Throughout 2021, graphics cards have been almost impossible to find for the average consumer, and sometimes it is the subject of a long treasure hunt for the most determined among them. In the last few weeks, these precious cards are meant for computers “gamer” reappears in electronics stores. ” We see a return to normal Says Laurent de La Clergerie, owner of LDLC, Materiel.net and the Top Achat stores. ” We no longer have a hard time finding these products. »
At major online retailers, all series of Nvidia and AMD cards are now easy to find, although the entry-level models are not always available, according to the results of World.
Prices also appear to be gradually returning to normal. By 2021, graphics card prices had risen spectacularly, rising, for some models, to double that recommended by Nvidia and AMD. This spiral has since reversed, with their prices now only about 20% higher than expected. The gap is ” mainly due to the rise of the dollar against the euro Argues Laurent de La Clergerie, who believes the decline has come to an end. ” Prices have been falling for two months, but in my opinion we have reached a plateau. For our part, we have returned to fairly traditional margin rates on sales of 10% versus 20% at the top of the chart. »
Collapse of cryptocurrencies
This landing in the graphics card market is largely due to the sharp fall in cryptocurrency prices. In fact, in order to “mine” (that is, manufacture by a complex computational process) these electronic currencies, individuals and large corporations need a large amount of computing power that can be provided by graphics cards. With currencies plummeting, mining revenues have fallen, making investments in production hardware much longer to pay off, and this has deterred most new entrants. The demand for graphics cards has been reduced.
Another key factor came into play: the easing of measures to curb the pandemic, which had several consequences. First, sales of telecom laptops have plummeted. “ release of production capacity at chip foundries “As explained by Alan Priestley, who, among other things, deals with studies of semiconductors at the consulting firm Gartner.
In addition to their isolation, some players have also lost interest in new graphics cards. ” In our stores, sales fell by 25% compared to last yearnotes Laurent de La Clergerie. But beware, their volumes remain very high: Compared to 2019, we are currently selling twice as many cards. This strong demand, the market manages to absorb it because “production of chips intended for cards has increased”according to Alan Priestley.
Finally, logistics, deeply disturbed by the Covid-19 epidemic, are improving. Some bottlenecks that prevented smelters from producing at their maximum capacity have been lifted. At the same time, global transport is working better. As summed up by Alan Priestley, logistics is now “better adapted to consumer demand”.
In the future, the decline in demand may continue due to inflation, which erodes players’ budgets. According to Wall Street Journal, graphics card maker Nvidia has in anticipation reduced its employment. The US company’s share lost 48% in the first half. Another high-end chip giant, Intel, has also temporarily reduced employment in its PC division.
If these semiconductor brands and their suppliers fail to adjust production quickly enough, prices may fall further before the next generation of graphics cards is launched, expected in 2023. However, according to Alan Priestley, there are still forecasts. “hard to do” in an uncertain economic context and in a climate of competition and deteriorating innovation for chip brands such as Nvidia and AMD and the three major founders of advanced electronic circuits, Samsung, Intel and TSMC.
New consoles are still hard to find
The latest generation of consoles are powered by the same type of high-end electronic chips as newer graphics cards: the fineness of engraving on their electronic circuits drops to less than 10 micrometers. Despite the return of graphics cards to the market, next-generation gaming consoles are still not available on the shelves of major online stores … unless you rely on very small vendors operating in the online marketplaces. Amazon, Fnac or Darty, for example. These “partner sellers” make it their specialty to buy the consoles very quickly before consumers have been able to get their hands on them, in order to sell them well above the official price. The extra cost remains particularly high today in the case of the Playstation 5, which is hard to find in early July at less than 70% above the official price, according to the results of World.