If you've been patiently waiting for the Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card to come back in stock, we have bad news. It may be time to move on.
"Unfortunately, we have received news from both manufacturers and Nvidia that the availability of the RTX 3000 series cards will deteriorate further in the first quarter of 2021," European hardware retailer Alternate.de warned on its website.
That said, some cards are less popular than others, so you may have better luck by either upgrading to an RTX 3090 or downgrading to an RTX 3070 instead, given that these cards have experienced less demand than the 3080 and 3060 Ti.
Demand for both the $699 RTX 3080 and the $399 RTX 3060 Ti is extremely high, with many open orders at Alternate, Tom's Hardware reported. On the other hand, there are only a few open orders currently in place for the more expensive $1,499 RTX 3090 and the midrange RTX 3070 , which comes in at $499.
Alternate claims that it is receiving few incoming deliveries for these cards, so while inventory is still constrained, the good news for gamers is that there are also fewer orders to fulfill when it comes to the ultra-premium 3090 and the midrange 3070. This means that there may be a better chance of getting one of these cards over the flagship RTX 3080.
When it comes to Nvidia's RTX 3000 series graphics, regardless of which model you choose, you'll still have to wait after your order is placed. Alternate said that there is still a waiting list, as Nvidia, like rivals AMD and Intel, is experiencing high demand for its cards, This has led to shortages during the pandemic, as more people find they need additional computer performance while they're working, studying, and trying to stay entertained at home.
Despite overwhelming demand and supply-side shortages, gamers in the market should order their new GPU as soon as possible, as there is a likelihood that prices will go up. Given the law of supply and demand, retailers expect the cost of a new graphics card to increase in the near future. Alternate claims that the shortages will g from bad to worse, and become the new norm for the foreseeable future. Still, many retailers claim that if you're already on the list, you will get to keep your order price.
Like the rest of the industry, Nvidia is having a hard time sourcing raw materials for production of its cards. Prior to today's news, there was chatter that a shortage of components — specifically GDDR6 memory — could be the culprit for some of the GPU shortages on the market. Interestingly, though, both the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 use more advanced GDDR6X memory and not the GDDR6 part that was cited in the previous rumor.
Another contributing factor to the shortage in the near future is the Lunar New Year holiday, which will see many factories across Asia shut down for a week or two in observance.
"This is due to the poor availability of raw materials and Nvidia chips, but also to the Chinese New Year, which causes a temporary closure of factories," Alternate said.
Nvidia's CFO had previously predicted that the shortage will likely continue at least through the first quarter of this year.
Even ahead of all the component issues, the popularity of these cards had already created a price increase on the secondary market, as scalpers wiped out pre-order supplies to resell on sites like eBay. With news of more supply constraints, gamers may be disheartened to hear that price increases will likely also affect official sales channel.
In the U.S., prices are already climbing due to increased tariffs from the country's trade dispute with China, where much of the world's electronics is manufactured. A 25% tariff enacted by the administration of former President Donald Trump means that the $699 RTX 3080 will cost $874 — and that's before any official price increases and taxes.
If you're in the market for a GPU, it's probably best to get your order in sooner than later, even if you have to wait due to shipping delays.
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