Steam’s hardware survey figures for Jan 2023 are in and they show an impressive tale for the Nvidia RTX 4090 to tell which has gained as much as 0.24% of the total market share – none too shabby for a flagship that costs as much as $1599 for reference designs and can push all the way past $2000 for some vapor-chamber centric designs such as the Asus ROG and MSI Suprim X lineups.
While Nvidia historically holds the bulk of the discrete GPU market for steam users (75.03% currently), it has lost some ground to Intel and AMD which have grown their shares by 0.2% and 0.5% respectively even as Team Green lost 0.8% of its total market share. These figures however have yet to be completely populated with missing entries from AMD’s entire RX7000 series lineup as well as Nvidia’s recently launched RTX 4070TI as well as the RTX 4080. The market share of these GPUs could however also be affected by an admitted attempt to keep prices stable by ‘underselling’, or artificially restricting supply of product which has been admitted by both Nvidia and AMD in recent weeks as consumer demand outstrips a suppressed supply of product to ensure new price points remain ‘sticky’ for the near future.
There is however a very concise reason for both Nvidia and AMD restricting supply on their flagships and ‘staggering’ the launch for the RTX 4000 and RX 7000 lineups: crypto-mining GPUs that are being dumped en masse by people exiting the industry that continue to drive down prices. While both Nvidia and AMD greatly profited from miners purchasing their GPUs doing the mining gold rush of 2021, they seem to now be forced to contend with a very aggressively priced used cards market even as reports come from China of suppliers repackaging older, mined cards as brand new in a bid to liquidate exceed used inventory at more palatable prices.
Further exacerbating the issue is the price point at which Nvidia’s cards have launched so far with AMD not falling too far behind despite being marginally better when it comes to price: performance; the entry point for the RTX 4000 lineup is the 12GB touting RTX 4070TI clocking in at $799 while the Radeon RX 7900XT fetches a hefty $899, bringing 20GB of VRAM in tow. Even with these prices, AMD and Nvidia find trouble competing with their own offerings from yesteryear primarily since most titles run fine on the bulk of RTX 3000 and RX 6000 series GPUs, forcing the chipmakers to only cater to more higher end clients with their new launches. Moving faster could end up costing their distributors and retail partners, many of which are inundated with last-generation stock significantly while driving prices down even lower.
There is no denying that that much like the RTX 2000 series suffered from being launched at the tail end of a crypto boom-bust cycle with last gen cards being dumped aplenty, Nvidia and AMD seem to be plagued by the same issue again. But this time, they seem to be much more restrictive in their approach to the market to prevent pricing mayhem. After all an RTX 3080 that can be found for as low as $400-500 on eBay is still an RTX 3080 at the end of the day and should see its prospective owner through for at least 3-4 years while maintaining visual fidelity that exceeds the average gamer by far.