Graphics card demand has been falling fast in recent quarters, and with the end of 2021’s component shortages, the price of GDDR6 memory has dropped drastically. 3DCenter.org found that in the past 1.5 years, spot prices of GDDR6 had dropped to less than a quarter of what they once were. The current spot market price for 8GB of GDDR6 is $27.
Considering that, it’s puzzling that many of the finest graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia don’t come with 16GB or more of RAM.
One gigabyte of 8Gb GDDR6 memory cost roughly $13 on the spot market in February of 2022. Reddit user -Balance used data from market research business DRAMeXchange to come to that conclusion. Currently, the price of an 8Gb IC is $3.364, making 8GB of such memory around $27 on the spot market.
A graphics board with 8GB of memory would have cost at least $104 in early 2022, using the spot prices of GDDR6. According to Jon Peddie Research, demand for graphics cards began increasing in Q2 2020 and peaked in Q1 2022, driving the price of 8GB GDDR6 chips to an all-time high of $13.
The Downward Trend
Since the first quarter of 2018, the demand for graphics cards and the spot price of GDDR6 SGRAM have been falling steadily. Both AMD and Nvidia’s current midrange products, the RTX 4060 Ti and RX 7600, feature 8GB of RAM despite the cheaper GDDR6 costs. Nvidia is working on a 16GB model, but it won’t be available until next month.
We must remember that a $27 rise in the bill-of-materials (BoM) can result in a retail price that is twice as high. A 16GB card would then cost around $54 more. To reach 8GB on a 128-bit interface with just four chips, contemporary GPUs use 16GB ICs (2GB each), which is why the prices quoted above are for 8GB ICs. The cost of 16Gb ICs is likely to follow the trend set by the cost of 8Gb ICs.
Clearly, a lot has changed since 2020. Since the cost of GDDR6 and GDDR6X has gone down, both AMD and Nvidia should be able to offer their Radeon RX 7600 and GeForce RTX 4060-class graphics cards at slightly more affordable MSRPs. Or, given the steep prices of current-gen GPUs, doubling the VRAM should be a realistic option.
Graphics cards with twice as much VRAM (two 16Gb chips per channel on both sides of the PCB) are often reserved for the more profitable professional GPU market, but the upcoming RTX 4060 Ti 16GB will change that.