Over the last two years, the graphics card market has been a major mess. Even the cheapest parts are priced 2-3x over the MSRP, with most of the top-end offerings rem remaining out of stock for months on end. The primary reasons for these shortages are increased demand and a sudden boom in cryptocurrencies, most notably Ethereum (which is mined on gaming GPUs). Generally, the prices of graphics cards have been consistent with the price of Ether, cementing this theory.
While CEOs repeatedly put the blame for limited inventory on demand, it’s hard to overlook the impact of miners on the existing ecosystem. The fact that both NVIDIA and AMD are selling specialized mining systems in bulk to large mining enterprises is just proof of that. Recently, AMD’s RDNA 2-based mining accelerators were spotted in China.
And on the other hand, we’ve got AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su saying that the impact of the cryptocurrency boom on the graphics business is not significant. She claims that the chipmaker has increased the inventory of GPUs over the last two quarters, and the company is even more excited about its next-gen RDNA 3 graphics cards.
I know that a lot of gamers still need new graphics cards, especially as they have more time to spare. Over the last couple of quarters, we have increased our capacity. I think we are quite competitive. And I think we’re even more excited about RDNA 3 or our next generation roadmap.
Dr. Lisa Su, AMD CEO
Praising the consistent growth rate of the gaming industry, she highlighted the importance of the semi-custom/console market, and how AMD prioritizes gamers over miners. Over the last several quarters, AMD has been focusing on the mobile and console market to maximize margins during the chip crunch, making it nearly impossible to find a Radeon graphics card at retail. And yet, she had the following to say:
I think this is a completely different market compared to what it was with cryptocurrency a few years ago. Of course, we do not consider this to be a significant factor for our graphics business. We try really hard to get our graphics cards to actually ship to gamers, retail channels, and where they are strategically important. Others are being worked out separately.
Dr. Lisa Su, AMD CEO
AMD’s graphics card inventory has undeniably improved over the last quarter, with figures also showing a minor gain in the company’s discrete GPU share. Furthermore, the graphics segment has seen an increase in the average selling price (ASP) for the second consecutive quarter. AMD chalks this down to increased sales of higher-end RDNA 2 graphics cards (RX 6800 XT/6900 XT?), and the Instinct data center accelerators.