Science Technology

500 days of video card crisis: can players and PC DIY industry still usher in spring?

Which day is the lowest price of graphics card? The next day.
In the past two months, this sentence has been fulfilled every day. The high price of graphics card has been strengthened for nearly a year. With the arrival of the spring of 2022, we finally got on the roller coaster down completely.
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 about 3900 yuan. This is the first time since the launch of the two graphics cards, the price fell to MSRP (recommended retail price) level.
Video card crisis for 500 days: only NVIDIA and AMD win thoroughly
RTX 30 series graphics card is on sale! Figure/Novatech
It seems that this round of price increase farce that runs through the life cycle of N and A graphics cards is finally coming to an end. Players who have waited for a long time with coins also seem to be ushering in spring.
But the absurdity that lasted for too long has already created an irreparable crack. In the past year and a half, the sky-priced graphics card, which was once more than twice the initial price, the mining boss who bought the card in a large amount and was suppressed by the policy, and the upstream manufacturer who stocked up the goods to live in… The market of graphics card, which can be regarded as a mob of demons, is difficult to regain people’s trust immediately even if it returns to normal.
Behind the huge group of players, the personal assembly computer industry (hereinafter referred to as PC DIY industry), which has been deteriorating in recent years, is also at the center of the shock. In the past year and a half, they have also struggled in the sunset industry, not as beautiful as the outside world imagined.
Therefore, we decided to explore the context of this “video card crisis” and its far-reaching impact on the future from the perspective of ordinary players and dealers with the following three questions:
1. In the past two years, how has the video card market made players lose patience?
2. What did you really earn from this farce?
3. With the price reduction finally coming, can the players and PC DIY industry still usher in spring?
Conscientious video cards can’t be bought in a year and a half
Around October 2020, under the expectation of game players, NVIDIA, a famous PC graphics card manufacturer, 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 is the price!”, “I can expect 3060!” When I read the chat record of the press conference that year, my friends Li Pei and Sun Yang, who paid attention to computer hardware, were obviously unable to resist the excitement at that time.
In addition to positioning the most high-end flagship RTX 3090 model, the price of RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 graphics cards is 5499 yuan and 3899 yuan respectively. As a comparison, the launch price of the same model RTX 2080 and RTX 2070 of the previous generation graphics card is 6499 yuan and 4799 yuan respectively.
Both the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3070 have surpassed the strongest flagship card of the previous generation, the RTX 2080Ti. Considering that before the new graphics card came into market, some computer sellers claimed that the price of the RTX 30 series would rise significantly. The operation of increasing the volume and reducing the price makes Lao Huang (NVIDIA CEO Huang Renxun) seem to have a real conscience.
Video card crisis for 500 days: only NVIDIA and AMD win thoroughly
The performance and market price of the 30 series are very “conscientious” and the odd-even watch
But before long, the “illusion” of conscience pricing was broken. Li Pei, who originally intended to replace the GTX 970 graphics card of his computer that has been in service for many years, grabbed three different models of 3070 on and failed.
At the same time, there are rumors in the hardware forums such as the graphics card bar, NGA hardware area and Chishell that the initial capacity of the graphics card is insufficient due to the epidemic, which leads to the shortage of supply. Some of the captured graphics cards were increased by 300-400 yuan and appeared on Taobao and Xianyu.
Fortunately, despite the fierce competition, many players were lucky to grab the original price card at that time. After another failed snap purchase, Li Pei took advantage of the opportunity of the Double 11 promotion that year and bought a RTX 3070 of Sotai at an additional price of 200.
At that time, he did not know that the video card would be rocketed in the following year, and the price would rise to an incredible high. Many players have no chance to buy a video card they want at the original price for a long time.
In November 2020, Bitcoin, Ethereum and other virtual currencies started another bull market. At that time, Ethereum, which was about $400 per coin, doubled in one month to nearly $800 per coin. After entering 2021, the coin price is out of control. In February, the price of Ethereum broke through $2000 per coin, and in May, the coin price reached an astonishing $4300 per coin.
As an important tool for mining virtual currency, the RTX 30 series graphics card with 45-120MH/s computing power has become a revenue generating tool in the eyes of miners (who use the graphics card to dig virtual currency). With the crazy purchase and promotion of miners and mine owners, the price of the graphics card has soared all the way, the RTX 3080 has once risen to more than 16000 yuan, and the RTX 3070 has also set a price record of 11000 yuan.
Driven by the mining boom, AMD, another major graphics card brand listed in December of that year, also failed to maintain the recommended retail price. Although the computing power of the first flagship card RX 6800XT was only 63MH/s, it was still fried from 4599 yuan to 11000 yuan by the miners.
