Nvidia Does Not Have Any 16nm FinFET Yield Issues – Demand Overwhelming Supply On The High End $699 Price Point


It has been more than a few weeks since Nvidia first released its GTX 10 Series lineup of 16nm FinFET cards. However, prices on certain retailers have been way above the MSRP suggested by Nvidia and some notable publications have stated that a supply issue is to blame. This rumor was further perpetuated by the statement of a foreign retailer claiming that ASUS is stopping production of its GTX 1080 STRIX for now. So the question that needed answering was whether Nvidia was having supply issues (or more accurately, was it suffering from bad yields of 16nm FinFET from TSMC)?

Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 graphics card currently experiencing supply "lag" due to overwhelming demand in the high end lineup

The answer to that question is no. TSMC does not have any yield issues pertaining to the 16nm FinFET node and Nvidia does not have any supply issues either. Fudzilla's sources have also seemingly confirmed our own. The rumor about ASUS was also redacted by the retailer and the company spokesman has confirmed to us that there is no known issue with GTX 1080 supply from Nvidia currently (meaning the 1080 STRIX is still under production!). That said however, the company has been experiencing demand way above what it was expecting in its high end lineup, which is why, due to simple supply and demand, the prices have been going up.

In business this "lag" (oh the irony) between unexpected levels of demand being met with supply is something that is completely natural. Due to the fact that the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 represent a structural break in the GPU performance trend line, the interest of gamers in what is usually considered the high end (the $699 price point) was overwhelmingly more than they had been counting on. It is also possible, and be advised this is purely some educated guesswork on my part, that Nvidia accelerated their roadmap to hit the shelves with their GPUs earlier than AMD, sacrificing some of their supply side for the first mover's advantage.

So how do you differentiate between legitimate supply "lag" due to demand exceeding forecast and supply issues? The answer lies in simply looking up Nvidia GPU availability right now. In theory, Nvidia was caught off guard only in their high end lineup which is the $699 price point. That means, that the middle end lineup should be unaffected. If you head over to Newegg.com right now you will see that its only the GTX 1080s are currently out of stock. The GTX 1070s on the other hand are still widely available. If you really wanted a GTX 1080, you could head over to Amazon.com and buy one at a premium of at least a $100 bucks.

If the company was indeed facing yield issues through TSMC, its GTX 1070 supply would be affected as well. Yes, the GTX 1070 uses a cut-down GP104, but wastage isn't accepted, so even though failed GTX 1080 cores will get treated into GTX 1070 cores, (which is how yield works), they are not an acceptable substitute for failed GTX 1080 (full-GP104) orders by Nvidia. So because of the simple fact that we have enough GTX 1070s going around (in a very large quantity), shows us that there isn't any yield problems with the 16nm FinFET process right now (nothing to be alarmed about at any rate). And once Nvidia is able to match the demand on the high end side, price gauging tactics by certain retailers will be swiftly resolved.