If you were in the market for a graphics card during the pandemic, you would have noticed that PC component prices – especially those for graphics cards — went through the roof. Now, GPU prices are surging once again, albeit for a very different reason.

It’s bad news if you’re looking to upgrade to one of the best graphics cards, as the high-end Nvidia RTX 4090 is easily the worst affected. That’ll be grim reading if you looking to take your PC build to the next level.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

, prices for a large range of RTX 4090 cards have increased. Take the wordily-named Zotac Gaming AMP Extreme AIRO, for example. According to an archived page, Newegg was selling it for $1,650 in September, yet the price is now $1,930 — an increase of 17%.

It’s not just prices that are looking worrying, but GPU availability too. Check out

for RTX 4090 graphics cards and you’ll find that every single model is out of stock, and it’s a

. There are simply very few ways to buy one of these cards at these sites, regardless of the price.

Another GPU shortage?

A hand grabbing MSI's RTX 4090 Suprim X.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Curiously, many other GPUs — both from Nvidia and AMD — appear to be unaffected, with prices at or below MSRP on a range of websites.

So, what’s causing this dire situation for the RTX 4090? Well, it could be linked to the U.S. government recently banning the export of AI-capable graphics cards to China. While most of the affected cards are Nvidia’s specialist artificial intelligence GPUs like the A100, the RTX 4090 was included in the ban.

That seems to have spawned a frenzy of buying activity in China (according to Wccftech, prices of the RTX 4090 doubled there almost overnight). That appears to have spilled over into other regions, with prices and availability in the U.S. now seriously affected.

With any luck, this will just be a temporary blip and we won’t need to panic amid the kind of mass shortages and price hikes seen during the pandemic (or during the initial AI boom). But with the holiday season fast approaching, we may be in for further struggles for a while longer.

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