In March of this year, Sun Yang, who was using the GTX 960 4G, finally arrived at the RTX 3060 he was looking forward to. But just after it came into the market, this “dessert card” with a suggested retail price of 2499 yuan was fried to nearly 5000 yuan, and in April it was even more rushed to 8000 yuan.
“Buy a XX, wait for the PS5”. Sun Yang, irritated by the frequent increase in card prices due to mining, lost patience in the chat at that time. He decided to give up the video card and turn his target to the next generation of game consoles that will be launched soon.
Video card crisis for 500 days: only NVIDIA and AMD win thoroughly
Sun Yang finally bought the PS5 host for the photo
More and more players who plan to replace new graphics cards have chosen to retreat from the high price of graphics cards caused by the mining boom. “1060 fight for three more years”, “970 online games kill all”, and “what new graphics card you buy, it is also a brush stick” are the arguments of the world. In the face of the nearly quadrupled card price, this decision is not surprising.
At this time, there are still some players waiting for the “mining disaster” (the collapse of the currency price led to a sharp drop in the price of graphics cards). They have experienced the soaring of graphics cards caused by the bull market of virtual currency at the end of 2017. After the collapse of the currency price in the second half of 2018, the GTX 10 series graphics cards at that time fell to about 60% of the official price. They believe that the mining boom will soon come to that day.
The decline of the currency price came as expected in May 2021. It took only 10 days from May 12, and the price of Ethereum’s currency plummeted from a high of $4300 to $2300. The price of graphics card also fell in response to the call, opening a downward trend.
In the same month, NVIDIA announced the launch of the LHR version of graphics card that limits mining computing power, and will gradually apply it to all subsequent graphics card models. The price of video card finally began to decline all the way down. This round of decline played the strongest voice in September 2021 when the Central Bank and other 10 ministries and commissions announced that the virtual currency exchange would be completely cut off in domestic channels.
To the surprise of the players, although the price of the graphics card has dropped significantly from the peak due to the sharp decline of the currency price and the policy blow, the price of the key models of graphics card has not reappeared the scene of the 2018 mining disaster, but is still 20% or more higher than the official price.
In November 2021, NVIDIA RTX 3070 stabilized at about 5500 yuan, RTX 3060Ti still charged 4500 yuan, AMD RX 6800XT hovered around 7500 yuan, and RX 6700 XT remained firm at 5300 yuan.
It has been a year since the release, and capacity should not be a problem; The evil miners and mine owners have also been hit and disappeared. Why can’t the price of the graphics card come down?
Players who can’t think of it, this time targeted the dealers. “It’s all the fault of unscrupulous merchants who hoard goods and lock the card price”, and “look at the original price map, and don’t buy until the unscrupulous merchants spit out the original price card” became the main theme of the forum “Wait for the Party” after October 2021.
However, regardless of their dissatisfaction, the price of video cards remained stable for four months. In the past four months, these players who have been insisting have come to the news that Intel ARC series independent graphics cards will soon be launched, and also to the news that NVIDIA’s new generation RTX 40 series graphics cards will be launched this year.
But they still haven’t bought the original “conscience price” graphics card.
Video card crisis for 500 days: only NVIDIA and AMD win thoroughly
3070 is less than the original price of 3899/Zhihu @ Swords of Victory
Another part of people decided to give up the idea of buying this generation of graphics cards. At this time, this round of sharp drop in the price of graphics card was delayed. But most people’s patience was exhausted in three different stages: insufficient production capacity, rising prices of mining boom, and continuous premium of card prices.
After a year and a half, some people finally recognized their needs, some bought game consoles, some completely broke their minds, and the rest finally waited for a video card close to the “conscience price”. It’s just that I have been short of cards for so long. It seems that it’s OK to be short of cards for a while?
500 days of “profiteer” is also hard
As a member of the “unscrupulous businessman” in the name of the player, Zhang Bei felt that he was also unhappy.
Before the RTX 30 series was launched, Zhang Bei, who opened an online store, had just experienced the best performance in the past three years. The online education and office work caused by the epidemic boosted the demand for computers. According to IDC data, China’s computer shipments increased to 49.1 million in 2020, which is the first time that China’s computer shipments have increased in nine years.
The last time there was such a good market, it can be traced back to around 2016. The game “Survival of the Jedi – Escape” required high performance and its own optimization problems. The previous main graphics card model 750Ti, 760 encountered performance bottlenecks. This game, which has almost universal popularity, once made Zhang Bei, a small and medium-sized merchant, sell hundreds of GTX 10 series graphics cards in a month.
