Things aren’t “back to normal” just yet, but GPU prices are steadily falling

Enlarge / The RTX 3080 Ti.

Sam Machkovech

Graphics card prices are still hugely inflated compared to a few years ago, but the good news is that things finally seem to be getting better and not worse.

To quantify this, Jarred Walton at Tom’s hardware and analyst Jon Peddie Data collected on current and historical GPU prices. The only modern card that consistently sticks to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199 is the hard tested AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT, which currently sells for an average of $220 according to Peddie’s data and $237 according to Walton’s data. But across the board, prices are well below their 2021 highs.

Data from Graphic Speak's Jon Pdie comparing current and peak prices for a handful of current-gen GPUs.  Note that the RTX 3050 and RTX 6500 XT launched in early 2022;  Their prices have never been as inflated as some of the higher end models.

Data from Graphic Speak’s Jon Pdie comparing current and peak prices for a handful of current-gen GPUs. Note that the RTX 3050 and RTX 6500 XT launched in early 2022; Their prices have never been as inflated as some of the higher end models.

Pricing for Nvidia’s RTX 3080 shows where the market is right now – the card currently sells between $1,200 and $1,300 on average, and you can buy some models on retail sites like Newegg for only $1,000. The cost is still well above the card’s MSRP of $699, but it’s almost a third off the top price of $1,800.

Anyone who followed this situation can identify the factors that caused GPU prices to skyrocket in the first place. New products like the RTX 3000 series promised leaps in performance over previous generations, just like next-gen gaming consoles new advances in game engines and graphical fidelity. These normal factors collided with supply chain issues, chip shortages, and a cryptocurrency mining boom to fuel demand. The increased demand also attracted scalpers, which made the whole situation worse.

Peddie specifically blames scalpers, cryptocurrency miners, and retailers for the biggest price increases, rather than chip shortages or supply chain issues. He notes that the cost of a discrete graphics card (or “AIB” for “add-in board”) “has increased at least 2X, maybe even 3X compared to PC notebook GPUs.” In other words, miners and scalpers weren’t mass-buying gaming laptops just to use them for mining or to resell them, and aside from these demand biases, gaming laptop supply and prices weren’t nearly as bad as standalone desktop ones. GPU’s . As cryptocurrency profitability has dropped (and some coins like Ethereum Prepare to leave GPU mining behind completely) prices for these standalone GPUs have gradually come down.

Bottlenecks or not, the technology powering these GPUs is still marching on behind the scenes — all three major GPU companies are said to be planning GPU launches later this year. Intel already has on record about its dedicated Arc GPUs, which should arrive this summer. Nvidia’s power-hungry RTX 4000 series GPUs are said to be coming this year AMD’s RDNA 3-powered Radeon 7000 series cards.

And the introduction of new GPUs brings with it a new set of questions: Will MSRPs for new cards go up because people are so used to paying more for GPUs? Will the current generation models remain at lower prices or will they gradually fade away as consumers move towards the newer products? Will consumers continue to be interested in buying last generation cards, or will they opt for newer models instead? GPU prices may be falling, but we can expect them to remain unpredictable for the foreseeable future.

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