It looks like we'll be waiting at least a few more months for stock of Nvidia's RTX 30-series graphics cards to settle, Nvidia's top brass has confirmed during an earnings call. Furthermore, company execs have spoken a bit more freely on the low availability of its latest graphics cards, attributing some of it to capacity limits and long lead times across the chipmaking industry—a byproduct of an acutely dreadful year for Earth, as a whole.
Over in Nvidia's Q3 2021 earnings call (Nvidia's corporate dating structure is all kinds of weird), Nvidia CFO Colette Kress notes (via Seeking Alpha (opens in new tab)) that "given industry-wide capacity constraints and long cycle times, it may take a few more months for product availability to catch up with demand."
That offers further clarity to a comment from CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during GTC 2020 (opens in new tab), in which Haung said he expects demand to "outstrip all of our supply through the year."
A couple of months would see us head into late January, perhaps February, before RTX 30-series stock comes close to demand.
The RTX 3080 (opens in new tab), RTX 3090 (opens in new tab), and RTX 3070 (opens in new tab) launched (in that order) across September and October. Each one was available for a momentary flash on launch day, followed by a slow trickle of cards since. It's not just Nvidia that's struggled to meet demand, either, AMD's Ryzen 5000-series CPUs and RX 6800 XT (opens in new tab) and RX 6800 (opens in new tab) graphics cards were also subject to immense launch day demand.
We don't have specific sales numbers to hand to confirm launch day inventory, but Nvidia, at least, has indicated that it produced and sold through as many cards as it did back at Turing's launch—for whatever that's worth.
But Kress' statement may allude to further complications behind-the-scenes that could be at least partially to blame for low availability. Specifically, "capacity constraints and long cycle times."
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CEO Huang also chimed in with similar concerns and a wish for "more agile supply chains" in the call.
"Our growth is, in the near term, is more affected by the cycle time of manufacturing and flexibility of supply," Huang says. "We are in a good shape and all of our supply informs our guidance, but we would appreciate shorter cycle times—we would appreciate more agile supply chains. But, the world is constrained at the moment. And so, we just have to make the best of it. But, even in that condition, all of that is building for our guidance, and we expect to grow."
Nvidia posts a tremendous quarterly gaming revenue, up 37 percent year-on-year and the same growth quarter to quarter, which it puts down to significant demand for said RTX 30-series. No cards, no revenue—so it's unlikely that its supply chain was as ill-prepared for the release as some might claim.
Yet that doesn't likely soothe those going without right now. At least it's clear that Nvidia, too, isn't over-the-moon that it's unable to meet demand sooner. After all, it's in the company's best interest to deliver as many cards as it can, and fast.