Report: Nvidia requests retailers to focus GeForce sales on gamers

Due to insane demand from cryptocurrency miners, it's been hard to even find gaming graphics cards lately, much less buy them at a reasonable price. Nvidia is one of many entities that isn't entirely pleased with the situation, and the company has confirmed to German hardware site ComputerBase (Google translation) that it has requested retailers to focus sales on gamers rather than miners.

Ultimately, whether a card is bought by a gamer or a miner, Nvidia gets paid. However, Nvidia has a vested interest in a thriving PC gaming market. The company says "For Nvidia, gamers come first […] all activites related to our GeForce product line are targeted at our main audience." While high demand and rapid graphics card sales are good in the short term, GeForces being gobbled up by miners might not contribute to the long-term growth of the company's business.

Nvidia is careful to note that the measure is a request, not a directive. The company says it would never interfere with the free market by telling retailers what to do with its products. For their part, sellers have mostly responded by placing per-order limits on graphics cards. Late last year, Micro Center started adding huge surcharges to orders of multiple graphics cards, for example.

Those measures seem unlikely to be effective in a market where crypto miners are eagerly ordering graphics cards in double and triple-digit quantities. It's difficult to say where the real solution to these problems lays, but we're glad to see Nvidia and the retailers taking these steps, at least.

Comments closed
    • Krogoth
    • 2 years ago

    Let the bubble collapse under its own weight. Only fools are getting GPUs for mining at this point. It is scalpers who are actually getting GPUs in the bulk trying to sell them at a “profit” to a bigger fool. 1060s and 1080Tis aren’t even good at mining crypto-currencies. The former is just too weak at it while the latter costs too much is only marginally better than the 1070. GCN stuff outpaces their Pascal counterparts.

    The bubble is already tumbling down as we are speaking.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Report: AMD requests gamers to buy Radeon instead.

    • One Sick Puppy
    • 2 years ago

    Just make more graphics cards.

      • Klimax
      • 2 years ago

      Pretty sure they are already maxing foundries out.

    • NovusBogus
    • 2 years ago

    NV ought to be careful, those sound an awful lot like Fightin’ Words(tm). Gotta be honest, if I was both more deeply involved in the mining scene and not locked down by what’s basically my dream job, I’d be sorely tempted to go out and build a better mousetrap with high-roller miners in mind, build a viable company around it, and then do to NV/AMD what they did to the old supercomputer companies.

    • MEATLOAF2
    • 2 years ago

    I’m so glad I jumped on building my new rig just before the huge inflation, got a 1080 for $450.

    I was surprised when I went to look for a second card (for rendering) and couldn’t find one even close to MSRP. Looks like you win this battle, miners.

    • Bensam123
    • 2 years ago

    Yup, a huge boost in revenue and they’re complaining about the people doing it. This is just a PR stunt to make Nvidia look good while rolling in the cash in the background. They definitely could set requirements that would make it so retailers would have to comply, or they don’t ship to manufactures, and manufactures don’t ship to them, but they don’t, cause they don’t actually care. Look at what people do and not what they say.

    Also why are people glad about this? You have to put off a build for a month, but considering the amount of cash that is being injected into both AMD and Nvidia, that means RD is going to be off the charts, which means you’ll have better hardware in a couple years then you would otherwise. A gamer buys one, maybe, possibly, more then not likely, two GPUs, especially mid range or lower end ones.

    I understand they want to look like the good guy here. ‘Member the time Nvidia stuck up for the gamers?!?!?’, but seriously in no way does this reflect a productive business, especially one that’s rolling in cash because of what they’re talking about.

    • btb
    • 2 years ago

    Well the good news is that we can all postpone upgrading our PCs. Intel CPUs are broken, and all GFX cards sold out 🙂

      • Welch
      • 2 years ago

      and RAM is BS pricing… so trifecta.

    • cmrcmk
    • 2 years ago

    Anyone else thinking about selling their last-gen GeForce and then upgrading after the enevitable crash in a few months? I suspect I could ebay my GTX 980 and in a few months buy a faster, lower power Volta xx70 and only be out of pocket a hundred bucks (aside from living off my geriatric Radeon 4870 until then).

