Are we finally coming out of nightmare GPU pricing territory? We’ve endured the perfect storm of a once-in-a-generation pandemic combined with a cryptocurrency boom that flattened supply and inflated demand. But there are signs that things may slowly be returning to normality.
While you’ll still struggle to find RTX 3070 restocks at MSRP (unless you’re very quick with the mouse, or are prepared to think outside the box), there are signs that things are moving in the right direction — and the drops can be quite jarring, too. Take what happened in Australia recently, where Nvidia RTX 3080 stock fell from AU$2,299 to AU$1,499 overnight.
GPU pricing is falling off a cliff right now. Locally the "ASUS GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC" was $2299 yesterday, today a few retailers have slashed it to $1499 AUD. That's 35% off over night.(kick in the capacitors if you bought one yesterday)March 15, 2022
But there are also signs that price inflation may be here to stay. The Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti card is coming soon, and the leaker @momomo_us claims to have got hold of Canadian pricing which, if accurate, kills the idea that we’re out of the woods on high graphics card prices.
🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/DcAJHtxYlLMarch 18, 2022
That comes to a price of a little more than $4,150 USD for the ASUS ROG Strix model, to save you doing the currency conversion. The TUF one is a touch cheaper, mind, coming in at "just" $3,690 or thereabouts.
Although this isn’t the first time we’ve heard such prices mooted, it would still be a huge surprise given the non-Ti version of the card has a MSRP of $1,500. It’s more likely that these are holding prices rather than the official going rate, but these are strange times we live in, so never say never.
The waiting game for graphics cards
Either way, if you’re able to, it’s best to play the waiting game — unless you find yourself in the right place at the right time and are able to buy at MSRP. I was lucky enough to find myself in that position thanks to a stock tracking Telegram group and a freelance lifestyle that means I can drop everything at a moment’s notice. As a result, I now have an RTX 3070 in my life.
But not everyone has that kind of freedom, and you may want to wait a bit longer for two landmarks on the horizon.
The first is Etherium’s switch to proof-of-stake mining, which is currently scheduled for June and should make GPU mining of the cryptocurrency redundant. While there are other currencies that still benefit from a top-end GPU, they’re not as obviously profitable, especially with energy prices skyrocketing, and there’s a real chance we could see demand fall off a cliff this summer as a result.
The second factor is that Nvidia is rumored to be working on the RTX 40 series, with release possibly coming before the year is out. While you may not want or need the power (or expense!) that these next-generation cards will inevitably offer, it may still make sense to hold off and see what their introduction does to current-gen pricing.
In short, if you’ve waited this long for a new GPU, it doesn’t hurt to wait a few more months, does it?