Nvidia RTX 3000 stock is likely to remain constrained through to April, or possibly even May
If you’re wondering when it might become easier to buy one of the latest Nvidia RTX 3000 or AMD RX 6000 graphics cards, the answer is – sadly – not any time soon.
The Nvidia RTX 3000 family isn’t going to be any easier to find as we head into Christmas, 2020. Any hope to the contrary was dashed during the company’s conference call for calendar Q3 2020.
We’ve recently heard from both AMD and Nvidia on this topic, with the news from the latter coming via a conference call with Nvidia’s CFO Colette Kress by Seeking Alpha
Kress stressed that there had been strong demand for Ampere GPUs and the Nvidia RTX supply remains tight, and then observed:
“We expect the overall channel inventories, meaning the inventories that are with our AIC partners [graphics card makers] as well as in our e-tail and retail channels will likely remain lean throughout Q1.”
The bad news here is that doesn’t mean Q1 as in January through to March, but Nvidia’s fiscal Q1 which comes to a close at the end of April. In other words, Nvidia RTX stock is likely to remain constrained through to April, or possibly even May by the sound of things.
Nvidia has “invented a new type of computer graphics.”. Albrecht Dürer invented ray tracing, conceptually speaking, in the 16th century. Extensive work was being done on ray tracing algorithms by the late 1970s. Beyond these points, the degree of ray tracing integration into modern game engines is insufficient to declare this new feature a “new type of computer graphics.” Nvidia deserves credit for being the first company to integrate hardware ray tracing capabilities in a desktop GPU, and for bringing the feature to market with Nvida RTX series. Early benchmarks against the AMD 6800 and 6800 XT show that top-end Ampere cards outperform Radeon GPUs with this feature engaged.
Nvidia is, in other words, doing a lot of good work to help push real-time ray tracing to market and bring products to market. It has certainly helped popularize real-time ray tracing. It’s a vital part of the reason RTRT is now part of the discussion for gaming going forward. But inventing a new type of computer graphics? That’s a bit much. Nvidia has invented a new type of computer graphics in exactly the same way that Apple’s new M1 is faster than 98 percent of PC laptops. Like the M1, Ampere is a genuinely great product, just not quite that great.
Nvidia RTX 3000 Sales Figures
Most of the top-selling GPUs for-sale on Amazon and Newegg are a mishmash of lower-end Nvidia cards, a handful of midrange Turing models, and AMD cards like the 5600 XT and 5700 XT. As of this writing, there are only three Ampere / Nvidia RTX GPUs in Newegg’s Best Selling Top 20. Amazon has four in the Top 21. Reports from other vendors have suggested there aren’t many Ampere / Nvidia RTX cards in-channel.
That doesn’t mean they can’t manufacture the Nvidia RTX GPU — it may just mean that the company is choosing to prioritize the OEM boutique market above the channel right now. Alternately, there’s always the chance that Nvidia RTX 8nm yields from Samsung are fine, but supplies are limited due to poor availability of underlying components. Nvidia, after all, is not the only company having trouble getting brand-new products into customer hands.
Finally, we have to acknowledge that both AMD and Nvidia had real problems getting their new GPUs (AMD RX / Nvidia RTX) into market back in 2016, when there was no pandemic and both companies were working with TSMC rather than Nvidia utilizing Samsung. Even in the best of times, it can be difficult for manufacturers to ensure reliable supplies of their products. These are not the best of times.
Rumors suggest AMD RX isn’t going to have much better luck with availability than Nvidia GTX series has had. We’ll see what happens in the weeks to come.
Whatever the case, the last we heard was that Nvidia RTX stock levels would recover somewhat either in February or March, and it seems like that estimation – which was also from Kress back in November 2020 – has now been pushed back further.
“Our overall capacity has not been able to keep up with that overall strong demand that we have seen. We’ve seen in terms of constraints, constraints really from the overall global surge of compute and the overall capacity, capacity that may be necessary for assembly and test and/or sub trades as well. But again, we remain focused on this and working each day to improve our overall supply situation.”
As an aside, Kress also confirmed that as far as the adoption of Nvidia RTX graphics cards goes (Nvidia RTX 2000 and RTX 3000 models), around 10% of GPU owners have made the leap to an Nvidia RTX card.
Better prospects for Big Navi?
Okay, so if Nvidia RTX / Ampere stock is going to remain lean for the foreseeable, what about AMD? The news from team red sounds a bit more positive, but sadly, prospects of an inventory recovery still seem rather wobbly.
The Verge (which also spotted the above report) notes that the good news is that AMD is going to continue to sell its own RX 6800, 6800 XT and 6900 XT reference boards – rather than wind up production and leave it to third-party graphics card manufacturers to supply gamers with these high-end Big Navi GPUs (as would normally happen a while after launch).
This is because third-party cards are having their asking prices seriously inflated by retailers – due to those stock problems, of course, and the big demand – so AMD is promising to keep its own boards pegged at their recommended retail pricing. Graphics card manufacturers are also being encouraged to stick to those prices, too.
So yes, that’s definitely a positive move on the fairness front, although as The Verge notes, exactly how many GPUs AMD will be able to supply is another question – the firm said that it would make these reference cards available
“to as many gamers as possible,”which sounds rather noncommittal.
Furthermore, in an interview with Anandtech , AMD’s chief executive Lisa Su was questioned about stock shortages around not just Big Navi GPUs, but also Ryzen 5000 CPUs.
“This is the result of a demand focused environment, rather than manufacturing issues. There is tightness in the supply chain due to demand, and that invariably puts pressure on our consumer, PC, and gaming product lines. As it relates to our semiconductor production, we’re putting in additional capacity to meet this unexpected demand. It will take time to catch up, but that’s what we’re seeing.”
“We are shipping lots of parts, and volumes in all segments are increasing, and that will happen through 2021. There will be tightness in the first half of the year, but alongside consumers we also ship to OEM partners. There is some real-time prioritization between end-user and OEM, but we understand that consumers want more and it’s very high on our priority list to meet this high demand.”
Still, the noises about ‘tightness’ of supply in the first half of the year are bound to make folks nervous about exactly when we might see a meaningful uptick in the stock of Big Navi GPUs (or indeed top-end Ryzen 5000 silicon).
Meantime, if you’re on the hunt for an Nvidia graphics card, we’ve got some handy where to buy guides for the RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 and RTX 3080, articles that are worth keeping an eye on as we regularly update them to flag up when stock arrives. Similarly, on the AMD front, keep tabs on our guides for buying the RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT.