Asus says GPU shortages could be a result of low 'upstream' production yields from Nvidia

Polycount

Posts: 2,849   +575
Staff member
Why it matters: PC enthusiasts and casual users alike are having a difficult time getting their hands on their next video card upgrade, thanks to severe marketwide stock issues. While many are quick to blame the crypto mining craze, GPU maker Asus suggests the problem is something else entirely: insufficient upstream yields.

The company floated this theory during a recent investor conference call, in which Asus discussed its successes and failures during Q4 2020. The biggest problem facing Asus -- and undoubtedly other GPU companies -- is a significant shortage of Nvidia cards.

"Our guess is that the gap might have been caused by lower yields upstream," Asus says in the call. "As for when [Nvidia] can increase that yield is something hard for us to predict."

"Our guess is that the gap might have been caused by lower yields upstream," Asus says...

There are several potential reasons Nvidia may be producing fewer cards than anticipated. Perhaps the company is intentionally limiting production to wait out cryptominers, or maybe it's just accounting for lower post-holiday demand (one of the more popular theories out there).

Or perhaps, as Asus hints above, the slow-down is tied to Nvidia's (relatively) recent switch to Samsung's 8nm manufacturing node for some of its Ampere GPUs.

The purpose of that move was to reduce the burden on TSMC, which was already effectively at capacity, but if it is now resulting in lower yields -- as in, fewer usable cards per wafer produced -- Nvidia might be regretting its choice now.

Permalink to story.

 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,746   +1,543
NumbNut idea... maybe the huge chips are taking up so much wafer room that there just plain aren't many chips. Yah, numbnut, but maybe a trace of truth.
 

mattferg

Posts: 160   +162
This article is trash. Asus is just trying to placate investors.

It’s miners, but way way way more so it’s scalpers - hence CPUs being in massively short supply too despite most miners using Haswell Pentiums!

If it was Samsung yields to blame we’d see the market flooded with Radeons, yet they’re in even less supply than Ampere. Pretty sure it’s not Samsung’s fault when this is the case, nor TSMC’s fault with Radeon when there’s still a reasonable supply of consoles and CPUs coming through.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,151   +540
The Samsung blame theory again. Its a supply shortage, no matter if it was TSMC or Samsung, the issues would still be there.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 520   +866
I am sure that's *also* a problem but I suspect Asus just never wants a curious, determined gamer to find out that they (Through a third party or temp employee I'm sure, but one that still has access to their stock) were just selling direct to miners at 2-3x MSRP or worst.

Because I am like 99.99% someone somewhere in Asus has done that and will continue to do that and probably get rewarded for how good their sales records look.

They just haven't been caught like the MSI employee scalper but all of them are doing it.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,870   +5,397
CRYPTO absolutely is the problem.

Take Crypto out of the equation and there are simply more GPU to go around.

( I refuse to call it "currency" because that's misleading. It isn't a currency and never will be)

I am fortunate because I was able to get both my 3090FTW3 at MSRP and had no trouble selling off my 3080, 3070, 3060Ti or 2080Ti.

But I could tell just from the prices people were willing to pay that the frustration was real.
 

EdmondRC

Posts: 124   +95
I have seen far more RTX 30 series cards available than RX 6000 cards. I have yet to see a post launch RX 6800 XT or RX 6800 even in stock. I saw a 6900 XT one time, but it was far above MSRP. That being said, the sales gap between Nvidia and AMD is likely why ASUS didn't mention an AMD shortage.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,870   +5,397
I have seen far more RTX 30 series cards available than RX 6000 cards. I have yet to see a post launch RX 6800 XT or RX 6800 even in stock. I saw a 6900 XT one time, but it was far above MSRP. That being said, the sales gap between Nvidia and AMD is likely why ASUS didn't mention an AMD shortage.


The 3080 launch: There were at least 30 - 40 cards (various manufacturers) Microcenter

The 3090 launch: There were a maximum of 10 cards (various manufacturers) Microcenter

The 3070 Launch: There were at least 50 cards (various manufacturers and FE) Microcenter

The 3060Ti Launch: (There were at least 50 cards (various manufacturers and FE) Microcenter.

I might have seen just one new AMD card during this entire ordeal.

 

Watzupken

Posts: 193   +174
The shortage is defintely a combination of low supply and high demand (gamers + miners). Low supply is not unexpected for a chip like GA102, which is a big and complex chip to produce. So I don't expect yields to be great from the get go. As we move down to GA104 and 106, I am expecting supply to be much better, but obviously it doesn't look like the case. So in this case, I feel most of it should have gone to miners buying directly from the GPU manufacturers.
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,166   +758
If it was Samsung yields to blame we’d see the market flooded with Radeons, yet they’re in even less supply than Ampere. Pretty sure it’s not Samsung’s fault when this is the case, nor TSMC’s fault with Radeon when there’s still a reasonable supply of consoles and CPUs coming through.
What you are suggesting is there was actually decent Radeon stocks given to stores but I heard absolutely pathetic numbers even compared to NVIDIA... what evidence is there that Radeons actually shipped in decent numbers?
 