      • Bensam123
      • 2 years ago

      Maybe? BTC was supposed to burst last year during the summer though… And it was supposed to be worth $1… And it was supposed to crash to $3k this last week… And it was never supposed to reach $8k last year… And it wasn’t supposed to hit $19k last year…

      But more then likely you’ll get cheap 1XXX chips when volta comes out, that’s more then likely, so you can wait 6-7 months for that.

    • tanker27
    • 2 years ago

    Jesus a 1070 for 944 bucks. That’s absurd. What are miners willing to pay for a used 1080? Heck, sell it an build an all new rig…….:/

      • cynan
      • 2 years ago

      ………with integrated graphics.

      • jihadjoe
      • 2 years ago

      About $600-$700. The 1080 is actually slower (20-23MH/s @ 180-200W) than the GTX 1070 (26-32MH/s @ 120-130W) for mining coz of GDDR5X.

      • Bensam123
      • 2 years ago

      They aren’t… There is a lot of new blood that has no idea what they’re doing and snap up cards for 2x MSRP. It’s not just miners that are buying cards, there are plenty of people who smell blood in the water and are trying to make a quick buck on reselling, much like the launch of consoles or any highly desireable item. I’d actually say something around 30% of purchases are going to resellers and reselling services.

    • Andrew Lauritzen
    • 2 years ago

    Symbolic/PR move IMO. I don’t think they realistically expect any retailers to say no to free money, and I honestly think they only care slightly more than the retailers themselves where the cards are going (and that’s mostly because they likely don’t see any of the additional profit).

    Not trying to be overly negative, but I don’t think people should expect some guiding words from NVIDIA to affect the fundamental economics here…

    • deruberhanyok
    • 2 years ago

    Local Microcenter’s prices have gone up so far I can’t even recommend a BUDGET gaming card anymore.

    GeForce 1050ti? $300+
    GeForce 1050 (2GB VRAM!) – $250-$300
    RX 550 (not even 560) – $200

    At this point if you are building a system and don’t already have a video card, there’s nothing new that’s affordable. You’d have to be looking for a GeForce 760, 770 with 2GB VRAM (the 4GB ones have apparently been affected by this as well, despite being 5 year old cards based on 6 year old tech) or older, or just use onboard graphics.

      • emvath79
      • 2 years ago

      Way ahead of you. Still rocking a 760. I’d love to upgrade but this is ridiculous.

      • bhtooefr
      • 2 years ago

      I’m almost wondering if this makes putting a couple of low end AMD cards in CrossFire make sense.

        • MrJP
        • 2 years ago

        I still have a pair of 4850s from my flirtation with Crossfire a while ago if you want to make me an offer? 🙂

          • bhtooefr
          • 2 years ago

          Nah, I got a 1070 FE when prices weren’t completely silly.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    At current RAM and GPU prices, you might as well skip building a higher-performance PC entirely and just buy a gaming laptop. [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA85V5568734<]$1000 GTX 1070[/url<] and [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820236282<]$200 16GB of RAM[/url<] vs. [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834154672<]$1550 15.6" notebook[/url<] with both of those things included (plus CPU, motherboard, display, SSD, and HDD...)? The notebook is quickly becoming a value, which is completely insane.

      • kvndoom
      • 2 years ago

      With HDMI being pretty standard, you could just plug your keyboard, mouse, and monitor into the laptop and it’s an instant desktop! Actually not a bad idea.

      It loses its advantage in incremental upgrades that PC nerds like to do though. But that might be a small price to pay considering how things are right now.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        That’s exactly how I’m set up for work. Laptop is secondary display, or primary display if I have to be working on the Mac.

      • PrincipalSkinner
      • 2 years ago

      $1k for a 1070. What the Pascal?!
      I’ve been planning to upgrade from Sandy Bridge when Ryzen + comes out this year but memory prices are just way too high.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        Well, I’m hoping it’s temporary but it’s been a going concern for more than half a year now.

