Nvidia May Have a GPU Inventory Problem
There are reports that Nvidia might have a GPU inventory problem on its hands. If true, it would explain why Jen-Hsun told the press that new GeForce cards wouldn’t arrive for a “long time,” when other sources we’ve spoken to have implied a much quicker release time frame within the next few months. As always, stories about rumors, inventory levels, and unannounced products should be taken with lots and lots of salt. Say, a GeForce GTX 2080 worth?
This rumor started with SemiAccurate and has been discussed in several other locations. The general claim is that Nvidia overshot its mark on cryptocurrency mining sales to the point that it was forced to take back 300,000 GPUs it had already shipped to OEMs. Nvidia has also pulled out of a talk it was planning to give concerning its “Next Generation Mainstream GPU” at Hot Chips 30 in August this year. In other words, headed into Computex at the end of May, it was expected that we’d see a GeForce launch and technical discussion coming out in the late July / early August timeframe, which is in-line with the rumors we had heard at ET. But now, the technical discussion at Hot Chips has been pulled and there are rumors of inventory build-up related to cryptocurrency mining — and a resultant delay that will push out the launch of next-generation Nvidia GPUs.
Supposedly Nvidia took back those 300K GPUs , which is itself a bit embarrassing, and has been buying up on GDDR5 in larger volume as well, implying that the company simply needs to work through the inventory before launching its next product family. This would suggest that we could see new GPU releases pushed back to later this year, which wouldn’t exactly be a problem for Team Green — AMD is not known to have any major refreshes on the market, and even if a Vega tweak were available to improve the card’s thermals or power, it probably wouldn’t be enough to make a huge difference. Even if we assume a tweaked Vega could move the needle say 10-15 percent in terms of overall performance, power efficiency, or performance-per-watt (pick your criteria), it wouldn’t make a major difference relative to whatever family Nvidia is likely to launch. Assuming the company has held back on launching long enough to have a real product to bring to market, the gains on Team Green’s side would outweigh any fairly modest improvements AMD might bring to bear.
The impact of delay on the gaming market is likewise more a matter of annoyance than anything else. More than two years after Pascal, gamers generally want higher-end cards. But the worst likely outcome here is that Nvidia winds up capturing yet more pent-up demand if they release hypothetical cards later this year as opposed to during the summer. And of course, all of this being speculation, there’s still a chance that we see a summer release this year after all — though that does look less likely, given that NV canceled its Hot Chips summary.