What AMD Is Doing About The Graphics Card Shortage

RX Vega GPU Shortages
(Image credit: AMD)

There's a shortage of GPU availability. This is coupled with the skyrocketing prices attached to RAM. Why is this happening? How did it get to this point and what are GPU manufacturers doing about it? Well, AMD isn't sitting by idly while stocks of its graphics processing units disappear from store shelves quicker than tents at Wal-Mart during camping season. They're determined to try and meet demand.

According to Polygon, AMD has promised to manufacture more units to meet the demand from the consumer market that has caused a massive shortage in supply of AMD's Radeon GPU line. AMD's CEO, Dr. Lisa Su explained that the selling out of GPUs due to cryptocurrency miners has caused the channel to become very low in supplying consumers with Radeon GPUs, but that the company is ramping up production, mentioning during the earnings call...

The graphics channel is very low, and we're certainly working to replenish that channel environment. [...] [Availability of graphics cards are] lower than we would like it to be, [and] we are ramping up production.

The cryptocurrency boom and fluctuation between the highs and lows of trying to mine the latest in crypto has caused a boon in sales for both RAM and GPUs. Many miners use massive rigging stations to mine for cryptocurrency, which can easily pay for the cost of mining if just a few coins are acquired.

The more powerful a crypto-rig is the more likely the miner will be able to acquire coins to sell. It's almost identical to the gold rush during the pioneering era. Only instead of using pickaxes and digging tools, it's all done with silicon and high-speed internet.

The issue, however, is magnified based on the layers of tools required to mine efficiently. While GPUs are a huge part of what makes mining go by faster and more efficiently, a system needs a lot of RAM to power the system and manage all the memory data. So this has created a chain reaction in the supply of RAM, causing the prices to skyrocket while GPUs are being bought up in droves by miners.

AMD may be attempting to ramp up production, but as noted in the Polygon article, the manufacturing of the actual GPUs isn't the problem, but gaining parts through the supply chain for GDDR5 and HBM2 memory has created a massive problem for getting more units made of the RX 400, RX 500 and Vega lines.

Some might think this is a bad thing, but, from a corporate perspective, this has been nothing but a blessing for the heads at AMD. Business in the GPU sector has been booming, and revenue was up 60% in the quarter when comparing year-over-year intake from 2016 to 2017. Overall, the company saw a 34% increase in year-over-year revenue across the entire company, but it was the graphics department that was the star of the show.

So long as cryptocurrency mining continues to boom, expect GPU availability to still be an issue and for RAM prices to keep skyrocketing. At the very least, AMD will be filling more channels with GPUs as soon as possible, and hopefully those of you looking to upgrade your graphics cards will be able to do so without worrying about stock shortages.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.