18 5 月, 2024

Manufacturing

Processing Machinery

Graphics card crisis 500 days: gamers and PC DIY industry can also usher in spring?

16 min read

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

When is the cheapest graphics card price? the following day.

In the past two months, this joke has been fulfilled every day. The high price of the graphics card that has been strong for nearly a year, with the arrival of the spring of 2022, has finally completely taken the downward roller coaster.

On April 20, NVIDIA’s 30-series graphics card representative model RTX 3070 and AMD RX 6000 series graphics card representative model RX 6700XT fell to around 3,900 yuan. This is the first time since the launch that the prices of the two graphics cards have fallen to MSRP (MSRP) stalls.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

It seems that this round of farce of price increases throughout the life cycle of N and A graphics cards is finally coming to an official end. Players who have been holding coins for a long time seem to be about to usher in spring.

But the absurdity that lasted for too long has already created an irreparable rift. In the past year and a half, the sky-high price of graphics cards that once exceeded double the initial price, the mining boss who bought a large number of cards and was suppressed by the policy, and the upstream manufacturers who stocked up on goods… The graphics card market, which can be called a mob of demons, even returned to normal. It is also difficult to regain people’s trust immediately.

Behind the huge group of players, the personally assembled computer industry (hereinafter referred to as the PC DIY industry), which has been declining in recent years, is also at the center of shocks. In the past year and a half, they have not been as beautiful as the outside world imagined, and they are also struggling in this sunset industry.

Therefore, we decided to use the perspective of ordinary players and dealers to explore the ins and outs of this “graphics card crisis” and its far-reaching impact on the future with the following three questions:

1. How has the graphics card market made gamers impatient over the past two years?

2. The profiteer who assembles the computer that the player reprimanded angrily, really made money in this farce?

3. The price cut is finally here, can gamers and the PC DIY industry welcome spring?

A graphics card with a conscience price cannot be bought for a year and a half

Around October 2020, under the eager anticipation of gamers, the well-known PC graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA released the latest RTX 30 series graphics cards, and announced that the RTX 3090, RTX 3080, and RTX 3070 graphics cards will be listed in the first batch.

“Conscience, this price!”, “I can look forward to the 3060!” When I read the chat records of that year’s press conference, my friends Li Pei and Sun Yang, who were concerned about computer hardware, obviously couldn’t contain their excitement at the time.

In addition to the RTX 3090 model, which is positioned as the highest-end flagship, the prices of the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 graphics cards are 5,499 yuan and 3,899 yuan, respectively. For comparison, the RTX 2080 and RTX 2070, the same positioning models of the previous generation of graphics cards, are priced at 6499 yuan and 4799 yuan respectively.

Whether it is RTX 3080 or RTX 3070, its performance surpasses the previous generation’s strongest flagship card RTX 2080Ti. Considering that before the new graphics card goes on the market, some computer sellers claim that the RTX 30 series will increase in price. This wave of volume increase and price reduction made Lao Huang (NVIDIA CEO Huang Renxun) look really conscientious for a while.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

But it didn’t take long for the “illusion” of conscience pricing to be shattered. Li Pei, who originally planned to replace the GTX 970 graphics card that has been in service for many years in his own computer, robbed three different models of 3070 on JD.com but failed.

At the same time, rumors circulated in hardware forums such as Graphics Bar, NGA Hardware Zone, and Chiphell that due to the epidemic, the initial production capacity of graphics cards was insufficient, resulting in a shortage of supply. On the idle fish.

Fortunately, despite the fierce buying competition, there were still many players who were lucky enough to grab the original price cards at that time. After another failed snap-up, Li Pei took advantage of the Double 11 promotion and bought a Zotac RTX 3070 at a price increase of 200.

Little did he know at the time that this graphics card would rocket to an unbelievably high price in the following year. Many players will never have the opportunity to buy a graphics card they want at the original price for a long time afterwards.

In November 2020, Bitcoin, Ethereum and other virtual currencies started another round of bull market. At that time, the price of Ethereum at about US$400 doubled in one month, rising to nearly US$800 per coin. After entering 2021, the price of the currency is out of control. In February, the price of the Ethereum currency exceeded 2,000 US dollars/coin, and in May the price of the currency reached an astonishing 4,300 US dollars/coin.

As an important tool for mining virtual currency, the RTX 30 series graphics card with a computing power of 45-120MH/s has become an income-generating weapon in the eyes of miners (those who use graphics cards to mine virtual currency). , The price of graphics cards has been soaring all the way. RTX 3080 once rose to more than 16,000 yuan, and RTX 3070 also set a price record of 11,000 yuan.

Driven by the mining tide, AMD, another major graphics card brand that went public in December that year, failed to keep the suggested retail price. Although the computing power of the first flagship card RX 6800XT was only 63MH/s, it was still being speculated by miners from 4599 yuan. to 11,000 yuan.

