Update: The top GPUs just fell below MSRP — should you buy now?
Anybody trying to buy a GPU between late 2020 to now will know that finding RTX 3080 stock at MSRP has been a huge challenge that not only required being in the right place at the right time, but an enormous amount of luck to boot.
While GPU prices have begun to return to normal levels, we’re not quite back at MSRP yet — but Corsair, the manufacturer of PC components and peripherals, believes the wait is very nearly over. Not only will we see graphics cards at their stated MSRP, but we may even see some discounts along the way too.
“During Q1, GPU cards, which are the most expensive item in a gaming PC, were still at a high premium, roughly 150% of MSRP, and even with this premium, we saw gaming PC build activity slightly higher than pre-pandemic and pre-GPU shortage levels,” Corsair CEO Andy Paul said, commenting on the company’s first-quarter financial results.
“We expect that GPU cards will be back to MSRP in the near term, perhaps discounted below MSRP,” he went on. “With GPU and CPU products becoming available and reasonably priced, we expect to see a surge of self-built gaming PC activity in 2H22 and 2023.”
GPU prices: Moving in the right direction
Perhaps we’ve become too jaded in the face of persistent high prices and low stock, but “below MSRP” feels a bit of a pipe dream, at least in the short term. After so many months of shortages and sky-high prices, it’s hard to imagine gamers not biting card manufacturers’ hands off for products at regular prices, without any need to offer further incentives.
Plus, it’s obviously in a PC component maker’s interest to talk up a “surge of self-built gaming PCs” when talking to shareholders.
But anecdotally, prices do seem to have been edging closer to MSRP in recent months, and while finding RTX 3070 stock at MSRP is still a rarity, we’re now looking at a price hikes in the 20% region, rather than double or more, which was often the norm in late 2020 and across most of 2021.
We’re not out of the woods yet, and if the last few years have taught us anything it’s that things can change very rapidly indeed. All it would take would be for another, more dangerous and/or contagious strain of Covid-19 to force lockdowns across China and supply chains could slow to a crawl again.
But with Intel set to imminently enter the desktop GPU race with its Arc Alchemist series set to offer some much needed competition for AMD and Nvidia, perhaps we’ll soon be in a place where it’s a good time to be a PC builder again.