2020 saw some remarkable events, one of which saw it become the year of the scalper. Or to be more precise, the scalper bot.
Someone who purchases large quantities of goods (usually tickets) early with the sole intention of re-selling them at a higher price at a later date (closer to the event).
A scalper bot will buy up hundreds of newly launched graphics cards (GPUs) resulting in demand outstripping supply, with the scalper later asking insanely inflated prices. The Nvidia 3000 series of GPUs is a case in point and the shortages from last year have continued into 2021. But it’s not only scumbag scalpers causing the problem but the rise in the value of Bitcoins, where miners have been buying up most of the high-end GPU stock, so these two factors have had a knock-on effect on the consumer market– i.e., you and me.
This crazy situation has affected both Nvidia and AMD cards pretty much across the board with Nvidia RTX 3000 and the newly launched AMD 6000 series being almost impossible to come by on Amazon, Newegg, and other online outlets.
A quick search on Newegg for all high-end Nvidia and AMD cards shows us that there’s no stock whatsoever. It’s a similar story on Amazon and most other outlets. Scan UK for example, shows the cards on their website, but with no indication of either price or availability except on their delivery schedule page.
Oddly enough, in Argentina, there appears to be plenty of stock, but the problems here are high import taxes and the fact that scalping is integrated into the Argentine DNA at conception.
The prices shown in the above image are Argentine pesos which equate to around US$5000 on average– a ridiculous price to pay for a graphics card by anyone’s standards.
For example, in December I bought a new Asus ROG Strix RX 5700 XT GPU for around US$450 and I’m glad I did because that card is no longer available new, with only used examples being available in my local market– Mercadolibre. Unfortunately, the prices are mouth-watering, at five times what I paid less than three months ago for a brand new card.
The Trump 25% tax hasn’t helped either and this has added yet another level of uncertainty to the situation with no indication yet as to whether the Biden administration will roll back on at least some of the China trade war tariffs imposed by his predecessor.
The latest news is that Nvidia has been taking steps to tackle the crypto mining situation by limiting the hash rate on certain cards and even producing GPUs specifically for that market. I’m not aware of AMD following suit and the general consensus seems to be that the GPU shortage is set to last until at least the middle of 2021, if not longer.
$3.2 billion in revenue this quarter, up 53 percent from $2.1 billion last quarter
$1.78 billion in profit this quarter, up 948 percent from $170 million last quarter
$9.76 billion in revenue this past year, up 45 percent from $6.7 billion in 2019
$2.49 billion in profit this past year, up 630 percent from $341 million in 2019
That’s not a dig at either Nvidia or AMD because they are in the business of making a profit. However, some reassurance from both companies on how they are going to solve these shortages wouldn’t go amiss, especially since gamers make up a huge part of the profits they are making.
Marc is an avid traveler, motorcyclist, entrepreneur, and gamer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His interest in computers and technology began in the early 1990's when he was introduced by a friend to a Zenith Data Systems computer running DOS. In the years following he has experienced all versions of the Windows operating system, built hundreds of systems, and fixed many more for his customers.
Marc also has an interesting forum you might like to check out at Argentina Expats