Well, if you were to wait for NVIDIA and AMD graphics card prices to drop, a report from DigiTimes says they are expected to rise further in 2020 and the graphics DRAM shortage is believed to be the main reason.
Graphics DRAM prices set to rise more than 5% in 2020 – could directly affect NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards
Citing DRAMeXchange, DigiTimes indicates that graphics DRAM, or the memory used by GPU manufacturers to power their products, is expected to become more expensive by the first quarter of 2020. It is stated that graphics DRAM prices may increase further. by 5%.
Graphics DRAM is more sensitive to changes in demand than other types of memory products, so its price fluctuations can be dramatic as well. As OEM customers increase their demand for inventory, graphics DRAM contract prices are expected to increase by over 5% QoQ, the highest among all memory products.
The reason for the price increase would be supply constraints, as all major consumers of graphics DRAM are moving from GDDR5 memory to GDDR6. NVIDIA was the first to switch to the new GUI, starting with its GeForce RTX line, but has now even included GeForce GTX parts that support the new GDDR6 memory interface. These consumer and budget cards are intended for the mass market, making NVIDIA one of the biggest consumers of GDDR6 memory.
Likewise, while AMD had a large stock of older graphics cards based on GDDR5 memory, they are also transitioning from their latest Navi cards to GDDR6. The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT and RX 5700 cards were the first AMD cards to incorporate GDDR6 memory design and they recently released the RX 5500 series cards which target the mobility and desktop markets and feature of GDDR6 memory. AMD will also introduce a third Navi-based series known as the Radeon RX 5600 around CES 2020 which is also confirmed to feature GDDR6 memory.
In the graphics card market, the majority of NVIDIA graphics card shipments are based on the RTX platform, and most of these RTX cards use GDDR6 memory. AMD is also proactively destocking its older graphics cards with GDDR5 memory; the company has completely switched to GDDR6 for its latest series of NAVI GPUs. In the game console market, Sony and Microsoft still rely on GDDR5 for PS4 and Xbox One, respectively.
However, their next-gen consoles that will release in 2:20 (i.e. Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X) will come with GDDR6 memory. The memory capacity of these upcoming consoles could be increased up to 16 GB, double that of current consumer graphics cards. Given these developments, demand is expected to exceed the supply of graphics DRAM in 2020.
Today, historically, NVIDIA and AMD haven’t seen graphics DRAM as a major constraint other than the infamous crypto crisis which led to a small shortage of DRAM. Both companies have done equally well even in times of DRAM scarcity, but this time around there is a third larger force that would also consume the same graphics DRAM, and that’s the consoles.
Microsoft and Sony are expected to launch their Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles next year, which will also adopt AMD’s Navi architecture and respective GDDR6 memory architecture. A large supply would be needed to meet the demand for next-gen consoles and this is what leads us and many analysts to believe that graphics DRAM would experience a major shortage.
Currently, graphics DRAM represents less than 6% of the industry’s overall output. Due to limited supply and the aforementioned demand drivers, quotes are starting to stabilize. Because vendors will not be able to make fast enough adjustments in their product lines to immediately meet growing demand, TrendForce predicts a sharp rebound in Graphics DRAM contract prices in 2020, which will perhaps record the most. strong increase among products for different memory applications. .
Speaking to TrendForce analyst Arvil Wu, it was mentioned that graphics DRAMs have a higher production cost per chip and although these reflect contracts between DRAM vendors and graphics manufacturers, they do result in always affect the price of consumer products. This could cause the prices of not only AMD and NVIDIA’s existing GDDR6 graphics cards to increase, but also their next-gen products, which are also expected to retain GDDR6 unless the two companies decide to go the HBM2 route. / E, which is more likely. a case with AMD, at least for the consumer market, while the HPC products of both companies already use the faster HBM DRAM standards.
There is nothing to worry about right now as the GDDR6 stock is still doing well and we haven’t really seen a price increase on mainstream graphics cards so far. Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron are also expected to increase their graphics DRAM offering by 15% in 2020. So if things go well, we might not even feel the impact of graphics card shortages, but we won’t. never know what’s going to happen so again if you are thinking of buying a graphics card now is the time to do it.