Global GDDR6 shortage may prolong NVIDIA and AMD GPU supply woes at least till Feb 2021; GDDR6X GPUs are less-impacted, but foundry space still a concern for the next few months
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It looks like supply woes of new NVIDIA and AMD GPUs will continue for quite some time, at least till February 2021. Speaking at the Credit Suisse 24th Annual Technology Conference last month, NVIDIA CFO Colette Kress indicated that the company is facing supply constraints of wafers, silicon, substrates, and components. Kress said,
We do have supply constraints and our supply constraints do expand past what we are seeing in terms of wafers and silicon, but yes some constraints are in substrates and components. 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."
While NVIDIA seems to be optimistic of the situation improving eventually, it may take more time than usual. In the coming weeks and months, PC component makers will also have to jostle for cargo space which is likely to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines, according to a report by The Register.
Though Radeon RX 6000 series cards are also in short supply, AMD is yet to make a public statement pertaining to their current supply constraints. However, the scarce availability of Radeon RX 6000 series, along with the RX 5000 series and NVIDIA RTX 3070 and below cards, can be largely attributed to global shortage of GDDR6 memory, as per a report from French publication Cowcotland.
Cowcotland cites sources who say that it will take weeks for the situation to return to normal. The report says (machine translated from French),
Still according to our sources, it will take weeks for the situation to return to normal, which means that the availability of all models will not improve until February, even blocking the release of some models (such as the 6900XT Custom) and this is therefore in line with what we were already announcing in this news."
A consolation here is that only GDDR6 shortages are expected to continue for some more time while cards that use GDDR6X, such as the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, are less impacted. That being said, RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 shortages will continue for several weeks as components still need to be made available to both NVIDIA and add-in board (AiB) partners.
Moreover, ramping up production with Samsung Foundry in a short span of time is also an issue given that there are still laptop versions of Ampere that need to be made available in time for next year's launch at CES and beyond.