Presenting buying advice for the best graphics cards in the last year has become a fool’s errand to some extent. Persistent supply shortages and increased demand, particularly from cryptominers, has created a perfect storm where there simply isn’t enough inventory to go around.
Club386 passes judgement on a product’s intrinsic qualities but oftentimes has to row back on an outright recommendation because stock is either vanishingly small or non-existent. Whatever there is, however, is sold at much higher prices than RRP, thereby dampening the appeal. This supply-and-demand imbalance is one reason why the PC market hasn’t hit even greater heights in 2021.
Those most in the know about the ongoing supply situation are Nvidia and AMD, whose discrete graphics cards dominate the PC upgrade market.
At the 24th Annual Needham Growth Conference, Nvidia CFO, Colette Kress, offered a glimmer of hope saying “so even throughout all of calendar 2021, we have seen strong demand for GeForce. And it continues to remain strong and stronger than our overall supply that we have. The holiday demand, for example, was quite strong, particularly in laptops. And we’re still finishing out our quarter. But we’ll look at the end of the quarter in terms of what we’ve seen in terms of channel levels. We had seen channel levels be quite lean, and we are working with our supply chain partners to increase the availability of supply. And we feel better about our supply situation as we move into the second half of the calendar year ’22.”
Nvidia’s strategy of limiting the potential of GeForce cards to mine for cryptocurrency is helping quell demand in that area, opined Kress, but it’s difficult for Nvidia to determine the exact effect it is having on the market as a whole. “New crypto hash rate has stemmed and we’re seeing several different sources of that. That can be our GeForce GPUs, it could be AMD GPUs, custom ASICs, and our CMP product, all of these are contributing. But again, it’s just very difficult for us to quantify,” said Kress.
Reports say next-generation GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs, codenamed Lovelace, are due out in the second half of this year. It is impossible to know whether Nvidia’s supply-improving claims will ring true, but the PC component industry, and graphics cards in particular, sorely needs a better mechanism to allocate stock to the people who it is intended for.