Despite trending downward over the past few months, GPU prices are starting to rise again. German outfit 3D Center published its GPU market report on Monday, and it shows a slight uptick in the prices of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards after months of price drops.
The most recent data show Nvidia cards going from 150% of suggested price to 159%, and AMD graphics cards moving from 159% of suggested price to 164%. At the beginning of August, AMD showed a 3% increase in price, but Nvidia prices continued dropping. With Nvidia prices now going up, the report suggests the GPU crisis is far from over.
It’s important to note that 3D Center only tracks German retailers, so these numbers don’t apply to the entire world (though, they have served as a good reference point). The price data also doesn’t include the RTX 3070 Ti, RTX 3080 Ti, or RX 6600 XT. These cards are newer and priced higher than the cards that launched in 2020, which would skew the average price even higher.
The outlet points to decreased supply of the oldest current-gen GPUs as a possible culprit for the increased prices. The AMD RX 6800 is nearly impossible to find, and Nvidia’s base RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090 have each seen a downtick in availability.
Nvidia is pushing ahead with its Ti variants of these base Ampere models, so the dwindling availability makes sense. There are now updated variants of each card in the RTX 30-series range, with the exception of the RTX 3090. Recent rumors suggest Nvidia is working on an RTX 3090 Super for later this year, however.
Overall, availability isn’t as big of an issue as it was at the start of 2021. It’s possible that Nvidia didn’t anticipate the problem would last this long and opted to press on with the updated Ti variants rather than the base models. Now that those base models are phasing out, they aren’t being replaced with new inventory, driving up prices.
The other explanation is cryptocurrency mining. AMD and Nvidia cards experienced a massive price spike in May, which correlated with a spike in Ethereum prices. The price of Ethereum leveled off in June and July, but it’s rising again. GPUs are still the main mining source for Ethereum, and the alt-coin is likely playing a role in the increasing prices.
On top of that, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang recently warned that the supply issues will continue throughout 2022. With limited supply and an increase in crypto prices, we could see a situation similar to what transpired in the first half of 2021. To make matters worse, recent reports suggest chipmaker TSMC — which creates AMD RX 6000 GPUs — will raise prices this year, making cards even more expensive.
The GPU shortage is over — there are enough graphics cards to go around at this point. However, supply chain issues are still causing some problems in light of the sustained demand from gamers and cryptocurrency miners. The increased prices are profitable for scalpers, too, who continue to sell marked-up cards on the secondhand market.
Hopefully, we’ll have good news before we have more bad news. Intel is working on its Arc Alchemist graphics cards for early 2022, which should introduce more graphics cards in a market that’s dying for them. AMD and Nvidia likely have next-gen GPUs in the works, too, but we don’t know when they’re launching at this point.
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