Nvidia expects GPU shortage to continue 'for much of this year'

Zotac RTX 3060 12GB Twin Edge graphics card
(Image credit: Future)

While we were reading up on Nvidia's Grace CPU and datacentre DGUs yesterday, Nvidia was hosting an investor day for its shareholders. During which the company's top brass spoke a little on the current GPU shortage—the bane of many PC builders' lives at current—and how long the company thinks this may go on for. Sadly it's not looking up for the entirety of 2021, as Nvidia revises its outlook once again.

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(Image credit: Future)

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"Overall demand remains very strong and continues to exceed supply while our channel inventories remain quite lean," says Colette Kress, CFO of Nvidia in a blog post. "We expect demand to continue to exceed supply for much of this year. We believe we will have sufficient supply to support sequential growth beyond Q1."

Kress had previously relayed a message of a lean channel inventory lasting throughout Q1, which by Nvidia's corporate calendar would have left us waiting around until May. 

Well, May isn't that far off now and a return to normalcy appears to be even less likely over the course of the coming months.

Yet according to Nvidia's own figures from its Investors Day slides, Ampere's launch has been very successful. Nvidia reports that Ampere has more than doubled Turing's first six months across Steam, and has continued a strong ramp up in sales for the generation's first 18 weeks. That's perhaps not all that surprising, considering Nvidia is selling out of cards as quick as it can make them, but it does highlight how increasingly huge demand has become for GPUs in 2021.

Demand not only from gamers but cryptocurrency miners and those looking to profit from the lack of availability by selling cards for profit, too.

Acer recently spoke of component shortages easing up by the second half of 2021, which could signal a return to a stronger supply chain, following constraints in global supply largely due to the coronavirus.

AMD is also struggling to meet demand for its new RDNA 2-based RX 6000-series GPUs, and has so far kept relatively quiet on when it believes supply will return.

If Nvidia can at least maintain a steady supply throughout the year, then perhaps demand will naturally dip as the year progresses, in turn making it that little bit easier to pick up a graphics card without long waits or furious refreshing. That's my hopeful outlook, anyways, as clearly the official guidance is anything but optimistic.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.