By Wallace Witkowski
Nvidia Corp. has come up with a way of supplying customers with high-performance gaming cards amid a global chip shortage and supply-chain issues: Sell it as a service.
On Thursday, Nvidia /zigman2/quotes/200467500/composite NVDA -3.79% announced that its GeForce Now cloud-gaming platform now delivered similar performance to its RTX 3080-series of gaming cards due to its new SuperPod supercomputer.
The 3080-performance memberships cost $99.99 for six months, while 2080-performance memberships are available for $49.99 for six months. Preorders for the 3080-platform start on Oct. 21 and will be available sometime in November, Nvidia said.
The upgrade comes in advance of the holiday season, the second consecutive fourth quarter in which chip shortages and supply-chain issues have made Nvidia’s popular 3080 gaming cards either hard to come by or only available at exorbitant prices well higher than the suggested starting retail price of $699.99.
For example, RTX 3080 Ti gaming cards that have a list price starting at $1,199.00 on Best Buy and online retailers like Newegg are listed as being sold out, and were priced up to double the list price when they had been available.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208144392/composite AMD -5.85% also offers popular gaming cards, but is helping its competitor’s efforts with its Ryzen Threadripper Pro processors, which are being used in the SuperPod, according to an AMD announcement Thursday morning.
The 3080-service is directed at “core or mainstream gamers,” not so much for professional gamers who rely on the fastest possible performance to make a living due to “latency,” or delays due to internet connectivity. Latency for the cloud-platform service is about 56 milliseconds, while the latency for a physical 3080-card installed directly on a gamer’s rig is about half of that, an Nvidia representative said.
Nvidia first released its 3080-series of gaming chips more than a year ago , and announced a budget version of the 30-series card as well as a new line of gaming laptops with 3080 chips back in January . Even that budget card, the RTX 3060 that Nvidia lists for $329, has limited availability on Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -1.81% but at no price lower than $750.