Carmaine

Posts: 77   +97
I am sure that's *also* a problem but I suspect Asus just never wants a curious, determined gamer to find out that they (Through a third party or temp employee I'm sure, but one that still has access to their stock) were just selling direct to miners at 2-3x MSRP or worst.

Because I am like 99.99% someone somewhere in Asus has done that and will continue to do that and probably get rewarded for how good their sales records look.

They just haven't been caught like the MSI employee scalper but all of them are doing it.

Yeap. Was thinking that too.

You got MSI getting caught. Then Zotac lovin' their gpus on mining rigs.

All of them are in on this. Why sell 1 or 2 cards to a consumer at MSRP when a miners asking for 40? 50?

They know that right now, miners are making them more money by buying in bulk and they're all secretly supplying them because of it.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 892   +1,275
I recently had a conversation with someone in the construction industry and, apparently, there is a huge shortage of building materials right now for them as well. Because of f***king COVID.

All of this comes down to the mass hysteria over this disease disrupting supply chains across industries across the planet, while inflation drives up prices.

You gutless cowards just blame miners because they're a small minority in tech to be bullied; easier to call for them to be banned than going after the likes of Apple, whose monopoly on chip production and environmental devastation is exponentially larger.
 
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paul1122

Posts: 99   +59
CRYPTO absolutely is the problem.

Take Crypto out of the equation and there are simply more GPU to go around.

( I refuse to call it "currency" because that's misleading. It isn't a currency and never will be)

I am fortunate because I was able to get both my 3090FTW3 at MSRP and had no trouble selling off my 3080, 3070, 3060Ti or 2080Ti.

But I could tell just from the prices people were willing to pay that the frustration was real.


lol. And we say there is a shortage of GPU's :p
I salute you sir.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,490   +1,087
I don’t really understand why these companies are pandering to gamers. Gamers spend less than miners and when/if miners go away it’s not as if gamers are going to boycott graphics cards. They will buy them no matter how many pictures endorsing mining rigs these companies publish.

Any gamer getting outraged over not being able to buy the latest graphics card just looks like an entitled, selfish ***** in a world where global unemployment is hitting hundreds of millions, famine is on the rise and millions are dying due to a pandemic.

All that being said there are dozens of 3080s on eBay U.K. right now for around £900-£1100. I’m quite tempted.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,037   +2,837
Miners/scalpers synergise together to make sure nobody gets the GPU unless it's at outrageous price.

I see pictures of mining farms having dozens upon dozens of GPUs and there's plenty of those farms. Imagine miners didn't mine and those GPUs were in stock, that would be at least hundrends of GPUs availible. I bet most people that want a new GPU would be able to get one.

But take a look at PS5, miners don't use those yet they are also hard to get, scalpers still scalp those.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 350   +366
Chip production shortages are hitting every industry which uses them. These companies are in business to make money, and if they had the components they needed to produce more, they would.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,431   +2,312
The purpose of that move was to reduce the burden on TSMC, which was already effectively at capacity, but if it is now resulting in lower yields -- as in, fewer usable cards per wafer produced -- Nvidia might be regretting its choice now.“

Are you sure about that ? I seem to remember this was a result of failed „negotiations“ with TSMC on nVidia‘s part.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 520   +866
Chip production shortages are hitting every industry which uses them. These companies are in business to make money, and if they had the components they needed to produce more, they would.

That's not true at all: prices can be easily manipulating by artificially constraining demand intentionally increasing their margins. It's called price fixing and as I mentioned in my post, we know that this is something that absolutely happened before with RAM and memory chips: companies could ramp up production but they wouldn't to make sure the price kept raising due to their constrained supply and if the price goes up enough it covers as much profits and ramping up production, better even because we're not considering ROI on new fab nodes and such to ramp up production.

All it takes is some organization and well, manufacturing production is so specialized there's almost no companies with foundries to rent out so it's not difficult to either 1) Intentionally ramp down production to get increased prices during a supply constrain 2) Intentionally ignore or move slow to react to increased demand to make sure the prices are normalized for far more than just accepting current pricing if they ramp up production immediately.
 

Gypsygib

Posts: 109   +102
"Perhaps the company is intentionally limiting production to wait out cryptominers"

So good guy Nvidia would intentionally sell less card and make less money? Yeah right.

Chance of that happening is less than me walking into a Best Buy and grabbing a 3080 of my choosing.
 

Ryan Barrett

Posts: 43   +10
CRYPTO absolutely is the problem.

Take Crypto out of the equation and there are simply more GPU to go around.

( I refuse to call it "currency" because that's misleading. It isn't a currency and never will be)

I am fortunate because I was able to get both my 3090FTW3 at MSRP and had no trouble selling off my 3080, 3070, 3060Ti or 2080Ti.

But I could tell just from the prices people were willing to pay that the frustration was real.

Fortunate being the key word there. Not that it hasn't gotten even harder to get cards now, but there was a supply issue well before bitcoin exploded again and people jumped on the mining bandwagon. You know how I know that? Because everyone said how useless and overpriced the 3090 was until mining kicked off and they found out what the hash rates were. Now it's a steal.