Will the AI boom see companies buy gaming GPUs to meet the demand?

AI company buys boxes of AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX GPUs and plans to buy a lot more, and this could be a sign that a new era of GPU shortages is coming.

1 minute & 43 seconds read time

With a global pandemic, chip shortages, and a crypto mining boom driving up prices, it was a dark time for PC gaming - and something we were hoping was in the rear-view mirror. We know how hard it was to try and find a GeForce RTX 3080 when the card debuted in 2020, let alone one at a reasonable price. This makes some of the reporting we see in the tech landscape a little concerning.

AI company buys up a chunk of Radeon RX 7900 XTX stock, image credit: George Hotz/Twitter.

AI company buys up a chunk of Radeon RX 7900 XTX stock, image credit: George Hotz/Twitter.

Our friends over at Tom's Hardware and Wccftech cited a Tweet from Comma AI CEO and entrepreneur George Hotz saying, "7.38 PFLOPS of computing was delivered today" alongside an image of several boxes filled with AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX GPUs - specifically XFX MERC 310 variants.

In conclusion, AI companies could be snapping up gaming GPUs to meet the insane demand for AI chips.

The 7.38 PFLOPS number is based on the FP16 performance of the Radeon RX 7900 XTX across 60 GPUs, where no doubt the card's 20GB of VRAM also factored into the purchase due to AI tasks being memory hungry. Of course, this is a single example, but NVIDIA is selling AI hardware faster than it can produce them - an AI-based shortage for GPUs is not outside the realm of possibility.

There are also reports of companies in China looking to consumer GPUs for AI due to shortages and restrictions, so some evidence points to a potential AI boom eating into the PC gaming space. Cue the classic The Godfather Part III meme. More troubling is that the Tweet from George Hotz adds that there "exaflops more to come," which would represent an insane volume of Radeon RX 7900 XTX stock from a single source.

And in a weird turn, AI's dependence on memory could mean that cards like the GeForce RTX 4070 with 12GB of VRAM and GeForce RTX 4080 with 16GB of VRAM - which, based on raw FP16 performance, look like better options - could be seen as unattractive for AI tasks compared to something like the 24GB Radeon RX 7900 XTX.

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Kosta might be a relatively new member of TweakTown, but he’s a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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