In the tech industry, it has been confirmed that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, renowned as the fastest consumer graphics card currently available, will be subject to export restrictions to China effective November 17, 2023. This announcement comes as part of broader efforts by the United States to limit China’s access to cutting-edge technologies.
The decision to restrict the export of the RTX 4090 has raised questions about the implications for both the Chinese market and the global GPU industry as a whole. While initial uncertainty surrounded the extent of these restrictions, multiple sources have now corroborated the impending embargo.
The RTX 4090’s position as an unintentional casualty of U.S. trade policies stems from its shared AD102 silicon with certain data center components, such as the H100, H800, A100, A800, L40, and L40S. This commonality necessitated applying the same export restrictions to the consumer-focused RTX 4090, a move that will inevitably shape the landscape of graphics card availability in the region.
The potential impact on China’s ability to leverage RTX 4090 cards for large-scale applications, such as AI and machine learning, remains uncertain. While existing hardware already in circulation may still be accessible, the objective is to curtail further proliferation of this technology within the country.
One noteworthy consequence of this export restriction is the surge in RTX 4090 prices within China, leading to a subsequent rise in domestic pricing. This phenomenon may initially appear counterintuitive, as export limitations would traditionally imply heightened availability elsewhere. However, potential alternative channels for acquiring GPUs in China may further complicate the situation.
Furthermore, the embargo extends to the manufacturing of RTX 4090 cards within China. This development necessitates third-party AIB partners, including major players like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, PNY, and others, to explore relocating their assembly operations to alternative regions, potentially in Taiwan. This shift could incur additional costs, ultimately influencing pricing dynamics.
Given the RTX 4090’s standing as the pinnacle of GPU performance, a substantial market of enthusiasts and professionals is expected to persist in their willingness to pay the premium price tag, which currently stands at $1,600 or more for a single unit. Additionally, rumors suggesting the release of an RTX 4090 Ti or Titan RTX refresh may be quashed, allowing the RTX 4090 to maintain its reputation as the unrivaled leader in graphics card technology.
In terms of current market pricing, the most affordable RTX 4090 available is the PNY 4090, listed at $1,669. Newegg offers the Gigabyte 4090 at $1,799, while on Amazon, both the Zotac 4090 and MSI 4090 are priced at $1,699 — making them the most competitively priced options. However, it would not be surprising if RTX 4090 prices continue to rise, given the historical trends observed in GPU pricing, coupled with an uptick in fraudulent listings on platforms like eBay.
As the November 17 deadline looms, the industry will be closely monitoring the repercussions of these export restrictions on the RTX 4090 and its broader implications for the global GPU market. This development underscores the intersection of technology, geopolitics, and commerce, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of export controls in the ever-evolving landscape of high-performance computing.