Nvidia’s new RTX 3080, 3070, 3060 Ti and 3090 and AMD RX 6800 and 6800 XT are all incredibly hard to find and sell instantly every time they appear, due to an incredible level of demand that makes these GPUs many one hundred dollars more than MSRP. A Trump tax and rising cryptocurrency prices may also be making them even more expensive. Many older graphics cards are also sold out online.
This week, Nvidia and AMD finally have some updates – and that’s bittersweet news.
On the plus side, AMD tells The edge it expects to sell more of its own reference design RX 6800, 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT cards on its own website in the first quarter of 2021
Meanwhile, Nvidia now says that delivery of GPUs to both consumers and partners “is likely to remain lean through Q1”, and we are not even talking about the first quarter of the year – Nvidia’s fiscal Q1 does not end until the end of April. It’s a terribly long wait.
Again, it is demand, not just supply constraints, that keeps graphics cards out of our hands. Nvidia tells us that its launch has sold its $ 499-and-up RTX 30 series GPUs almost twice as much as the RTX 20 series did after the same time. (The RTX 30 series is a much bigger upgrade than the previous generation, keep in mind – there weren’t many games that took advantage of Nvidia’s radiation tracking at the time, and people’s GTX 10 series cards still held up just fine.)
Nvidia at least seems to think that crypto miners are not snapping all the cards yet, despite the sky-high prices we have recently seen for Bitcoin and Ethereum.
“If cryptocurrency demand begins, or if we see a meaningful amount,” CFO Colette Kress said at a recent investor conference, “we can also use this opportunity to restart the CMP product line to meet the ongoing demand for mining.” CMP refers to Nvidia’s dedicated cryptomining GPUs, which remove the video ports that miners do not need because they do not run graphics to a monitor, making them more profitable for Nvidia.
As far as Trump’s taxes can affect the price of graphics cards, Nvidia does not say much – but AMD’s CEO Lisa Su claims that the company is trying its best to keep prices down. Here is an offer transcribed by AnandTech:
We knew about the expiration of some tariff policies and were working in advance towards a more flexible supply chain when it comes to AMD. We are committed to keeping GPU pricing as close as possible to our proposed retail pricing as much as possible because it is the only way to be fair to users. Usually, when we have GPU launches, our own brand cards are available initially, but then fade for our partners to pick up. This time we are not phasing out our RX 6000 series so we can sell directly to customers as low as possible. We encourage partners to do the same. Not only fares, but the COVID environment has increased shipping and shipping costs, which are hard to avoid. As we enter a more normal environment, this needs to be improved. This also means something for our planned graphic updates through the first half of the year as we have a lot of product coming on the market.
It sounds good, but it’s still pretty casual – and feels like a step back from what AMD said Hardware unboxed in November on how partners should be able to sell the RX 6800 XT to its original $ 649 MSRP within eight weeks.
During their back-to-back CES 2021 keys today, AMD praised how its new graphics card gave the company a “high-end lead” and noted that “many gamers are excited about the Radeon RX 6000 series,” while Nvidia acknowledged that “these products have been difficult to find and we would like to thank you for your patience as we continue to work hard to catch up.”
It’s going to be a wait, and you should not be surprised if Nvidia’s just announced $ 329 GeForce RTX 3060 is hell to buy, like its predecessors. As many have asked: why can we not just buy one and they will ship it when it is ready?
Update, 20:48 ET: Added AMD CEO Lisa Su’s thoughts on Trump’s tariffs and prices thanks to AnandTech.