In March of this year, Sun Yang, who was using G

TX 960 4G, finally got the RTX 3060 he was looking forward to, but it had just been launched, and this “dessert card” with a suggested retail price of 2,499 yuan was fired to nearly 5,000 yuan, 4 Month is rushed to 8,000 yuan.

“Buy XX, buy it, wait for PS5”, Sun Yang, who was annoyed by the frequent increase in the card price of mining, lost his patience in the chat at the time. He bought it mainly for playing games, so he decided to give up the graphics card. The target turns to the upcoming next-generation game console.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

More and more players who plan to change to new graphics cards choose to retreat in the face of high graphics card prices caused by the mining tide. “1060 will fight for another three years”, “970 will kill online games”, and “whatever new graphics card you buy, you will buy it as a post” argument is clamoring. In the face of nearly quadrupling the card price, such a decision is not surprising.

At this time, some players are still waiting for the “mining disaster” (the collapse of the currency price caused the price of the graphics card to plummet). They have experienced the soaring graphics card caused by the virtual currency bull market at the end of 2017. The GTX 10-series graphics card of the company once fell to about 60% of the official price. They believe that this mining wave will soon come to such a day.

The currency price drop came as expected in May 2021. Starting on May 12, it took only 10 days for the price of Ethereum to plummet from a high of $4,300 to $2,300. The price of graphics cards also dropped that month, starting a downward trend.

In the same month, NVIDIA announced the launch of the LHR version of the graphics card with limited mining computing power, which will be gradually applied to all subsequent graphics card models. The price of graphics cards has finally started to go down all the way. This round of decline followed the notice of 10 ministries and commissions including the central bank in September 2021 to completely cut off the domestic channels of virtual currency exchanges and play the strongest voice.

However, to the surprise of players, although the price of graphics cards has dropped significantly compared to the peak due to the slump of currency prices and policy crackdowns, the prices of key models of graphics cards have not reproduced the scene of the mining disaster in 2018. Instead, it is still 20% or more more expensive than the official price.

In November 2021, NVIDIA RTX 3070 stabilized at around 5,500 yuan, RTX 3060Ti still asked for 4,500 yuan, AMD RX 6800XT hovered around 7,500 yuan, and RX 6700 XT remained firm at 5,300 yuan.

It has been a year since it was released, and the production capacity should not be a problem; the evil miners and mine owners have also been hit and disappeared. Why can’t the price of graphics cards still come down?

Players who can’t figure it out, this time they aimed their spearhead at the dealers, “it’s all the profiteers who hoard the goods and lock the card price”, “be optimistic about the original price map, and don’t buy it until the profiteers spit out the original price card” has become after October 2021 The main theme of the forum “wait for the party”.

But regardless of their displeasure, graphics card prices remained stable for four months. In the past four months, these persistent players have waited for the news that the Intel ARC series of discrete graphics cards will be launched soon, as well as the news that NVIDIA’s new generation of RTX 40 series graphics cards will debut this year.

But they still haven’t bought the original “conscience price” graphics card.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

Another group of people decided to stop buying this generation of graphics cards. At this time, this round of sharp drop in graphics card prices was long overdue. But the patience of most people was exhausted in the three different stages of insufficient production capacity-increasing prices of mining tide-continuous premium of card prices.

After a year and a half, some people finally recognized their needs, some people bought game consoles instead, some people gave up their thoughts completely, and the last few people finally got a graphics card close to the “conscience price”. It’s just that the card has been missing for so long, it seems that it doesn’t matter if it’s missing for a while?

The 500 days of “profiteers” are also difficult

As one of the “profiteers” in the player’s mouth, Zhang Bei felt that he was also having a hard time.

Before the launch of the RTX 30 series, Zhang Bei, who opened an online store, had just experienced the best year of performance in the past three years. Online education and office work caused by the epidemic drove a surge in demand for computers. According to IDC data, China’s computer shipments will increase to 49.1 million units in 2020. This is the first time that China’s computer shipments have grown in nine years.

The last time there was such a good market, it has to be traced back to around 2016. The game “PUBG Mobile – Battle Royale” required high performance and its own optimization problems. The previous main graphics card models 750Ti and 760 encountered performance bottlenecks. This game, which is popular with almost everyone, once made Zhang Bei, a small and medium-sized merchant, sell hundreds of GTX 10 series graphics cards in a month.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

After the release of the “conscience price” RTX 30 series, Zhang Bei originally expected to usher in a wave of new machines. “With such a big increase, many old graphics cards have been discontinued.” The goods caught him off guard. Most players tend to buy machines on big e-commerce platforms such as JD.com and Tmall, but he can only find a way to get some goods from upstream distributors.

