Whether you’re obsessed with learning about the latest technology or you simply want to buy a new iPad, you’ve probably been affected by the global Graphics Card Shortage. Every computer, tablet, phone, and games console has a graphics card – it’s how the computer displays information on a screen. Without it, your technology simply wouldn’t work. If you’ve been anywhere on the internet you’ll have heard about the PS5 shortage, and this is caused by the lack of graphics processing units (GPUs).
So, what caused the shortage, and will it be over soon?
The Graphics Card Shortage was caused by a perfect storm. While most consumers were unaware, there has been a shortage of some computer components for years as supply was simply outstripping demand. However, when 2020 rolled around and countries across the world were plunged into strict lockdowns this issue came to the forefront.
A lot of GPUs are made in East Asian countries like China where lockdowns were strictest. The factories were forced to close and suddenly a market that was just about staying on top of the demand from big companies like Apple and Sony was plunged into chaos.
The second issue comes from the other side of the world where millions of people were finding themselves unemployed and desperate for work.
Many of those people turned to the internet for help, and while some people took on freelance work or started researching how to invest in order to make ends meet, others fell down the rabbit hole of crypto mining or even looked at selling items for a profit to pay their bills.
The Ongoing Growth Of Cryptocurrency
Since 2020, cryptocurrency has become a lot more mainstream, thanks (in part) to the pandemic. With everyone spending more time at home they had more opportunities to learn and research. Crypto mining is something that anyone with a base technical knowledge could do, thanks to programs that do most of the heavy lifting and take a cut of the profits in return.
The issue is that mining takes a lot of power, so crypto miners were buying up GPUs and processors in bulk in order to improve their tools. The practice of mining is particularly intensive on GPUs; so many miners bought spare graphics cards and further exacerbated the shortage.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that people have been bulk buying computer components including Graphics Processing Units in order to handle their Cryptocurrency mining needs & this has helped contribute to the shortage the rest of us are facing.
This is especially true considering the way we consider currency and certainly how we spend it is changing. With users using minted coins for everyday spending and investment but also newer industries like gambling are integrating into the Crypto space – crypto casinos are joining a host of other specific operator types like PayPal casinos, Trustly casinos, and other specialized payment types.
People Chancing Their Luck
Secondly, the “scalpers” came in. These are the people that buy a bulk amount of product to sell for a profit – think the PS5s being listed on eBay for three times the original price.
This same thing happened at the start of the graphics card shortage. There will always be people that chance their luck and hope to be able to buy things and sell them for an inflated price and this is certainly no exception.
However, they had to be pretty quick on the uptake as this is something that happened for many people seemingly overnight so there wasn’t really a massive build-up to it happening where people could do what they could to take advantage.
We’re All Using Computers More
The truth is that technology for most of us is pretty much an essential part of our day-to-day lives and this need isn’t going to go anywhere soon.
The final nail in the coffin came from the “Zoom revolution”. Suddenly everyone needed a computer at home, businesses were rushing to buy up laptops to supply their workers with the necessary equipment and the supply chain just couldn’t hold up anymore.
With more people working from home, wanting to ensure elderly relatives had access to technology, and even children needing their own computers to be able to do school work it stands to reason that demand for any computer components and pretty much all types of technology reached levels that we had not seen before.
When Demand Overtakes Supply
Fast-forward to Summer 2021 and demand was still outstripping supply, but there was some light at the end of the tunnel. Ethereum, a hugely successful crypto-currency, announced that they were moving away from GPU-intensive mining practices.
In addition to this, many companies have put a lot of work into increasing production capacity. Over the past two years, the huge demand for GPUs has led to massive price hikes, both direct from retailers and scalpers selling online. Some companies even put checks in place to block automated orders from being placed. However, it finally feels like there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
NVIDIA’s Chief Financial Officer announced that the company expects supplies to significantly improve in the latter half of 2022.
GPU manufacturers drastically ramped up production, while other factors have reduced the demand for GPUs. Businesses bought laptops for their staff at the start of the pandemic – those who are still working from home don’t need to upgrade yet. Children, for the most part, are no longer homeschooling, and a huge crash in the crypto market has seen a drop in the popularity of mining.
With all of this in mind, not only are Graphics Cards starting to become more widely available but their grossly inflated prices are also starting to tumble.
Some of the most popular models have fallen by 10%-20% in price, compared to 2020. If you’ve been waiting for a GPU, your patience might finally have paid off so it could very well be time to start shopping!