Nvidia RTX 3080 shortages are worse than expected — here's why

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
(Image credit: Nvidia)

You might find it difficult to get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 until 2021, as Nvidia’s CEO has said stock shortages will carry on into next year. 

Jensen Huang, who founded Nvidia, said that that demand for the $699 RTX 3080 and the very expensive $1,499 RTX 3090 has been so high that graphics card manufacturers can’t keep up. And with the holiday season looming, that demand isn’t likely to let up any time soon. 

"I believe that demand will outstrip all of our supply through the year," Huang said at a Q&A at Nvidia's GTC conferences, Tom’s Hardware reported. "Remember, we're also going into the double-whammy. The double-whammy is the holiday season. 

“Even before the holiday season, we were doing incredibly well, and then you add on top of it the ‘Ampere factor,’ and then you add on top of that the ‘Ampere holiday factor,’ and we're going to have a really really big Q4 season."

This is bad news for people planning to make a new Nvidia-based gaming PC this fall. We’ve struggled to find any retailers that have the RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 in stock. 

That’s not hugely surprising, as the RTX 3080 is offering a huge amount of power for less than the $999 GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, the one time GPU champion for Team Green. And with improved ray-tracing support, which is set to become more prolific thanks to the PS5 and Xbox Series X also supporting it, the RTX 3080 is a rather appealing GPU. 

The RTX 3090 might seem like overkill for most people. But we imagine it’s selling out due to frustrated Nvidia fans opting to get the more powerful graphics card as they couldn't get an RTX 3080; PC gamers can be a diehard lot. 

All this will come as good news for AMD, which has its “Nvidia-killer” Big Navi graphics card in the works to challenge the RTX 3080, as well as the new Radeon RX 6000 series, due to be revealed October 28 and likely aimed at battling the GeForce RTX 3070. If AMD can deliver powerful graphics cards at prices that undercut Nvidia, as well as having plenty of cards in stock, it could hold a winning card this fall. 

Desperate demand  

So why is Nvidia struggling to have enough next-generation graphics card for eager fans? Huang explained that Nvidia’s stock shortages aren’t down to failure to make enough RTX 3080 cards, but down to the vast demand. 

"The 3080 and 3090 have a demand issue, not a supply issue," said Huang. "The demand issue is that it is much much greater than we expected – and we expected really a lot."

Nvidia has held back the launch of the RTX 3070 to ensure it has more stock to meet a predicted high demand when it arrives on October 29. But we’d also expect that graphics card to sell out rather fast as well, given it’s offering a lot of power for $499. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • JTWrenn
    The reason is not just demand, it is a rushed launch and issues with stability that caused 3rd parties to redo cards. It really feels like they launched too early without enough stock because they knew it wouldn't hurt their sales, and it gave them a slight edge over AMD with timing.

    I think consumers would have been much happier waiting a month and getting a chance at getting the cards without botting or clicking forever, and AMD will likely not eat into their sales much anyway. Two very different types of consumer bases, let alone first day fan boys.

    Nvidia did not do this well.