsung is slowing it down, according to the report, as the latter company is not producing chips fast enough. However, for the next generation of GPUs, NVIDIA will rely on TSMC for its production responsibilities, which should help with the performance hassle given TSMC’s processes and its edge over Samsung.

Prebuilt Rigs

A more decisive, if less picky, option is to buy a pre-made laptop or gaming PC. Due to graphics card distribution agreements, you may not be able to find the graphics card you want, but you are more likely to find a ready-made desktop or laptop with a graphics card already installed.

Of course, this solution is not for everyone. Many sniff their noses at pre-built kits, while others buy them exclusively for their GPUs .

Ready-made game kits are obviously more expensive than building it yourself, and of course, they cannot be customized that way. But if your ailing platform desperately needs an upgrade, and the thought of buying one graphics card for the same price as a fully-built platform is distasteful to you, this may be your best option.


A Path Forward

So what to do with graphics cards? Well, the forecast doesn’t look great. Even with Intel releasing the Arc Alchemist line, it doesn’t look like the shortage is going to end soon.

Problems appear to be emerging in the near future with increasing semiconductor production and repairing the global supply chain. So, unfortunately, if you are running out of time to monitor drops in stocks, cash to buy ready-made equipment, or luck in lottery wins, the best option is to just wait.

Together, we can dream of ray tracing and sunnier days beyond that single, perfect storm.

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