It’s no secret that buying a new GPU — or console, or any piece of hot consumer tech — has been a nightmare this year. And if you’ve been eagerly awaiting something like an RTX 3080 — or any Nvidia RTX card — then you might want to check back in, oh, probably March.
The months-long disappointment — and the absurdity of what’s happening to third-party models right now — is something we’re going to have to get used to for at least a few months, according to Nvidia’s chief financial officer Colette Kress.
Kress attended a fireside chat at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Virtual Conference, an event which is usually more long-term, strategically focused. But given that Nvidia’s quarterly earnings are only a couple of weeks out from being delivered, and news around RTX shortages (and shortages of practically anything premium in gaming) are also flying around, the chat targeted the elephant in the room from the off.
“We do have supply constraints and our supply constraints do expand pass what we’re seeing in terms of wafers and silicon, but yes some constrains are in substrates and components,” Kress explained (via a Seeking Alpha transcript of the conference). “We continue to work during the quarter on our supply and we believe though that demand will probably exceed supply in Q4 for overall gaming.“
In case that message wasn’t loud and clear enough — and this is the chief financial officer of a company that just casually rolled out a few thousand OzLotto trucks to buy ARM openly suggesting they won’t meet demand — Kress put things a little more bluntly:
We do expect it probably to take a couple months for it to catch up to demand, but at this time, it’s really difficult for us to quantify. So we stay focused on trying to get our cards to the market for this very important holiday season. And each day, things continue to improve. But before the end of the quarter, we’ll be able to provide some more information.
As far as Australia’s concerned, that’s not great news. Nvidia will (naturally) focus on their biggest markets first. So the reasonable expectation here is that Australia should get sorted once the US, Europe and China — particularly with the Chinese New Year holidays around the corner — are sorted. So we could be seeing continued supply issues all the way through to March, which obviously isn’t great.
Interestingly, Nvidia’s CFO was also quizzed on whether the recent re-boom in cryptocurrency would impact the GPU market (like it did two years ago). There’s been concerns about cryptominers taking interest in the Ampere cards’ efficiency for things like bitcoin, but according to Kress, that interest isn’t impacting GPU availability right now.
“Our focus in terms of really understanding our channel over the last couple of years post-crypto has continued to be a focus of ours and enhancements to really understanding both levels in the channel and in terms of real-time or as close to real-time information that we can get in terms of how the overall channel is doing,” Kress said. “On your crypto question, we have heard some interest from the channel, but nobody is aware of any real demand at this time for crypto.“
So that’s at least one source of comfort. Although, to be fair, maybe the reason why there isn’t bigger demand from cryptominers is because they’re struggling to buy the GPUs just like everyone else. So come March it could just be a redux of 2018, where the demand for Litecoin, Ethereum and others sent AMD and Nvidia GPUs soaring.
Mind you, that’s happening right now anyway.