The next few weeks might not be the best time to shop for a graphics card. Although AMD's Radeon HD 5800-series graphics processors aren't as hard to come by as they were last year, DigiTimes writes that supply is still tight, and the situation may not improve until May. Worse, graphics card makers may hike prices to keep their margins up.
Quoting sources at graphics card makers, DigiTimes claims the defect density for TSMC's 40-nm chips has already fallen from "0.3-0.4 per square inch to 0.1-0.3," but demand continues to outpace supply. TSMC has been having problems with its 40-nm process since last summer. Although they were introduced in late September, AMD's Radeon HD 5850 and 5870 graphics cards were extremely difficult to find until mid-December.
DigiTimes expects graphics card makers including Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, and Tul will increase the prices of their cards by 5-10%, partly because of the continued supply situation. "Rising DRAM quotes" will also playing a part. Indeed, system memory prices have risen substantially since last year, and graphics memory may well have seen a similar increase.