Editor's note: we have reached out to Nvidia for comment, and will update this story once we hear back.
If you've been trying to get your hands on the Ampere line of gaming GPUs from Nvidia, such as the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070, chances are you've been unsuccessful due to the ongoing shortage of available stock. Older hardware still dominates user systems for a wide variety of reasons, so it might not come as a surprise that Nvidia has found 85% of GeForce owners have yet to purchase a raytracing capable graphics card.
A comparison chart was shown during the annual Nvidia investor presentation on Monday 12 April, dubbing RTX as 'the new standard', and stating that the 85% of users still using older hardware like the GTX 1660 need to upgrade.
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From NVIDIA’s investor presentation. pic.twitter.com/Ykm0TGnmm6April 15, 2021
This mirrors information shared by the official Steam Hardware Survey, painting a picture of just how little market share raytracing GPUs currently have. The survey also shows that while some cards such as the GTX 1060 are dropping in popularity, other non-RTX options such as the GTX 1650 are still making significant gains every month.
Old, but not outdated
While technology like raytracing is gaining popularity, there are many games that don't include it – and nor should they have to. For folk who choose to play competitive titles such as Valorant or Apex Legends, the sacrifice of framerates required for RTX graphics isn't worth the payoff, even with AI boosting DLSS.
A large part of the low GeForce RTX userbase is also likely down to stock shortages and finances, with affordability being quoted across social media as a major reason people wouldn't choose to upgrade their systems.
During the presentation, chief financial officer for Nvidia Colette Kress made a statement regarding the low stock for the new Ampere lineup: “our operations team is agile and executing fantastically. We expect our supplies to increase as the year progresses".
This is unlikely to solve other issues any time soon however, such as scalpers who use bots to scrape sites for available inventory to then resell on online auction sites like eBay, as well as cryptominers buying up large quantities of the cards to profit from the growing Ethereum and Bitcoin boom.
Even the most affordable graphics card of the Ampere line, the GeForce RTX 3060 with an RRP of $330/£300/€330, is scarcely available despite being designed with lower mining efficiency in a bid to make more stock available to gamers.
There is a growing number of games that support RTX, and Nvidia's statements make it clear that it believes this tech, alongside DLSS, will be implemented into future games as standard. For now though, many fan-favorites survive just fine without it, and it's unlikely you'll need a serious upgrade to your system if you selectively play titles that wouldn't benefit from the software.
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Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.