Nvidia doesn't offer much hope for consumers on the lookout for its RTX 30-series graphics cards until at least April. Speaking at a tech and auto conference held by J.P. Morgan, company CFO Collette Kress admits that "supply does remain tight at this time" and will remain that way until Q1 is over.
Hopefully, that's the general consensus on corporate calendars, that which would have Q1 ending in March and Q2 beginning in April. Nvidia's calendar is all kinds of weird, though, and would actually have Q1 rounding out at the end of April, with Q2 beginning in May, or thereabouts—as per this SEC filing [PDF warning]. It's also the fiscal year 2021 for Nvidia—yeah, it's a whole thing that usually relates to seasonal fluctuations relating to that business.
My money, sadly, would be on that being Nvidia's definition of Q1, not the general understanding as most of us know it. Kress is the CFO, after all, she lives for this stuff, and she talks around the fact Nvidia isn't in Q1 yet—which by its calendar, it's not.
"So, supply does remain tight at this time," Colette Kress says in the call (via Seeking Alpha). "We expect the overall channel inventories, meaning the inventories that are with our AIC partners as well as in our e-tail and retail channels will likely remain lean throughout Q1."
Either way, we're looking at a constrained GPU market headed well into 2021. Not the great kick-off to the year we were hoping for, but hardly surprising given the widespread reports of low availability for key components, increased costs, and of course constrained capacity.
In 2020, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang tempered stock expectations by saying demand will outstrip supply until at least 2021. However, Huang focused largely on a problem of high demand, which while that may be the case, Kress now seems focused on larger macro issues as the root cause for the extended constraints.
"Our overall capacity has not been able to keep up with that overall strong demand that we have seen," Kress continues. "We’ve seen in terms of constraints, constraints really from the overall global surge of compute and the overall capacity, capacity that may be necessary for assembly and test and/or sub trades as well. But again, we remain focused on this and working each day to improve our overall supply situation."
Many GPU manufacturers have increased costs of Nvidia's RTX 30-series due to these constraints, alongside other tariffs in the US on parts.
It's a crying shame, too, as both Nvidia and AMD's latest graphics cards are superb on the whole. There's at least the RTX 3060 12GB launch in late February, but we're sceptical at best for both the card's specs and availability.
Here's hoping May sees some improvements of the situation, and not just in graphics card supply, either.