If you're set on purchasing one of Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30-series (codename Ampere) graphics cards, don't think twice. Chinese news outlet Commercial Times (via Twitter user @chiakokhua) reported that there probably wouldn't be enough graphics cards to go around. As a result, some vendors are purportedly preparing high-end motherboard bundle deals to force an upsell on customers. It also appears that ASUS's flagship Strix 3080 cards won't be available at launch, either.
According to the outlet, the limited availability at launch wouldn't just affect the GeForce RTX 3080, which is the new king of gaming graphics cards, but the entire Ampere product stack. We can't say we didn't see it coming, though, since there were early signs of the GeForce RTX 30-series having a tight supply problem. For one, no retailer is accepting preorders for Ampere, which means everyone has the same chance of securing a graphics card at launch time. Sadly, this has also opened the floodgates for scalpers to capitalize on the situation with the GeForce RTX 3080 release. Furthermore, mainstream Ampere relies on a custom Samsung 8nm process node, which might require a bit of time for yields to improve. The global supply chain disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic likely also play a role, too.
According to the Commercial Times report, the short supply originated in the second quarter of this year. Initially, the transition from Turing to Ampere slowed down the production schedule. Consequently, the shortage of other components contributed to elongating the schedule and negatively impacting delivery times. The lead time for Ampere is estimated to have increased by two to three weeks. There is hope that it will improve in the fourth quarter, though.
Some vendors are adopting a new marketing strategy to take advantage of the shortage to maximize their profits. The plan reportedly consists of bundling Ampere graphics cards with high-end motherboards to bolster the sales of the latter. Intel Z490 and AMD X570 and B550 motherboards will seemingly be part of the rumored bundles. Commercial Times mentioned that manufacturers will only use the bundling tactic in certain major markets, but didn't allude to which countries. In terms of supply, the publication's channel industry sources estimated that there would only be around a couple of thousand units of the GeForce RTX 3080 for the Chinese mainland market.