Video card crisis for 500 days: only NVIDIA and AMD win thoroughly
Survival of the Jedi, the salvation game of the PC DIY industry in 2017
After the launch of the “conscience price” RTX 30 series, Zhang Bei was expected to usher in another wave of new machines. “With such a big increase, many old graphics cards have stopped production.” But at the beginning of the listing, he was caught off guard by the shortage of graphics cards caused by the production capacity. Most players tend to buy machines on major e-commerce platforms such as and Tmall, and he can only find ways to distribute goods from upstream dealers.
The new graphics card of Qihuo Keju makes upstream dealers start to require merchants such as Zhang Bei to “bundle up”, that is, every time they take a RTX 30 series high-end card, they must take several low-end cards such as GT 1030 which are not sold widely.
In the PC DIY market, in addition to using a non-core display CPU, users who only require a single display to light up the machine are rarely interested in low-end cards such as GT 1030. However, in order to earn some money from high-end cards, Zhang Bei still took some GT 1030 without hesitation.
After the initial predicament of listing, the mining tide brought by the virtual currency bull market has made the graphics card market unprecedented imbalance. In the months when the price of virtual currency was the highest, even with the unreasonable rule of “bundled delivery”, Zhang Bei, as an ordinary merchant, sometimes only got a few cards a week.
Video card crisis for 500 days: only NVIDIA and AMD win thoroughly
The hardware boxes piled up in the store are shot by Parity
“There is no model to choose, so you can choose the model.” Zhang Bei told me that in the past, merchants could choose different positioning graphics cards to pick up goods. After all, flagship cards, mid-tier cards, and beggar-edition cards have different needs, but the virtual currency boom swallowed up everything. There are cards to sell. It was a good thing at that time.
But even if the purchase price is much higher than the official retail price, Zhang Bei still faces a severe test. He doesn’t build a physical store, and the cost is a little easier to control. But if he doesn’t sell dozens of machines in a week, he will inevitably face losses. The price of the graphics card seems high, but after deducting the premium price, he can’t make much money.
Like many online store sellers, Zhang Bei chose the way of “selling with the complete machine only” for a period of time. All high-end graphics cards he got were not sold alone. Only customers who installed the complete machine could choose to buy the accessory. However, the high price also scares off many players, sometimes he “can’t pay for a day”.
“When the price of the card came down a little, it was someone who hoarded the card. I don’t know what happened later, and I’m afraid there would be no card to sell at all.” Zhang Bei didn’t deny that there were sellers with a thick family background who hoarded the card at that time, but he believed that the reason for hoarding the card was more out of the fear that there was no card to sell at all.
It is not easy to endure the day when there are only single-digit new orders. The rise of high-end graphics cards, coupled with the previous bundling of goods by Zhang Bei, has increased the price of the GT 1030, which was originally sold for less than 400 yuan, to 700 yuan. Some new users even installed the GT 1030 and GT 730, which were difficult to sell before, in order to light up the machine.
Until the “big earthquake” of the virtual currency exchange in September 2021, the price of video card entered a downward cycle, and the premium rate fell from 200% to 20-30%, which made the business of online stores recover. However, it still seems expensive, and with many demands that have been “discouraged” by the market, his business is not as good as the trough in 2018, let alone catch up with 2020.
Why does the video card, which is separated from the virtual currency, still remain at a high price of obvious premium? Zhang Bei believes that this is mainly due to the upstream dealers and NVIDIA and AMD manufacturers themselves.
After May of last year, the price of graphics cards dropped a part, but after the “mining disaster” in October, the price of graphics cards taken by upstream dealers and brand manufacturers did not decline significantly. For example, the purchase price of RTX 3060Ti fluctuated between 4000 yuan and 4500 yuan for a long time, and the purchase price of RTX 3070 also stabilized at 5000 yuan.
Therefore, the high price 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, 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 denounced as “unscrupulous merchants” by players who could not buy cards, many of whom also experienced bundling and picking up goods in the past year and a half, with almost no cards to sell, and few orders due to upstream price control. The so-called “big profit” does not exist, and it is very difficult to survive.
After the farce, there is no spring in the industry
Now, the “video card crisis”, which has lasted for one and a half years, finally shows signs of ending. Neither most of the players with hot pillows nor the small and medium-sized dealers in the downstream have been able to take advantage of this crisis.
When the crisis finally ends, will spring come?
Sun Yang, who still uses the GTX 960 on his computer, doesn’t plan to replace a new graphics card in the short term. Now he only occasionally uses his computer to point pictures and play online games such as LOL without configuration. As for large ones