The new graphics card that is rare and available has caused upstream dealers to ask merchants like Zhangbei to “bundle delivery”, that is, every time they get a high-end RTX 30 series card, they must also pick up several low-end GT 1030s that are not popular enough. Card.

In the PC DIY market, except for users who use a non-core graphics CPU and only require a single graphics card to light up the machine, few people care about low-end cards like GT 1030. But in order to get some high-end cards to earn some money, Zhang Bei still took some GT 1030s.

After the predicament in the initial stage of listing, the mining tide brought by the bull market of virtual currency has made the graphics card market unprecedentedly unbalanced. In the months when the price of virtual currency was the highest, even with unreasonable rules such as “bundled delivery”, Zhang Bei, as an ordinary merchant, sometimes could only get a few cards a week.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

“You don’t have to choose the model, whatever model is given to you is the model”, Zhang Bei told me that in the past, merchants could choose graphics cards with different positioning when picking up the goods. The currency boom swallowed everything, and having cards to sell was a blessing back then.

But even if he got the card at a purchase price much higher than the official retail price, Zhang Bei still faces a severe test. He does not run a physical store, so the cost is a little easier to control, but he will inevitably face losses if he does not sell dozens of machines in a week. The price of the graphics card seems high, but after deducting the already premium purchase price, he actually failed to make a profit. too much.

Like many online store sellers, Zhang Bei chose the method of “only selling with the whole machine” for the graphics card for a period of time. All the high-end graphics cards he got were not sold separately, and only customers who installed the whole machine could purchase the graphics card as an accessory. However, the high price also scares away many players, and sometimes he “can’t open an order for a day.”

“When the card price dropped a little bit, some people were hoarding cards. I don’t know what happened next, and I was afraid that they would run out of cards to sell.” Zhang Bei did not deny that there were well-established sellers hoarding cards at that time, but he believed that, The hoarding of cards is more out of the worry that there will be no cards to sell.

The days when there are only single-digit new orders a day are not easy to endure. The mid-to-high-end graphics cards are soaring. Even with Zhang Bei’s previous bundled delivery, the GT 1030, which originally sold for less than 400 yuan, has risen to 700 yuan. machine, and even installed the GT 1030 and GT 730, which were difficult to sell before.

It was not until the “Great Earthquake” of the virtual currency exchange in September 2021 that the price of graphics cards entered a downward cycle, and the premium rate dropped from 200% all the way to 20-30%, which made the business of online stores pick up. However, the price still seems expensive, coupled with many demands that have been “dissuaded” by the market, his business is not as good as in 2020, not even in the trough of 2018.

Why do graphics cards that are separated from virtual currency still maintain a high price with an obvious premium? Zhang Bei believes that this is mainly due to the upstream distributors and the two major manufacturers of NVIDIA and AMD themselves.

After May last year, the price of graphics cards dropped a part, but after the “mine disaster” in October, the prices of graphics cards from upstream distributors and brand factories have not dropped significantly. For example, the purchase price of RTX 3060Ti has been at 4000 for a long time. The price fluctuates between RMB 4,500 and the purchase price of RTX 3070 is also stable at 5,000 RMB.

Therefore, the high prices of graphics cards maintained since October 2021 may not be all caused by dealers’ “hoarding cards” to increase prices in pursuit of higher profits. The stable price control of upstream factories and NVIDIA and AMD makes the purchase price of downstream dealers still high, which is also one of the important reasons.

And those dealers who were angrily denounced as “profiteers” by players who couldn’t buy cards, many of them have also experienced bundled delivery in the past year and a half, almost no cards to sell, and few orders due to upstream price control quantity. The so-called big profits do not exist, and it is not easy to survive.

After the farce, the industry has no spring

Today, the “graphics card crisis” that has lasted for a year and a half is finally showing signs of ending. Neither the majority of enthusiastic players nor the downstream small and medium dealers have been able to take advantage of this crisis.

When the crisis is finally over, will spring come?

Sun Yang still uses a GTX 960 on his computer, and he doesn’t plan to replace it with a new graphics card in the short term. Now he only occasionally uses the computer to click pictures in PS, and play online games like LOL that don’t require configuration. As for the big AAA games, he is used to playing them on PS5.

At the beginning of the year, Chen Xiaohang finally decided to replace the computer at home that had been in service for nearly ten years. However, after browsing around graphics card bar, Tualatin bar, PCEVA and other forums, in the end, instead of purchasing accessories and assembling by himself as before, he directly ordered a blade series machine at Lenovo’s Jingdong store.

In fact, most of Chen Xiaohang’s current game time has been taken up by his mobile phone. Mobile games such as “Glory of the King”, “Peace Elite”, “Yuan Shen”, and “Harry Potter” have developed rapidly in the past year and a half, and they also have outstanding playability. The reason he bought a computer was simply that he was used to having one at home.

