NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3080 hit the market yesterday but many gamers were astonished that stock sold out almost instantaneously. Armies of F5 pushers were greeted by "out of stock" messages almost as soon as the card was available or order.
NVIDIA claims they saw unprecedented demand and blames bots and scalpers for snatching up inventory. There were rumors about low supply due to yield issues with Samsung's 8nm node and poor availability for several more months. But YouTube channel Moore's Law is Dead (MLID) claims something else is going on. Basically, MLID heard from its sources that the $699 GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition is a low-volume loss leader.
The new cooling solution of the Founders Editions is very expensive to manufacture and MLID claims it's not NVIDIA's intention to sell many of these cards because they want to keep margins very high. MLID believes NVIDIA's goal was to win back the hearts of gamers, by launching a card with an excellent price/performance ratio. Launch reviews were excellent but with supply so low few people will be able to buy these $699 models.
Supply will reportedly be kept artificially low until the end of October. MLID writes NVIDIA's add-in board partners will be able to flood the market with Ampere-based cards by the end of October. But there will be a catch. These cards will be significantly more expensive than the Founders Editions, and models sold close to the $699 price mark will feature coolers that are far inferior to the cooling solution of the Founders Edition:
Therefore, I think this is Nvidia’s Ultimate Play: Intentionally causing an initial dearth of Ampere stock, allowing “supply and demand” to inflate the street price of Ampere when those beautiful $699 Founders cards instantly sell out, and then ultimately forcing AIBs to sell most of their models well above MSRP due to the required BOM Cost-Downs…that will be in ample supply once the street price is elevated.
As always, take this with a grain of salt. We'll have to wait and see if this is true.
MLID also has some fresh speculation about AMD's Big Navi lineup. It's said that AMD's fastest model will likely at least be within spitting distance of the GeForce RTX 3080 in terms of rasterization performance. Ray tracing performance is expected to be better than NVIDIA's Turing but not as good as Ampere. Performance/Watt is expected to be good.