Graphics card demand continues to surge (opens in new tab) and supply is slowly rising to meet it. Shipments already grew in 2021 and this demand is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. According to Digitimes Asia (opens in new tab), GPU shipments are expected to rise a further 10% over the course of 2022. If you’re in the market for a GPU, maybe, just maybe we’ll begin to see a downwards price trend once we come out of the Omicron slump.
The resurgent Omicron led pandemic is leading to worsening market conditions which will obviously hold things up. Semi-conductor shortages, isolating workforces and logistical delays are having the dual effect of reducing supply, and increasing demand. If you’re isolating at home or waiting for your workplace to open, the chances are you have some more time for gaming. Consoles still can’t be bought in main street stores.
Most of the tech CEOs have issued predictions (opens in new tab), with most seeing mid-late 2022 (opens in new tab) as the point at which shortages should begin to ease. That’s if we don’t see additional market shocks caused by geo-political concerns or resurgent trade wars.
Digitimes points out that consumer segment demand is actually slightly decreasing. This is likely to be a result of softer mining demand more than anything else. Mining GPU sales should begin to decline as the move of Ethereum to its planned Proof of Stake consensus mechanism draws closer. Once the date of the pre PoS difficulty bomb gets locked in, demand will continually reduce and eventually drop to almost zero as it becomes ever harder to recoup the costs of new mining purchases. Less mining demand means more cards in gaming rigs. And, if there are around 10% more cards that miners aren’t interested in, later in 2022 could be a nice time to be a gamer, we might even see some (cough cough) bargains! (opens in new tab) That’s the hope anyway.
The notebook segment is also expected to grow, though perhaps not to the same levels as the desktop market. Digitimes points out that major notebook manufacturers including Apple and Dell have capacity booked for up to two years, which means they’re not expecting demand to drop off anytime soon.
The gaming GPU market will soon welcome Intel to the fray, though we had hoped that we might see its Arc series of GPUs (opens in new tab) released by now, it seems as though they are still a few months away. When that happens, gamers will have a third option. High end Arc cards aren’t expected to be 3090 Ti slayers, but they don’t need to be. If they come in at an affordable price, they will sell very well.
We’ve also got the imminent release of AMD’s RX 6500 XT (opens in new tab) as well as Nvidia’s RTX 3050 (opens in new tab). These cards will suit a casual 1080p gamer and will hopefully act as a bit of a pressure relief for a user looking for any kind of current generation GPU that won’t require selling a kidney.
On the bright side, it’s 2022! That means we can confidently say that things will improve later this year. Hey, it’s better than nothing!