TL;DR: Getting hold of an RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 since their launch has been a nightmare for most people, but at least they should become easier to buy in the next couple of months, right? Not according to Jensen Huang. The Nvidia boss says the incredible demand for the cards is going to get worse as the holiday season approaches, meaning shortages can be expected until next year—and the RTX 3070 will likely suffer the same fate.
The Ampere launch has been far from smooth. Scalpers used bots to buy large numbers of RTX 3080 cards and sell them on eBay for ridiculous prices. Nvidia promised it would fight back against the practice using methods such as manually reviewing orders for the RTX 3090 release, but its efforts did little to help. There was also the whole capacitor confusion.
Purchasing highly anticipated products will always prove difficult during their initial release period, and most consumers are pinning their hopes on grabbing an Ampere card before the year is out. But Nvidia CEO Huang warns not to get your hopes up.
“I believe that demand will outstrip all of our supply through the year,” he said (via Tom’s Hardware). “Remember, we’re also going into the double-whammy. The double-whammy is the holiday season. Even before the holiday season, we were doing incredibly well, and then you add on top of it the ‘Ampere factor,’ and then you add on top of that the ‘Ampere holiday factor,’ and we’re going to have a really really big Q4 season.”
Huang added that the shortages of Ampere cards isn’t a supply issue; it’s because the products are experiencing unbelievable demand and Nvidia wasn’t ready for it. “The 3080 and 3090 have a demand issue, not a supply issue. The demand issue is that it is much, much greater than we expected — and we expected really a lot.”
“Retailers will tell you they haven’t seen a phenomenon like this in over a decade of computing. It hearkens back to the old days of Windows 95 and Pentium when people were just out of their minds to buy this stuff. So this is a phenomenon like we’ve not seen in a long time, and we just weren’t prepared for it.”
“Even if we knew about all the demand, I don’t think it’s possible to have ramped that fast. We’re ramping really, really hard. Yields are great, the product’s shipping fantastically, it’s just getting sold out instantly. I appreciate it very much, I just don’t think there’s a real problem to solve. It’s a phenomenon to observe. It’s just a phenomenon.”
Nvidia recently announced that it was moving the RTX 3070 launch from October 15 to October 29, which should help alleviate shortage issues. But a $499 card that offers RTX 2080 Ti-beating performance (according to the firm) is going to be very popular. And with the knowledge that its big brothers will be in short supply until 2021, expect the next Ampere product to disappear from stores just as quickly as its predecessors. It’ll be interesting to see if AMD can take advantage of the situation when its Radeon 6000 cards arrive in a few weeks.