In the statistics of Steam, the game platform where 3A masterpieces gather, the highest-ranked RTX 30-series desktop graphics card is the mid-range dessert card RTX 3060, which ranks 8th, while the number one is still the GTX 1060 released by NVIDIA six years ago.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

In the computer market in Guangbutun, Jioupai saw that the configuration list displayed by a merchant also stated that the mainstream Intel’s 10th generation Core and AMD’s Zen2 series CPUs and graphics cards from 2019 to 2020 are all The previous generation of RTX 20 series and RX 5000 series products have obviously not been updated for a long time.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

Even on the high floors where online store sales are the main force, there are a large number of merchants with their doors closed. In fact, since around 2012, the PC DIY industry has gone from bad to worse, and is regarded as a “sunset industry” with little prospect.

Every year in the past, a large number of merchants retreated from the industry. In the relatively glorious period of 2017 and 2020 in the past ten years, Tmall alone has Yihua flagship store, Samuel digital franchise store, Jinbaidu computer accessories store and many other well-known computer hardware stores that have been in business for more than ten years. Closing or changing jobs.

At the same time, famous computer manufacturers such as Lenovo, ASUS, and MSI have also begun to develop their own complete computer products. In the past, a major advantage of PC DIY was that it was more cost-effective than these brands. As the market “rolls up”, big manufacturers not only catch up with the price/performance ratio, but also have a significant advantage in after-sales of the whole machine for 3-5 years.

For the already struggling PC DIY industry surrounded by powerful enemies, this “graphics card crisis” that has lasted for a year and a half can be described as the heaviest blow.

The not-so-huge group of gamers has overdrawn their patience, thus accelerating the loss; medium and large enterprises prefer large manufacturers with complete after-sales services; and some small enterprises hit by the epidemic and with limited budgets also tend to choose computers under uncertain prospects Rent a platform; the 3A game market under the epidemic is completely silent, and the only masterpiece “Cyberpunk 2077” that is expected to promote players to change cards has plummeted due to many bugs, failing to reproduce the “PUBG Mobile” that promoted the wave of card changes glorious history.

Even now that graphics cards are finally dropping in price, the audience for the PC DIY industry is still shrinking. In the hardware area of the NGA Forum, which was born due to the classic game “Warcraft”, players often discuss the prospects of the PC DIY industry in recent years.

There is a view that, like other electronic devices, integration will become the future trend of personal computers, and the form of PC DIY, which is closer to modularization, will not die out completely, but it is destined to become a niche like Hi -Fi belief.

显卡危机500天:只有NVIDIA和AMD赢麻了

For most gamers, it is difficult for game demand that has disappeared or shifted to laptops/mobile phones to come back; for practitioners in the PC DIY industry like Zhang Bei, the sluggishness of this industry has become a certainty. These are not things that can be changed by the resolution of the “graphics card crisis” and the reduction of the original price of the graphics card. After the farce, no matter for the players or the industry, spring will not come.

Perhaps the only ones that are always in spring are Intel, NVIDIA and AMD, hardware sources that don’t need to worry about the future. Whether it’s personal assembly or a large OEM machine, or miners who use graphics cards to mine coins, it doesn’t affect them making money.

NVIDIA disclosed in its annual report released in February this year that its annual revenue in fiscal year 2022 will increase by 61% to hit a historical record of US$26.91 billion, aided by the sales of graphics cards for the whole year; Revenue was US$16.43 billion, a year-on-year increase of 68%.

write at the end

Looking back at the chaos in the graphics card market in the past year and a half, all this may not be a simple profiteer-consumer conflict, but NVIDIA, AMD, and many AIC graphics card manufacturers take advantage of the upper reaches of the industry. The story of dealers and consumers in the middle and lower reaches completing wanton harvesting.

After exhausting the river and fishing, what is left is the mess of PC DIY, a sunset industry. Players either passively or actively gave up their game needs. Small and medium-sized dealers like Zhang Bei barely survived, and they don’t know how long they can last.

And even though the DIY computer industry will eventually “cool down”, NVIDIA, AMD and AIC graphics card manufacturers will still have a place in the OEM complete machine and notebook computer market in the future. Don’t forget, NVIDIA has been in the field of artificial intelligence and autonomous driving for a long time. Without a single piece of hardware, Huang Renxun still has the ability to make a lot of money.

The instigator of the graphics card farce earned the most money and suffered the least impact in this chaotic year and a half; people who suffered from the plight of no cards to buy, no cards to sell, and no one to care about, only witnessed the PC DIY industry being harvested and Destiny of destruction.

But what can they change? At this moment, the commercial battlefield reveals a kind of helpless cruelty.