Graphics Card Shortage Diminishes as Crypto Crashes

Throughout 2021, graphics cards have remained almost impossible to find for the average consumer, sometimes being the subject of a lengthy scavenger hunt for the most determined among them. For a few weeks, these beautiful cards intended for computers “player” are making a comeback in electronics stores. ” We see a return to normal “says Laurent de La Clergerie, owner of the LDLC, Materiel.net and Top Achat stores. ” We no longer have difficulty obtaining these products. »

At major online retailers, all ranges of Nvidia and AMD cards are now easy to find, even if entry-level models aren’t always available, according to findings from the World.

Rates also appear to be gradually returning to normal. In 2021, the prices of graphics cards had skyrocketed, rising, for certain models, up to twice what is recommended by Nvidia and AMD. This spiral has since reversed, with its prices now only 20% higher than expected. the gap is ” largely due to the appreciation of the dollar against the euro argues Laurent de La Clergerie, who thinks the decline has come to an end. ” Prices have been falling for two months, but in my opinion we have reached an impasse. For our part, we have returned to fairly traditional sales margin rates of 10%, up from 20% at the height of the peak. »

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Cryptocurrency crash

This landing in the graphics card market is largely due to the sharp drop in cryptocurrency prices. Indeed, in order to “mine” (that is, manufacture by means of a complex calculation process) these electronic currencies, individuals and large companies need a great deal of computing power, which can be provided by graphics cards. Coins crash, mining revenue abandonment, which makes investment in production equipment much more profitable and discourages most new entrants. The demand for graphics cards has been reduced.

Another key factor came into play: the relaxation of measures aimed at containing the pandemic, which had several consequences. First, sales of laptops for telecommuters have plummeted.” release production capacity in chip foundries According to Alan Priestley, who deals, among other things, with studies on semiconductors at the consulting firm Gartner.

Also, released from their isolation, some gamers have lost the desire for new graphics cards. ” In our stores, compared to last year, sales fell by 25%observes Laurent de La Clergerie. But beware, their volumes are still very high: compared to 2019, we are currently selling twice as many cards. This strong demand, the market manages to absorb it, because “The production of chips for cards has increased”according to Alan Priestly.

Finally, logistics, deeply affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, is improving. Some bottlenecks that prevented foundries from producing at full capacity have been removed. At the same time, global transportation works better. As Alan Priestley summed up, logistics is now “better aligned with consumer demand”.

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In the future, the drop in demand could continue due to inflation, which eats away at players’ budgets. According to Wall Street Journalgraphics card manufacturer Nvidia has anticipated reduced his hiring. The action of the American company lost 48% in the first semester. Another high-end chip giant, Intel, has also temporarily reduced hiring in its PC department.

If these semiconductor brands and their suppliers fail to scale production fast enough, prices could drop further before the next generation of graphics cards are released. expected for 2023. However, according to Alan Priestley, the prognosis remains “Hard to do” in an uncertain economic context, and in a climate of exacerbated competition and innovation for chip brands such as Nvidia and AMD and the three great founders of high-end electronic circuits, Samsung, Intel and TSMC.

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New consoles are still hard to find

The latest generation consoles are powered by the same kind of high-end electronic chips as recent graphics cards: the fineness of the etching of their electronic circuitry falls below 10 micrometers. However, despite the return of graphics cards to the market, the latest generation video consoles are still not available on the shelves of the main online stores… unless you trust very small sellers who officiate in the marketplaces of Amazon, Fnac or Darty, for example. These “associate sellers” specialize in buying the consoles very quickly, before consumers can get their hands on them, to resell them well above the official price. The extra cost continues to be especially high today in the case of the Playstation 5, difficult to find at the beginning of July at less than 70% above the official price, according to the conclusions of the World.

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