Don’t worry – the RTX 4090 won’t cause another GPU shortage

We are sitting on the edge of the Nvidia GTC, as it has been confirmed that the company will launch the next generation RTX 4090 . Graphics Card. The last time we were in this situation, nearly two years ago today, Nvidia launched what would become the worst. GPU deficiency We’ve seen it before, and it’s only fair if you’re nervous we might be stuck in this situation again.

The RTX 4090 will almost certainly be sold out when it launches, but you don’t need to get one F5 Key ready for GPU. There were many factors that led to the GPU shortage, and none of them applied this time. If you’ve been waiting for the next generation of GPUs to pull the trigger, don’t get caught up in the launch noise — all signs are that the RTX 4090 won’t cause another GPU shortage.

Where demand meets supply

Mining rig Berta 2 from Simon Byrne. tecarb

The biggest difference this makes is that there is no pandemic for supply chains to deal with. The number of cases that peaked earlier this year is down, and although there was a brief spike two months ago, it doesn’t look like we’re headed toward another lockdown. This helps, but the main reason we don’t see shortages is going back to the supply chain.

The chipset shortage, which eventually led to the GPU shortage, receded. The supply chain issues have not been fully resolved, but there are many indications that there is an oversupply of chips and insufficient demand for them. Nvidia hinted at this fact On its latest earnings call, saying it has “excess inventory” of RTX 30-series graphics cards and will start cutting prices to sell them. We are seeing the effects of that now.

Demand for PCs and extended graphics cards skyrocketed in 2020 and throughout 2021. Now that people are back in the office, that demand is mostly gone — but the components built to meet that demand remain. That’s why we see GPU pricing crash quickly. For example, file RTX 3090 TiLaunched in April with a list price of over $2,000, it is now approaching $1,200.

Even with the unexpected spike in COVID, it is unlikely that the supply chain will be in dire straits as it was in 2020. Not only are companies now sitting in overstock, but they have also traversed rocky waters to rebuild the supply chain during the worst of the pandemic.

Switch partners

Taiwan Semiconductor
Taiwan Semiconductor Corporation (TSMC), Fab 5 Building, Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan Belden / Wikimedia

Although the pandemic certainly exacerbated the GPU shortage, it was not the root cause. Nvidia’s problems in the previous generation started with Samsung. RTX 30-series graphics cards use Samsung’s 8nm node, and reports shortly after these cards were released said Samsung had a higher defect rate than expected.

In case you weren’t aware, Nvidia is a “fabless”, which means they don’t actually make GPUs in their graphics cards. Instead, chip makers like Samsung handle manufacturing while Nvidia handles design. It was a risk with Samsung in the previous generation, and it is clear that Nvidia does not want to take the same risk this time.

Nvidia uses chipset maker TSMC for the RTX 4090 and presumably all RTX 40-series GPUs. TSMC was Nvidia’s partner until the RTX 30 series, and while we’ve seen shortages in the past, none of them stemmed from defective manufacturing. Hopefully, a return to TSMC will mean fewer defective chips, which is what caused the GPU shortage in the first place.

The ominous “merging”

Mining device for cryptocurrency from a computer graphic card.
Getty Images

Manufacturing issues caused a GPU shortage, but the encryption extended it. In particular, Ethereum expanded it. Although Bitcoin is stealing the spotlight, the Ethereum blockchain is where the majority of GPU mining took place throughout the shortage – about 25% of all GPU sales during the shortage went to Ethereum miners According to one estimate.

But Ethereum is badly down now, which is why Why are GPU prices going down Very fast. This is a good sign, but GPU prices affected by cryptocurrency Over the past four years, so a bounce in Ethereum could spell disaster. Fortunately, that is not the case anymore.

Ethereum just went through a file The long-awaited, “Merge” Which reduces the power required for the blockchain and eliminates mining completely. Although the Ethereum group has been promising a turnaround for some time, He was always late. Honestly, it doesn’t look like the “merging” will ever happen, leaving the fate of the upcoming GPU supplies in limbo.

Now that the hammer is down, it’s much easier to be confident about your next GPU supply. Even if there is a shortage, another crypto boom is unlikely to prolong and exacerbate the shortage, which we saw in 2020 and briefly at the end of 2017.

A short-term deficit is expected

Introducing the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card.

While it’s very unlikely that we’ll see another GPU shortage of the magnitude that occurred in 2020, a short-term one is likely. When a new generation of GPUs or CPUs are launched, there is a short period of a few weeks where they are sold out everywhere and prices skyrocket in the second hand market. Usually, prices fall rapidly as supply stabilizes.

I expect we’ll see an exaggerated version of this with the RTX 4090. Considering the sheer size of cow GPUs over the past couple of years – one estimate is that the speculators It brought in $61.5 million from the sale of GPUs In 2020 alone – I wouldn’t be surprised if the initial wave of GPUs sold out right away and went to the used market at 2020 prices.

This should calm down quickly, so don’t get caught up in the launch noise. It’s usually a bad idea to buy a GPU the day it comes out anyway. The RTX 4090 won’t cause another GPU shortage on the scale we just came out with, so don’t worry too much about picking one up on launch day.

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