After the semiconductor shortage ended, the demand for graphics cards dropped rapidly – as a result, the prices for GDDR6 memory fell sharply. According to the information 3DCenter.orgIn the last 1.5 years the price has fallen by 75% and today 8GB GDDR6 is priced at $27 on the spot market.
In February last year, an 8Gbps (1GB) GDDR6 chip was about $13 on the spot market, but today the price is only $3,364, which is about $27 for 8GB. Big graphics card manufacturers don’t buy memory in the spot market, of course — they have more profitable long-term deals with companies like Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix. And they can’t buy the first chip they come across – the choice depends on the graphics processor vendors AMD, Intel and NVIDIA, and the supported components are built into the firmware.
Graphics card sales have been declining since the first quarter of last year, leading to a drop in demand for GDDR6. However, this did not prevent AMD and NVIDIA from equipping the Radeon RX 7600 and GeForce RTX 4060 Ti models, which are in the mid-range category with a modest 8 GB of memory. NVIDIA is also preparing a $100 more expensive 16GB version without the reference Founders Edition and will have to wait until July. And $27 on the spot market doubles at retail, meaning a graphics card with 16GB of memory is about $54 more expensive. Additionally, the quoted price is for 8GB chips, and a modern graphics card needs 16GB (2GB) components to get 8GB on a 128-bit interface with just four chips. However, it’s probably reasonable to assume that the 16GB chips are broadly priced in line with the 8GB model.
So it turns out that 16GB of memory on a video card, even at modest spot prices, is an expensive pleasure, especially when democratic offers are expected from manufacturers. On sub-$300 models like the AMD Radeon RX 7600 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060, 8GB of memory is more affordable, although these cards find it difficult to compete with pricier models.
Finally, there is one more thing to consider. AMD and NVIDIA probably made design decisions regarding the Navi 33 and AD106/AD107 GPUs respectively as early as 2020 when demand for graphics cards only increased and so did GDDR6 prices, leading to the choice of a 128-bit GPU bus . This helped save space, and 8GB of memory became the default configuration for mid-range graphics cards. A lot has changed since then: as GDDR6 and GDDR6X prices drop, AMD and NVIDIA are able to offer consumers more moderate suggested retail prices for products like the Radeon RX 7600 and GeForce RTX 4060. With the high prices of the latest generation GPUs, twice the memory is a perfectly acceptable option, but in practice this is rather the exception, as in the case of the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 16 GB. The rule is still the installation of 16 GB of memory on both sides of the PCB, only in different price ranges.