GPU stocks are starting to look better than they did a few months ago, but we’re starting to wonder if prices will ever come down…which is anything but guaranteed.
It is no longer a secret for anyone; For many months now, finding a graphics card has never been so difficult, especially at an acceptable price. However, in recent weeks, observers have believed to perceive a semblance of thinning with more and more models in stock… but at unfortunately still indecent prices.
Indeed, in the winter of 2021, the situation was such that to snatch a graphics card, it was imperative to have access to exclusive circuits and complete its order in less than a few seconds. Today, this is no longer the case; many resellers are showing stocks that are admittedly quite meager, but much higher than those they had during the complete shortage that we experienced recently.
If one foolishly recites one of the basic tenets of economics, then one might expect prices to crash; after all, that’s what happens when the supply goes up, isn’t it? Not so fast. Because demand has reached such a high level during this low period that some buyers are throwing themselves at cards that are still just as exaggeratedly expensive. Result: if the stocks increase, the prices, them, did not move an iota. According to a market study carried out by Tom’s Hardware, this dynamic would be the same everywhere, both in North America and in Europe.
Cryptocurrencies and shortage of semiconductors at the heart of the equation
It remains to be seen why prices refuse to fall when the context seems rather favorable. According to Tom’s Hardware, this may have something to do with the recent cryptocurrency crash, especially Ethereum. It is a high-value cryptocurrency, second only to Bitcoin; but unlike the latter, it is possible to mine it without specialized hardware, using a consumer graphics card.
Even if it is far from being the only factor, this particularity has played a decisive role in the current situation. Indeed, noting the massive surge in the price of ETH in the fall of 2021, many miners robbed graphics card resellers to feed their mining farms. The market was therefore completely dynamited.
However, with the current decline and the evolution of the market in favor of Proof of Stake mechanisms, this approach is no longer as profitable; miners are apparently starting to reprioritize — hence the reappearance of cards on the market lately. It should also be remembered that cryptocurrencies are an excessively volatile market, and that this trend could be reversed overnight.
Moreover, mining is far from the only source of the ills of this market. The industry is still entangled in this famous shortage of semiconductors which continues to reduce production, lengthen lead times and increase prices. To hope for the best, the supply chain will also have to stabilize.
Towards a permanent price increase?
There still remains the annoying question: will we ever find GPUs sold at their original price? Good luck to anyone who can tell. But what is certain is that not all resellers have an interest in seeing prices become more reasonable. Indeed, the latter have finally made up their minds, and now sell their cards at the same exorbitant prices as the famous “scalpers”.
And the problem is that it could give manufacturers like Nvidia ideas. After all, why bother to produce cards at “low prices” (all things considered) if consumers are anyway ready to pay a high price for them at scalpers who feast on this additional margin? With such reasoning, brands could simply choose to raise overall prices to recoup the jackpot siphoned off by scalpers. So let’s hope it’s just paranoia, and that the market will finally stabilize in the coming months.