Why You Shouldn’t Buy Overpriced Video Cards

James
Prices on Amazon for the RX 480. Do not buy the RX 480 at these prices.

Prices on Amazon for the RX 480. We do not recommend buying the RX 480 at these prices.

The RX 480’s launch has been met with a large amount of hype. Finally, a powerful, VR-capable graphics card is available for a mid-range price, and that has people excited — us included.

As a result, however, supplies have not been able to keep up with demand, and both the 4GB ($199) and 8GB ($229) models of the RX 480 have rapidly sold out through retailers such as Newegg.

Unfortunately, these shortages create an opportunity for price-gougers on places like Amazon and eBay. Already, you can buy an RX 480 on Amazon for as much as $349. And apparently some people are willing to pay that price. We’ve seen similarly outrageous prices on Amazon for the GTX 1070 ($450) and 1080 ($700), with some models selling for $999 or more.

That’s the beauty of capitalism, right? Sure, but buying an RX 480 for $349 is a transaction that makes almost zero logical sense.

The RX 480 is an amazing deal at its suggested prices, but once those prices start to approach $300 or more, the card no longer makes sense as a purchase. Right now, there are graphics cards available at prices below $300 that perform nearly equal to the RX 480.

These cards are the GTX 970 ($275) and R9 390 ($280). There’s even a GTX 980 currently available on Newegg for $320, which is quite the steal in the current climate of sold-out graphics cards.

In our review summary of the RX 480, we see that the average expert reviewer found the card to perform just very slightly above the GTX 970 and R9 390. For a card in the $200 price range, this is incredible. For a card in the $300 price range, this is expected and already available. It’s that simple.

The one (possibly huge) exception here is that the RX 480 appears to outperform the GTX 970 in some DirectX 12 games, but not necessarily the R9 390. In fact, it outperforms the GTX 980 in at least one DX12 game (Hitman), which is phenomenal for a $200 graphics card.

So far, DX12 support in games is extremely limited, so it’s hard to say precisely how well the RX 480 will hold up in future DX12 releases. But a few upcoming high-profile titles will support DX12, including Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Battlefield 1. If you are planning for the RX 480 to last you several years, it is the more future-proof choice. (We’re sure the GTX 970 and especially the R9 390 will still handle these upcoming games very well.)

Still, most DX12 games aren’t out yet. By the time they’re available, the RX 480 should be selling at its proper price points. At that time, it will be an awesome graphics card for the money, and one we highly recommend.

For now, we recommend not feeding the price-gouging trolls.