It’s been more than two months since Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series launch and more than one since AMD’s Big Navi GPU launch. Yet none of these cards are available on store shelves. Going to Amazon, Newegg, or other vendors to find these cards will yield nothing more than a notify me button.
Going to Ebay, on the other hand, will net a lot of cards at unbelievably high markups. After seeing the disaster that is the Nvidia launch, people began expecting the same with AMD. After all, the pandemic forced people to stay at home, giving them more opportunities to turn to gaming. However, in September, AMD’s Gaming chief architect Frank Azor seemed to imply that AMD will not have such issues.
During the launch of AMD’s radeon 6000 series graphics cards, buyers were disappointed with the amount of stock, with many vendors like B&H Photo stating that they have zero stock. This led to major outcry on the internet, who have been promised to have no such issues by AMD.So what happened, why did both launches fail so miserably? Both companies cited extreme demand for the graphics cards at launch which is likely true as leaks and rumors hyped these cards as being more powerful that previous generation graphics cards at a lower price. Many online vendors have said the traffic to their side just for these cards is greater than the usual traffic on black friday. So is the reason for the shortage only because these companies misjudged demand? Not likely. For Nvidia, the RTX 3000 series is made using Samsung’s new 8nm node, where transistor size in the GPU is only 8nm. This new node is rumored to have poor yields, greatly hurting the amount of GPUs Nvidia could push out. In addition to having poor GPU yields, it is also rumored that Nvidia is readjusting their whole GPU lineup as AMD’s radeon 6000 seems to be more attractive to users who do not care about Nvidia’s ray tracing feature as the Radeon cards have more memory than Nvidia’s RTX cards while having equal performance at a lower cost. This means Nvidia might be holding back some GPU dies for when their new revised lineup is announced early 2021.As for AMD, they are using TSMC’s 7nm process for their GPUs. This process is already rather mature as AMD has been using this process for their ryzen 3000 series CPUs. However, since AMD produces the processors for the newly released PS5 and XBOX Series X, it is likely that a large fraction of AMD’s fab capabilities at TSMC is allocated to these consoles.As of now, it seems like the global GPU shortage from both Nvidia and AMD will persist for a while longer, until at least early 2021. Until then, all consumers could do to get their shiny new GPUs is to refresh that Newegg or amazon page until they are lucky.