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What just happened? Intel executives Pat Gelsinger and Raja M. Koduri have responded to an open letter pleading for team blue to lead the industry out of the graphics card crisis. Koudri, the SVP of Intel’s architecture, graphics, and software (IAGS) division, promised “millions” of Arc GPUs every year, while the company’s CEO tweeted a simple “we are on it.”
The open letter comes from PC Gamer’s Dave James, who cites the familiar problem of supply chain issues and crypto mining leading to low supply combined with huge demand, resulting in scalpers snapping up cards to resell them at double the MSRP, and retail outlets increasing their prices.
James also highlights a point many have been asking: once supply does improve and mining demand dies down, will AMD and Nvidia be willing to lower the pricing structure of their chips to pre-crisis levels, given how much money they are making from the situation right now?
Koduri was the first to reply to the article. His weekend tweet acknowledged that the graphics card mess “is a huge issue for PC gamers and the industry at large,” adding that Intel is working hard to get “millions of Arc GPUs into the hands of PC gamers every year.”
Gelsinger followed with a message of his own. “I am with you, too,” he tweeted. “We are on it.”
It’s good to hear company bosses acknowledging the problems being faced by PC fans who are sick of this seemingly unending crisis, but talk, of course, is cheap; Nvidia has already said it will improve the supply of graphics cards in the second half of the year, which will likely coincide with the launch of its RTX 4000 Lovelace series.
Moreover, will Koudri and Gelsinger even be able to live up to their promises? Intel is tapping TSMC and its 6nm process node for Arc Alchemist, which restricts the number of GPUs it can produce—not forgetting that TSMC is hiking its prices this year. Plus, there's the lack of a mining limiter on Intel’s cards, scalpers aren’t going away, and we’ll have to wait until Q2 (hopefully) to see how the desktop versions of Arc Alchemist stack up against the equivalent cards from rivals Nvidia and AMD.
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There have been some recent rays of hope suggesting the GPU market is starting to turn around. Graphics card prices in Europe are finally trending downwards after being on the rise from around August to December, crypto prices are falling, there’s Ethereum’s upcoming shift from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining consensus to Proof-of-Stake (PoS), and the average selling price of cards on eBay is coming down. Let's hope Alchemist helps things as much as Gelsinger and Koudri claim.