At first glance, our story earlier this week about the imminent RTX 4090 export ban seems like something only China has to worry about. But not so fast. It could have an impact closer to home.
Tom's Hardware reports that RTX 4090 prices are going haywire in China, with supplies drying up and the few that are available now doubling in price. Back home, there are already signs that the rush to bag RTX 4090s in China before the ban kicks in next month could be pushing prices up.
The cheapest RTX on Newegg as we write these words is this Zotac item for $1,699, well above the $1,599 MSRP set by Nvidia. Incidentally, the RTX 4090 is currently out of stock on Nvidia's store.
The next cheapest 4090 on Newegg is a $1,729 MSI card. It's similar situation on Amazon, with the cheapest model going for $1,699. While the RTX 4090 has been prone to the odd supply shortage, just a few days ago it was simple enough to pick one up for MSRP and we have even seen them going for slightly below MSRP in recent months.
So, yeah, it just goes to so how sensitive GPU pricing is to external factors. Just as it seemed like graphics card prices were trending back to something approaching the historical norm (including the cheapest RTX 4070 we've yet seen for $539 which has since returned to something closer to MSRP) here comes a China export ban to mess things up. For RTX 4090 buyers, at least.
In mitigation, the whole RTX 4090s for China thing is likely to be a blip caused by a rush to bag cards while they can still be imported into the country legally. A month or so from now, it will probably all have died down.
Still, not that it was ever hugely likely, but the odds of an epic deal on the RTX 4090 this Black Friday look slimmer than ever.