        • Bauxite
        • 2 years ago

        Those star wars edition Xp @1138 are lookin’ like a fair deal now. I think they are sold out too now lol!

      • setaG_lliB
      • 2 years ago

      Wow, I never actually thought of that. You’re absolutely right, though. Especially with mobile GPUs now being equal to their desktop counterparts, it might make more sense financially to buy a laptop with a GTX1070/1080 and hook it up to a big 21:9 monitor for gaming!

      • Olorin
      • 2 years ago

      Or a prebuilt – I recently (I received it this weekend) bought a Dell XPS 8930 with a GTX 1070 (i5-8400, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD) for $1,100 after selling my MSI 1060 6GB card for $500. It’s not a quiet as my old computer was, but as long as you stay with a 65W TDP processor and 1070 (Dell uses adapters with blower coolers) it’s pretty quiet.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        Yep, a pre-built desktop also makes sense. Big builders like Dell can buy right from the hardware makers, which avoids the $Texas-sized markups.

      • Welch
      • 2 years ago

      I was thinking this exact thing as I looked through Newegg over the last few days. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some miners buy up laptops to include in their mining efforts… at those prices they could sell them a year later and profit just as much.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        Once desktop GTX 1070s get to that high of a price, you’ll probably start to see the notebooks go next.

        I’m surprised that some of these relatively-older coins (ETH, for example) don’t have ASICs. If all you need is the memory bandwidth wouldn’t it make sense to start designing/producing a setup with a sufficient compute capability but all the bandwidth you can get? But I don’t know much about the blockchain and I’m not an EE, so maybe that’s a dopey idea.

    • Prestige Worldwide
    • 2 years ago

    Another nasty bubble caused by magical internet coins. Reminds me of the Hawaii / Kepler price inflation in 2014….

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      Really?

      It reminds me of the last 3 or 4 times that AMD cards were all bought up for mining leaving no supply and sky-high prices.

    • barich
    • 2 years ago

    I don’t know how they plan to follow through with this idea. First of all, I’d generally be shopping for a graphics card online, where the retailer has no idea of my purpose. And if I’m in a retail store, I still wouldn’t be volunteering that info to a salesperson. In either case, are they not going to sell me a card that they have in stock if I tell them I’ll be mining with it?

      • HTarlek
      • 2 years ago

      This is aimed at people who call and want to buy 30, 40 even 50 graphics cards.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 2 years ago

        See the link that Kougar posted here:
        [url<]https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=120499&start=150#p1374533[/url<]

        • nerdrage
        • 2 years ago

        Or those who buy graphics cards by [url=http://www.businessinsider.com/cryptocurrency-miners-rent-boeing-747s-2017-7<]renting entire Boeing 747s to ship GPUs to their mining farm[/url<].

    • dpaus
    • 2 years ago

    I don’t understand why ‘ramp up production to meet demand’ isn’t an option…?

      • w76
      • 2 years ago

      Given what an undertaking modern fabs are, it could be a lead time issue? Just speculation on my part. Edit: And neither AMD nor Nvidia own their own fabs, so they have to request extra production time by getting in line with other customers of said fabs.

      Speaking of speculation, they may also be leery of investing heavily in expanding production when a collapse of certain coins values could eliminate a lot of that extra demand.

      • vinnie1023
      • 2 years ago

      I see it kind of like the old server capacity conundrum. If demand is sky-high for a little while, but quickly flattens and then craters, why invest in additional servers/equipment/whatever that will eventually go dormant? This boom won’t last forever, so for the moment Nvidia is trying to mitigate the problem without a significant outlay of cash. I’m not sure if that’s the right decision, but it’s not incomprehensible as a strategy, either.

      • NTMBK
      • 2 years ago

      If you’ve already maxed out your wafer allocation from TSMC/Samsung, there’s not a lot you can do.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 2 years ago

      Remember what happened when AMD tried this? (I think it was in the R9 290 / 390 era, but my memory may be faulty). They managed to ramp up a bunch of card production just in time for the Litecoin market to switch to ASICs, and ended up competing against all of the used cards being dumped by miners who no longer wanted to mine with GPUs. This was part of what ended up costing Rory Read his job.

