Graphics cards are getting more expensive again

The price of graphics cards has been a sore subject for many over the last year, with a tragic mix of hardware shortages and high demand causing massive inflation.

With China’s crackdown on Cryptomining operations resulting in ex-mining GPUs flooding the market, it was anticipated that we could finally start to see prices of new hardware drop to something more affordable, but it seems recent market analysis suggests we’re not out of the woods yet.

MyDrivers, a Chinese language tech website, reports that the supply of Nvidia RTX 30 series graphics cards will drop by 30% compared to August, with the RTX 3060 suffering from a 50% reduction in expected availability, and prices are increasing again for just about every GPU on the market – even including older hardware like the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti.

The sorry state of silicon

Videocardz converted the price hikes of various in-demand Nvidia graphics cards from yuan to USD in its own reporting, and notes that AMD GPU stock appears to be less affected by shortages despite also facing inflated prices.

Asus:

  • RTX 3070 Ti: 600 yuan ($92 / £67 / AU$125)
  • RTX 3080 and RTX 3070: +300-400 yuan ($46-62 / £33-45 / AU$62-84)
  • RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3060, and RTX 2060: +200-350 yuan ($31-54 / £22-40 / AU$42-73)
  • GTX 1660 and GTX 1050: +100-150 yuan. ($15-23 / £11-17 / AU$20-31)
  • RX 6600 XT: +400 yuan ($62 / £45 / AU$84)

Gigabyte:

  • RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 Ti: +200-400 yuan ($31-62 / £22-45 / AU$42-84)
  • RTX 3070 Ti, RTX 3070: +100-300 yuan ($15-46 / £11-33 / AU$20-62)
  • RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3060: +300 yuan ($46 / £33 / AU$62)
  • RTX 2060, GTX 1660, GTX 1650: +100 yuan ($15 / £11 / AU$20)
  • GTX 1050 Ti: +80 yuan ($12 / £9 / AU$16)

We reported last week that TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is looking to raise prices by as much as 20% to offset the huge spike in demand for chips, but there wasn’t a guarantee that manufacturers would pass on these costs to consumers. 

We can’t be certain that the price increases we’re seeing are reflective of the increased manufacturing costs, and various other reasons such as temporary closures of GPU assembly lines due to new COVID outbreaks have also been cited as a cause for hardware shortages, but knowing why GPUs are more expensive is going to be of little comfort to consumers who have been waiting patiently for the grotesque inflation to drop and for stock to be more plentiful to reduce scalping.


Analysis: We’re in this for the long run

While some of the above price changes are small, there’s little reason for an older GPU like the GTX 1050 Ti to receive a price bump when newer entry-level cards with a relatively affordable MSRP exist on the market, such as the RTX 3060. This paints a concerning picture for the coming months of availability, and while this is purely speculative, it looks like we’re going to suffer through low stock and artificially inflated prices for a good while.

We also wouldn’t discredit that this is happening in China rather than in western countries like the USA. A blend of misfortune means no singular reason can be blamed for the current market situation, but a key issue is a supply, with the Covid-19 pandemic causing production to slip. As China is a major manufacturer for electronics, it’s likely we will see this trickle across to the wider global market.

If you’ve been trying to get your hands on a new GPU at a reasonable price then you’re in for a lengthy wait. Our best advice is to look into buying a gaming laptop or, if your internet connection is good enough, consider trying streaming services like Nvidia GeForce Now. With any luck, production will increase and the graphics card market could start to eventually stabilize, but it’s unlikely we’ll see much improvement before 2022.

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