When Nvidia launched its RTX 3000 GPUs, the availability of the cards was less than great, with demand far outstripping supply, leading to a shortage. Now a new report suggests the problem is about to get worse.
European hardware retailer Alternate, which operates in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, has spoken with Nvidia about availability and confirmed that, throughout the first quarter, the cards will be even more difficult to come by than before. There are multiple factors at play, including the surge in Ethereum mining, none of them good news.
What to Expect?
Alternate spoke with Nvidia about each of the cards, with the following situations:
- RTX 3090: Very few deliveries, but only a few open orders
- RTX 3080: Very few cards coming with many open orders
- RTX 3070: Few cards incoming, but few open orders
- RTX 3060 Ti: Very few cards coming, and a moderately high amount of open orders
The chart is clear: If you're in the market for an RTX 3080 or an RTX 3060 Ti, chances are you'll have to sit through quite a wait before a card is available for you due to a high number of open orders and very few card deliveries from distributors.
The retailer has a waiting list with a first in, first out criteria for placed orders. Your luck will apparently be better with RTX 3070 and RTX 3090 cards, as despite fewer incoming shipments, they aren't nearly as popular and thus have shorter waiting lists. The 3080 and 3060 Ti are in higher demand, still with very limited cards being delivered.
Multiple Contributing Factors
The most obvious factor at hand is that demand is far outstripping supply, and Nvidia simply cannot make enough GPUs amidst the current pandemic. But that's not all, and Q1 is set to be especially bad for two additional reasons: Chinese New Year, and reduced availability of raw materials for making the new cards.
Like many other companies, Nvidia is unable to source enough raw materials for GPU production, likely due to shortages further up the supply chain — similar to how chip packaging is holding up AMD's supply due to a shortage of substrate packaging. GDDR6 and GDDR6X are both in high demand and are the most likely components to cause further limitations on supply, but other elements like VRMs, capacitors, PCBs, and wirebonding equipment can impact the supply of finished cards.
Meanwhile, the Chinese New Year is taking place on February 12th. That means many factories will close for one or two weeks, further contributing to the manufacturing shortages. There's usually more planning around the Chinese New Year, but with all of the other ongoing issues, most places haven't been able to build up a surplus to get through the holiday closures.
Prices On the Rise
Alternate goes on to explain that if you had already placed an order previously, your price will remain and you will keep your position in the waiting list. However, prices will be on the rise due to the reduced supply.
Dutch retailer Megekko is also filtering open orders and canceling and crediting those with multiple GPUs per order to try and weed out scalpers.
While this is all information stemming from European retailers, from what we're seeing, the situation is no different in the US. Both continents' products come from the same production lines, and the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3080 also appear to be most popular here. In other words, buckle up, because we're in for an extended bumpy ride.