The GPU crisis might finally be ending. The issue has been a major concern for PC gamers through 2020 and beyond. The availability of graphics cards has been terrible, to put it lightly. At this point, if you’re not either using online bots or paying graphics card scalper prices, you’re unlikely to even have a chance to buy one.
Why? Because of increased demand. The number of new PC gamers exploded in 2020. This all led to a major drop in semiconductor supply in many industries. Cars, GPUs and so much more saw reduced production as supply of vital components dropped. The resulting drop in output also further contributed to scalping. But this couldn’t last forever.
So what changed?
One of the biggest supply shifts came as China changed its attitude. The country most well-known as the “World’s Factory” had become a dominant force in global hash rates for various cryptocurrencies. That all changed a few weeks ago when a major crackdown from the Chinese government effectively shuttered many major mining operations. The forecasted reason for this was a combination of attempts at reducing energy usage; as well as the more insidious attempt to protect traditional economic investments from the destabilization of crypto.
The shutdown prompted a major sell-off of GPUs from within China. And it would seem the slow tide of the market is turning against scalpers, but let’s talk about other factors first.
On the manufacturer side, Nvidia tried and failed to bring out Light Hash Rate (LHR) GPUs to limit Etherium mining. This effort failed largely because of incompetence and stupidly high demand. AMD didn’t even try such a move.
South Korea and other countries announced major partnerships to try and backstop future demand. And even though it will take years for semiconductor supply to rebound and improve, these new fabs are a step in the right direction. The long-term plan is to prevent another circumstance like this from reoccurring.
On the other side of the globe, Microsoft is throwing its hat into the GPU ring in an unexpected way. No, the Redmond giant isn’t following in the intel Xe footsteps, but they are adding a new product. Microsoft announced that it wants to compete with AMD and Nvidia with their own DLSS/FSR alternative. It’s unclear what impact this will have on GPU supply, though, as the release is a long way off.
Scalpers getting run off, finally!
Nobody likes scalpers. These vultures run from hobby to hobby, buying up stock of sought-after items, and then resell the items. From shoes to TCGs, these scum are greedy and motivated only by money. They don’t care if their pricing pressure pushes people out of the hobby. It also nearly escalated to shoot-outs in American retailers over Pokémon cards. So yeah, F*ck Scalpers.
But when they’re not turning violent, scalpers continue to chase their dollar god. Many scalpers continue to hold out and post graphics cards for absurdly high prices, but buyers aren’t biting. It would seem that the cat is out of the bag. Buyers are holding onto their money and waiting for price drops. It will still take time for this to happen though.
So what do graphics card scalper prices look like? Still not good.
The RTX 3070 is now below $1,000, with some AIB models further, closer to $800. RTX 3060 models have also dropped from similar highs to a low around $700. That’s still more than twice the initial MSRP, but it’s better than the high mark. The equivalent AMD offering in the 6700 XT also sits at a similar price point, for now. All indications point to a few more months of waiting for the crisis to abate more. This doesn’t mean we’ll be back to MSRP before the end of 2021, more so that it will be slightly easier to buy a GPU, although at a higher price.
So it would seem as though the prediction of GPU shortages lasting until 2022 was on point.