Finding the right time to buy a graphics card is always a difficult decision. Supply and demand fluctuate constantly, especially with an ongoing global chip shortage and the volatility of crypto mining.
But there may never be a better time to buy the latest GPU from AMD or Nvidia —even with new cards on the horizon.
Graphics cards: Prices are falling
The prices for graphics cards have been falling for a while now. Tom’s Guide started reporting on price reductions as early as March of this year, and these price reductions continued into April and May. The price drops stem from a combination of factors, but the end result is consumers are now finally getting a better price and more availability.
According to our colleagues over at Tom’s Hardware, this drop in price is not a phenomenon unique to just one GPU. They looked at 22 of the top GPUs available from AMD and Nvidia, and as of June 15, only the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 12GB saw an increase in price since June 1. The median price change among all 22 SKUs was a price reduction of 1% over that 15-day period.
What is even more interesting though, is that several of these GPUs are now selling for below their MSRP — specifically the highest-end ones. There are three Nvidia GPUs and two AMD GPUs in the Tom’s Hardware list of 22 that are supposed to cost $1,000 or more. Currently, all five are available for less than their MSRP.
GPUs made by third-party manufacturers are also decreasing for these higher-end GPUs. Best Buy currently has a Gigabyte-built Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti selling for $1,099.99, a whopping $450 price reduction from Best Buy’s listed retail price.
Graphics cards: Are new chips incoming?
Next generation GPUs are definitely coming, but they may be arriving sooner rather than later. Back in May, we reported that you might want to wait before upgrading your graphics card, as rumors started to flow regarding new AMD and Nvidia GPUs.
This next generation of chips could be a game changer. The Nvidia Lovelace next-generation GPUs are rumored to double the performance of the current flagship GeForce RTx 3090 Ti. AMD’s new GPUs are rumored to be even more powerful, with a massive upgrade in performance that could produce more than 90 teraflops of FP32 performance.
If the rumors prove true, these are significant upgrades. Again, at this point, they're just rumors.
Graphics cards: Should I get one now?
Ultimately, the decision to get or not get a new GPU depends on what type of user you are. Do you need to have the latest and greatest technology? Well, then you may want to hold off, especially with the next-generation GPUs rumored to arrive toward the end of 2022.
But if you are okay with being a step behind while still having great technology, then the time to buy might be now. While there is not a ton of relative value in buying a lower-end GPU, the high-end GPUs from the current generation have never been cheaper.
These top-of-the-line GPUs from AMD and Nvidia will allow users to do almost anything they could need right now, and will likely provide decent future-proofing against future updates. This is why people in the industry such as Corsair CEO Andy Paul expect a surge in consumers building their own gaming PCs in the coming months.
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Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.
Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.