After some very brief relief around the 2017 holidays, graphics card prices continue on the path of going absolutely insane.
We had a cryptocoin-induced inflation back in late 2013, but it was somewhat mild, and only lasted a couple of months. We had a second inflation in 2017, where the price hikes were higher, and lasted more than half a year. When this ended in December 2017, I thought: “Thank goodness that is over. Nothing could have been as bad as that!”
I was so naive, so wrong.
In short, there is not much we can do about graphics cards prices other than continue to recommend the best graphics cards at each price point. However, we want to be realistic about how bad the situation has gotten.
After months of dealing with graphics card shortages and price spikes due to unsustainable demand from cryptocurrency miners, some very welcome headlines have recently come our way:
Choosing a graphics card can be time consuming – some of them can have over 30 different models – so picking the right one can be understandably difficult. It is important to note that before actually buying something you should determine what type of cooler fits your case best in terms of airflow.
Three lower-end graphics cards have released recently, but you may not have heard anything about them. AMD and NVIDIA generally do not throw major parties when they release ~$70 products, so do not worry about it if these launches slipped under your radar!
The three new-ish cards are:
With the release of the PlayStation 4 Pro over the holidays, the debate over the performance needed for 4K gaming on PC has been fierce. With games like Last of Us Remastered running in the PlayStation 4 Pro’s 4K 60 FPS mode, it is a testament to the level of optimization that can be achieved when working to a single specification. Yet what sort of performance can a PC builder get for the same $400?
At CES 2017, everybody has been waiting for AMD to drop all the pricing and performance information on their next generation GPU architecture codenamed Vega, but AMD couldn’t do that simply due to the fact that Vega is still in active development. Engineering samples have been shown running both Star Wars: Battlefront and DOOM in 4K at max settings, but that is all.
AMD’s new budget graphics card, the RX 460, has launched.
The 460 has ~50% the power of the RX 480. This means that it is better than the GTX 750 Ti, but slightly weaker than the R7 370 and GTX 950. In newer games likes DOOM, the 460 has better performance than the 370 and 950, and if most upcoming games utilized Vulkan/DirectX 12, the RX 460 would be a very good replacement card. Unfortunately, even though we are getting closer to Q4 2016, the majority of games are not using Vulkan/DirectX 12. So, in average performance, the RX 460 currently lags behind.
AMD’s new mid-range graphics card, the RX 470, launches today.
This card is roughly 15-20% slower than the RX 480. This makes it, on average, slightly slower than the R9 290. The card is easy on the power consumption and temperatures, but AMD is not releasing any reference cards, so noise is highly dependent on the manufacturer’s cooler. Reading the reviews, the better coolers are excellent, while the lesser coolers are loud.