The “GPU Prices are Not Improving Fast Enough” Update

GPU prices image

GPU prices started going up (roughly) in March of 2020 when all hardware went up in price or went out-of-stock. It happened slowly at first, then faster and faster, until widespread unavailability became the norm!

During the worst of the worst, it was so bad that you could not buy most graphics cards, no matter what price you were willing to pay! I am very glad that the worst is over.

But we aren’t out of the woods just yet.


The State of GPU Prices 


It is hard to pinpoint a specific date when things began to get better (the author of this article was curled up in a corner crying over the Intel 7nm rebadge fiasco), but things were clearly better by the middle of 2021. By early August, all PC parts were not just in-stock, but available for MSRP. All except GPUs.

Ah, GPUs. The curse and salvation of every gamer, miner, and scalper. How is a man supposed to kill the Eye of Kilrogg in 8K at 400 FPS without a good graphics card?! Or generate a shiny new Cypruscoin—which is not a meme, and will surely inflate in price by tomorrow to make us all billionaires that own the moon?! Modern life creates a serious need for GPUs, and that need has been hard to satisfy for a while.

The price inflation and stock shortage affected GPUs so horrendously that GPU prices remain the only PC hardware prices that have not returned to normal. Things are better, yes, but they are not good. Depending on your luck, the time of the day, and the position of Jupiter relative to Neptune, GPU prices are between 50% to 100% higher than MSRP. Now, that’s still better than the height of the stock shortage, when prices were up to triple the MSRP. Whew!

It felt horrible to recommend US$200 cards that were selling for US$600 or more. But that is about to change completely… we can now feel horrible about recommending US$200 cards for US$400!


Our Newest Method of Addressing the Graphics Card Situation


In order to make real-world recommendations that can help PC buyers, we looked at good cards that are 2 or 3 generations old and added them back into the guide at real-world prices.

We have updated all the performance numbers of all the cards that we recommend, and we are grouping cards that perform close to each other, even if the prices are different. Prices are still high, still fluctuating, and still slightly illogical.

On the negative side, that means the numbers on our chart may continue to line up poorly with reality in some situations, despite our best efforts. On the positive side, though, that means you might find this week’s US$1,100 alternative card for sale at a much more logical US$800 next week.


A GPU Chart for our Main Chart


The full list of performance numbers, along with the old vs. new placement on our charts, is as follows:


Vega 33%DestituteDestitute
Vega 87%PoorPoor
Vega 118%MinimumMinimum
RX 5509%Entry
RX 56013%EntryEntry
GTX 165020%Modest
RX 57026%FairFair
GTX 1650 Super28%FairFair
RX 58030%FairFair
RX 5500 XT30%FairFair
RX 59033%Good
GTX 166033%FairGood
GTX 1660 Super38%GoodVery Good
GTX 1660 Ti38%GoodVery Good
RTX 206046%Very Good, GreatGreat
RX 5600 XT46%Very Good, GreatGreat
RTX 2060 Super52%SuperbSuperb
RTX 207054%SuperbSuperb
RTX 306056%SuperbSuperb
RX 5700 XT58%ExcellentExcellent
RX 6600 XT59%Excellent
RTX 2070 SUper60%ExcellentExcellent
RTX 208066%ExcellentOutstanding
RTX 2080 Super69%ExcellentOutstanding
RTX 3060 Ti73%ExcellentOutstanding
RX 6700 XT75%Exceptional
RTX 2080 Ti80%OutstandingExceptional
RTX 307082%OutstandingExceptional
RTX 3070 Ti87%Enthusiast
RX 680090%OutstandingEnthusiast
RTX 3080100%Exceptional, EnthusiastExtremist
RX 6800 XT101%Exceptional, EnthusiastExtremist
RX 6900 XT106%Extremist, MonstrousMonstrous
RTX 3080 Ti108%Monstrous
RTX 3090110%Extremist, MonstrousMonstrous

(Items with names in purple were not on the list before this update)




So, when will we get back to normal MSRP? Sadly, we do not know, and current speculation is that it will take a while. And “a while” here means “maybe a year or two,” not a couple of months.

If you need to buy a graphics card, now you know what to look for… as well as what to expect.