      Increasing card volumes involves a certain amount of lead time. You need to fab the GPUs, ship them to the AIC manufacturers, have them fab the cards, then get the cards into the retail channel. This can take weeks or even months. The Coin markets, OTOH, can change direction in hours.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 2 years ago

        Agreed. It takes three to four months to get a product on the shelf from the time that you send the order to the foundry. NVidia and AMD both likely expect the inevitable coin crash to happen before they could reap a profit.

        • Kougar
        • 2 years ago

        Well the current price inflation has been going on for four months, except now there isn’t a single segment of cards that remain unaffected. In the very least they need to surge those supply orders a few times to try and get ahead of this thing.

        The ASIC thing won’t happen again, I suspect miners will prefer general-purpose GPUs to be able to jump onto new coins instead of ASIC’s that are locked into a single coin or two. There are also far more coins on the market now even compared to when it was BTC, Litecoin, and a random smattering of others. The only thing I’m sure of is that there will be more after Ethereum.

          • K-L-Waster
          • 2 years ago

          [quote<]The ASIC thing won't happen again, I suspect miners will prefer general-purpose GPUs to be able to jump onto new coins instead of ASIC's that are locked into a single coin or two. There are also far more coins on the market now even compared to when it was BTC, Litecoin, and a random smattering of others.[/quote<] They can do that to a point, but ultimately it still depends on which coins are in demand. Miners may prefer coins you can mine with GPUs, but that doesn't mean coin buyers will oblige them.

            • Kougar
            • 2 years ago

            Why wouldn’t they? All of these millions of people with hoards of GPUs are now a captive market for crypto creators to exploit. Anyone hoping to strike gold with their new coin blowing up into the next big coin will want the mass install base for ready adoption.

            Newer coins like Ethereum use ASIC resistant hashing, and I expect that trend will continue.

            • K-L-Waster
            • 2 years ago

            You’re talking about the supply side, though.

            I’m talking about the demand side — the people who do not mine themselves but who buy coins that other people mined.

        • mudcore
        • 2 years ago

        I don’t quite remember it happening like this but if anyone has reporting from around that time period I’d like to read it. My googling didn’t turn up much.

        Personally I think the solution here is both obvious and not quite a solution. Scale production up but not to an insane degree. I believe the floor has risen and trying to wait this out won’t work. I also don’t think they’re going to outsmart the crypto/mining community without it having severe collateral damage to other use cases.

        • Bensam123
        • 2 years ago

        All those cards were eventually snatched up when Ethereum was brought into light a year later, so they still ended up winning. 480s and 580s became super scarce and they still are. Vega chips as well. It actually worked out extremely well for them. GPUs don’t mine just one coin.

        It wasn’t ASICs that killed scrypt mining originally though, it was BTC decreasing in value and the electricity cost associated with mining scrypt vs something like x11. Mining hashrate was too bloated for the amount of rewards available and eventually reached equilibrium with energy costs, then those with the cheapest power were the only ones profitable (china farms). Happened to x11 shortly there after, private bins and cheap power were the only answer.

          • K-L-Waster
          • 2 years ago

          [quote<]All those cards were eventually snatched up when Ethereum was brought into light a year later, so they still ended up winning.[/quote<] When you say "they" do you mean the miners or AMD? My point was that ramping up GPU production to try to catch a coin mining demand wave is high risk, because the coin market fluctuates much more quickly than card production can.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 2 years ago

      Because when the crypto-currency boom finally turns into a burst, then the market will be flooded.

      It takes 60-days for a shipment to arrive by boat (let alone the REST of the process, like fabrication lab lead times). It takes months to “ramp up production”. If the crypto-currency industry changes within the next few months, then NVidia / AMD will be screwed.

      • NovusBogus
      • 2 years ago

      Ramping up hardware production does take time and generate risk. But one has to wonder, if their market analysts managed to continually miss the giant flaming freight train that is cryptocurrency mining, what else are they missing out on? Like, seriously, this is not exactly a new phenomenon here and a company of NV’s size and profitability should have at least 5-10 people on staff whose one and only job is to know absolutely everything about the GPU market five years from now.

