Nvidia’s new monster GPU, the RTX 4090, is coming October 12th. I wouldn’t blame you if you already have a few browser tabs open to pick one up when it becomes available. After all, the last time we were on the eve of a new generation of GPUs, the cards ran out in seconds and stayed that way for almost two years.
But this version is going to be different. As exciting as the next generation of GPUs are, I won’t be buying one on day one, and I’m here to suggest you resist the urge as well.
A hype train (with context)
Hype for anything means one thing – scalpers. From concert tickets to sneakers to GPUs, if there’s a lot of demand and a limited supply (as is always the case with high-end graphics cards), scalpers will take advantage and try to take advantage of it. tear off as much as possible. There are plenty of tools out there these days to help scalpers get the upper hand, and this might make you think you need to take the first step.
Anyone who reads this column knows about bots — even the US government knows it, with measures like the “Grinch Bots” law doing the rounds — but it’s important to put a name to a face. Stellar AIO is a popular tool that supports a wide variety of websites with high-demand products, including clothes, shoes, and electronics. And it specifically supports AMD and EVGA, which stand out like a sore thumb among direct sellers like Yeezy and Topps.
I want to avoid linking directly to too many of these bots, but a quick Google search will reveal dozens of scalping tools, as well as articles explaining what a cash cow GPUs can be. You’ll also find several forum posts like this on the Linus Tech Tips forum, with gamers even considering building (or buying) a bot to secure their own GPU.
The excitement of the launch will subside and scalpers will move on to more profitable ventures.
The bot discussion died down as GPU prices began to normalize. But don’t count the bots. With the RTX 4090 fast approaching, the tools and demand are in place for scalpers to jump in and buy as much stock as possible. After all, scalpers brought in more than $60 million in revenue from RTX 30-series cards in their first four months on the market, and any reseller would want to go back to that.
A lot of things are different this time around, though. Bots are sure to come, and scalpers are almost guaranteed to catapult prices into the used market, but the excitement of the launch will die down and scalpers will turn to more profitable ventures. And that’s because with this generation, we don’t have to deal with a massive shortage of silicon.
Preparing for a shortage that won’t come
If you missed the RTX 30 series launch, you probably blamed yourself for not spamming your F5 key to get a card at list price. And you probably felt the mid-2021 defeat around high GPU prices. I’ve heard it countless times: “I’ll just wait for the 40 series to come out.” However, you don’t need to resort to a bot or smack your keyboard to get a GPU of this generation.
It will likely look like we’re headed for another shortage when the RTX 4090 comes out, but give it time.
We are no longer struggling with a shortage of GPUs – if anything, we have a surplus of GPUs right now. The last few generations have led to short-term shortages as scalpers capitalize on those determined to be early adopters, and the RTX 40 series will likely be no different. Unlike the previous generation, however, this short-term demand will not lead to a long-term shortage with compounding factors such as tariffs and component shortages.
It will likely look like we’re headed for another shortage when the RTX 4090 comes out, but give it time. The factors that led to the shortage of last-gen GPUs are not present this time around.
On top of that, the demand from cryptocurrency miners will not be so fierce. Ethereum, which made up the lion’s share of GPU mining, has moved on to proof-of-stake – mining is a thing of the past, at least for this coin. Also, don’t underestimate the impact of mining on GPU demand. In the first half of 2021, some estimates indicated that a quarter of all GPU sales came from miners.
With crypto down and the supply chain factors that contributed to GPU shortages mostly resolved, the only reason to buy an RTX 4090 on release day is if you absolutely need the card. right away or if you don’t care if it’s more expensive. I imagine most people reading this don’t fall into either camp. Even if you want the best GPU, don’t pay scalper prices. They won’t stay long.
win by default
Comparative performance is another reason to delay day one. Rest assured, I’m working hard on our RTX 4090 review, and I’ll share my results as soon as possible. Even before a single benchmark is available, it’s easy to see that the RTX 4090 will win out by default, at least in terms of raw performance.
It is the first card of a new generation and the most powerful card currently announced by Nvidia. Without any competition from AMD, the RTX 4090 is almost certain to automatically top all performance charts. There’s nothing to reasonably compare except the previous generation.
We already know that the (relatively) cheaper RTX 4080 16GB and RTX 4080 12GB are coming in November, and AMD is expected to launch its next-gen GPUs on November 3. It’s a similar situation to AMD’s Ryzen 7000 and Intel’s Raptor Lake – with the launches stacked so closely to each other, it’s worth waiting at least a few weeks to get a full picture of it. how the next generation will unfold.
Even though the RTX 4090 is everything Nvidia promised and more, taking the time to see how competing cards will stack up is a very good idea.
Usually, it’s best to make decisions about upgrading and building your PC with what’s available at the time, not what might be available in the future. But with these launches so close, waiting is the best option.
Succession is exciting. It’s fine to hold on to that excitement, but don’t let the past two years of high GPU prices and sustained shortages guide your buying decisions – as always, performance, price and features are what really matters, and there’s a lot to be said on that front in the weeks to come.
This article is part of ReSpec – an ongoing bi-weekly column that features in-depth discussions, tips and reports on the technology behind PC gaming.
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