Why NVIDIA Shifting Desktop GPU Supply For Gaming Laptops Could Benefit Gamers

A row of NVIDIA RTX 40 series gaming laptops on a black and green background.
The GPU shortage during the height of the pandemic and when cryptocurrency mining was fashionable has left us all more than a little jaded. Remember what it was like trying to a find a graphics card from a first-party seller? Not fun. Same can be said for trying to score a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X (or even toilet paper, but that's a different story). So it's understandable if the knee-jerk reaction to a rumor suggesting NVIDIA may cut its desktop GPU supply to procure more laptop GPU chips is, shall we say, less than optimistic.

Would it really be a bad thing, though? Not necessarily and we'll explain why in a moment. But first, let's discuss the rumor. According to Chinese news outlet MyDrivers, NVIDIA is "adjusting the supply strategy" of its GeForce RTX 40 series GPU to better cater to laptop gamers.

"It is understood that in the graphics card market in China, the DIY market is better than the notebook market, and now NVIDIA responds to the needs of notebook manufacturers, in order to properly save the notebook market, and will tilt more GPU supply to the notebook market," the site reports (via Google Translate).

The translated text is a bit clunky but we get the gist of what the site is saying. Additionally, the site claims "NVIDIA will not significantly increase production capacity, which will inevitably lead to a significant reduction in the supply of GPUs for the DIY market."

It's a rather alarming report that goes on to state in bold red letters that there is a "high probability" of another desktop GPU shortage. Sound the alarm bells! Or don't because this is not the sort of thing that would typically trigger a shortage.

Render of an Ada Lovelace GPU

The previous shortage was a sort of perfect storm of events that led to an unfortunate situation for gamers. Everything was in short supply, not just GPUs. As Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger pointed out in May of last year, a "persistent industry-wide" substrate shortage was one of the main factors that made things challenging for chip makers across the board.

As it pertains to GPUs, a shortage of Ajinomoto Build-up Film (ABF) substrates was making it difficult for supply to rise to the levels of demand. Throw in the cryptocurrency mining craze and heightened demand from having more time at home, and you had a recipe for overpriced, under-produced graphics cards.

Getting back to the rumor, reallocating supply isn't necessarily a recipe for disaster. Criticisms over pricing, model designations, and VRAM aside, every GeForce RTX 40 series SKU is easy to find in stock. We have a hard time imagining that changing if NVIDIA shifts some supply over to laptops.

NVIDIA presumably has done its homework and has a pulse on demand. This would be a move towards optimizing its GPU allocation and inventory, as opposed to cannibalizing one segment to server another. Rather than create a desktop GPU shortage, if anything, this could actually drive down the cost of RTX 40 series gaming laptops.

The timing is also interesting in that the back-to-school shopping season is kicking into gear, followed by another Prime Day event and then of course the usual Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales that will soon come into view. On top of it all, keep in mind that the rumored GPU reallocation is just that for the time being—a rumor. That said, we don't see any reason to hit the panic button.
Tags:  Nvidia, Gaming, GPU