        • A_Pickle
        • 2 years ago

        It really pleases me, I’m betting cryptocurrency is the most significant benefactor of the G.P.G.P.U. tech we were all excited about when T.R. was covering it during the nascent X1900 days.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 2 years ago

      as “they” always say…if you have to ask….

      • A_Pickle
      • 2 years ago

      While I agree, I understand why they aren’t – if they ramp up demand, then all they’re doing is adding computing power to existing cryptocurrency hashing networks, which will eventually make the cards no longer profitable on a performance per watt basis, and then the miners will no longer demand those cards, making the expensive expansion in supply not worth the long-term payoff.

      That said, I agree with you – there are now two groups of people buying these cards, and they likely won’t go away as soon as they did last time, and they could capitalize on it by pegging the supply of graphics cards to an internal, proprietary measure of overall cryptocurrency difficulty.

    • TwoEars
    • 2 years ago

    Hard to enforce. Better they just make gaming cards that suck at mining and mining cards that suck at gaming. If it can’t be enforced in hardware I’m pretty sure they can enforce it in software.

      • sleeprae
      • 2 years ago

      My concern would be that a software restriction would be easier to circumvent. It’d almost have to be done in silicon to be effective. As much as I hate suggesting that a company intentionally restrict their product’s performance on specific workloads, I’ve decided that I hate cryptoturds more.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        I’m not sure how true that is. Geforce-to-Quadro softmods are incredibly difficult these days, yet the underlying silicon between the two is identical for many of the cards in Nvidia’s product stack.

        • bhtooefr
        • 2 years ago

        They could just kill CUDA performance (and what OpenCL performance they have), which wouldn’t affect gamers much, but would hit miners ultra-hard.

        The big CUDA customers are being sent to Quadro and Tesla products anyway, so I don’t think it’d hurt much other than the miners…

          • caconym
          • 2 years ago

          It’d also hit freelance and indie CG artists really hard, especially in poorer countries.

          It’s not a gigantic market, but there are a lot of people who need to both play and develop in game engines, as well as do CUDA-accelerated stuff in content creation software. Quadro, aside from being really expensive, is biased too much towards the latter.

          • DancinJack
          • 2 years ago

          Please don’t do that. If they do anything, just find a software solution that identifies mining algorithms. They’d get some seriously bad press for tanking CUDA and OpenCL when they don’t have to.

          • Laykun
          • 2 years ago

          You would kill so many research projects that rely on 32bit CUDA work loads, it’d do more harm to humanity than good. So your luxury high-end GPUs are suffering from a supply/demand situation, that’s unfortunate, but remember that these are luxury items, not a necessity of life.

          • Klimax
          • 2 years ago

          Thanks. And how will we render complex scenes in Iray, Lux/POVray and similar? (Short of waiting for extra weeks to have it finished…)

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      The funny thing is that before the proverbial excrement really hit the spinning blades, Nvidia was considered to be inferior for mining compared to AMD so the miners didn’t really affect Nvidia’s GPU supply.

      Then two things happened. At least some models of Pascal became reasonable if not spectacular mining cards, and mining got so profitable that even if Pascal cards weren’t perfect they were more than good enough to suck up in addition to the AMD cards.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 2 years ago

      This would be a big win for gamers but not for NVidia.

      If a new generation of GPUs were great for gaming and terrible for mining, prices would be low enough for gamers to be able to upgrade and the crazy miners would buy the gamer’s old cards at insanely-inflated prices. I just don’t see Jen-Hsun Huang putting the windfall into gamers’ pockets that could continue to go into his pockets (though the e-tailers are probably making the highest markups).

        • MrJP
        • 2 years ago

        Wouldn’t the gamers just use the overly-inflated windfall they get from selling their old compute-capable card to buy a higher-level dedicating gaming card than they would otherwise have been able to afford? This would help nVidia (or AMD for that matter) since much of the extra cash would end up with them rather than with the retailer, since the new limited cards wouldn’t be subject to price-gouging.

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