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You might want to wait before upgrading your graphics card — here’s why

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
(Image credit: Nvidia)

If you’re desperately searching for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or trying to spec-up a new pre-built PC, then you might want to hold fire. 

That’s because the latest rumors are pointing towards major performance jumps for next-generation graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. So if you upgrade now, you may find yourself suffering from buyer's remorse come the fall. Also note that Corsair claims that GPU prices could soon fall below MSRP, which is yet another reason to wait. 

Regular and somewhat reliable leaker Kopite7kimi claims that Nvidia is working on a GPU that could offer around double the FP32 performance (that's theoretical performance) of the mighty GeForce RTX 3090 Ti and triple that of the GeForce RTX 3090. That translates to more than 100 teraflops of theoretical performance. A jump of that regard could see the GPU suck down some 900 watts of power in some workloads, meaning Nvidia is going for power over efficiency here. 

Now we can't verify these rumors and it’s worth remembering that the GeForce RTX 3090 is a card designed for professionals and high-end performance enthusiasts. So an even more powerful next-gen card could also be aimed at serious high-end use and those running artificial intelligence workloads, rather than purely for gaming. But it would nevertheless hint at the direction Nvidia’s Lovelace architecture is set to head. 

One the AMD side, leaker Greymon55 on Twitter claimed that a next-gen RDNA 3 GPU will deliver more than 90 teraflops of FP32 performance. Comparatively, the top-end Radeon RX 6900 XT offers a FP32 peak performance of 23 teraflops. If AMD can pull this off — and it’s not clear how unless it makes some significant architecture changes — then Team Red could have a monster graphics card on its hands. 

As mentioned, we suggest you take these rumors with a degree of skepticism. But they are interesting enough to perhaps warrant thinking twice about getting a new PC or upgrading your graphics card right now, especially as chip shortages means finding current-generation GPUs at retail prices is still arduous. 

There's also an argument that mainstream games aren’t ready to really push PC hardware just yet. The PS5 and Xbox Series X are still in their relative infancy, as shown by cross-generation gaming still being prevalent, and there aren't many games that current-gen tech can't handle with ease. As such, you could put off an upgrade for a little while longer if your gaming PC can cope with 1440p and 1080p gaming at visually appealing settings.

Nvidia could be set to reveal new GPU architecture in a few months, with AMD likely not far behind, meaning next-gen graphics card could be on the horizon for the second half of 2022. 

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • Moose and Squirrel
    Nope. Don't do that. The next gen cards will be high end, expensive, and exclusive. Talk about hard to get. It'll be a year or more before more midrange cards are around and longer than that before they're affordable.

    The current gen cards are pretty good. I have a 3060. So far it plays everything at 4k with all the knobs turned up. I have no idea what I'd need 3-4x the power of that for.
    Reply
  • brian.myers00
    I don't agree with this take. A. You aren't trying very hard at this point if you want a rtx3000 series gpu and can't find it. There are easily 30 series gpus available at near msrp all over the place. B you have no assurances you will be able to meet the performance needs of a future gpu with your current system unless you just built it. Is your power supply good enough for unannounced gpu power requirements? If your cpu going to throttle a 3080 or 3090 just imagine how much performance you will waste on a next gen gpu without additional upgrades. How about a next gen gpu wanting to utilize more bandwidth via pci gen 4? Have a pci gen 4 capable motherboard? C. New series video cards even without shortages sell out for 1-2 months at launch traditionally. D. If you are looking for midrange to low end note that Nvidia currently has a strategy of releasing high end parts first. The 3060 and 3050 came out months after the 3080 and 3090 so expect to wait months more from a 4000 series on top of waiting for that launch.
    Reply
  • Mateu
    Moose and Squirrel said:
    Nope. Don't do that. The next gen cards will be high end, expensive, and exclusive. Talk about hard to get. It'll be a year or more before more midrange cards are around and longer than that before they're affordable.

    The current gen cards are pretty good. I have a 3060. So far it plays everything at 4k with all the knobs turned up. I have no idea what I'd need 3-4x the power of that for.
    So I have a 3090, had it since October 2020. I simply hit the add to cart button for 5 minutes strait on EVGA website the day they released and ended up in EVGAs queue. Took a month but I got the email. I'll do the same for the 4090.
    As to your 3060 playing everything at 4k Ultra. I'm not sure what games your playing. I Play CP 2077, Squad, Star Citizen, Hunt showdown and many others. At 4K Ultra some games I'm in the 80s to 90's. Other games it's 50's to High 60's. This is with 6200mhz DDR5 and a 12900k along with my 3090 all Overclocked.
    There is plenty of room for more GPU power, and frankly until a graphics card can saturate my 144HZ 4K monitor, right now the 3090 is barely enough for 60 to 80 fos average on the most demanding games.
    Frankly it may be the 5090 or 6090 until 4k 144fps average is attainable.
    Reply
  • Moose and Squirrel
    Mateu said:
    So I have a 3090, had it since October 2020. I simply hit the add to cart button for 5 minutes strait on EVGA website the day they released and ended up in EVGAs queue. Took a month but I got the email. I'll do the same for the 4090.
    As to your 3060 playing everything at 4k Ultra. I'm not sure what games your playing. I Play CP 2077, Squad, Star Citizen, Hunt showdown and many others. At 4K Ultra some games I'm in the 80s to 90's. Other games it's 50's to High 60's. This is with 6200mhz DDR5 and a 12900k along with my 3090 all Overclocked.
    There is plenty of room for more GPU power, and frankly until a graphics card can saturate my 144HZ 4K monitor, right now the 3090 is barely enough for 60 to 80 fos average on the most demanding games.
    Frankly it may be the 5090 or 6090 until 4k 144fps average is attainable.

    Doom 2016, Doom Eternal, Halo Infinite, Flight Simulator, Forza 5 and a ton of old school emulation up to Switch/PS3/Xbox games. None drop below 60fps.

    Not exactly crap games, but I expected this take. Yeah, you can find games that beat down most cards. I just don't play that many of them, and neither do most other people.

    Remembering again that the most commonly used graphics card with steam worldwide is a 1060.

    Most popular games will run great on a mid range gtx 3060-3070ti.

    Waiting for the next new 1000w gpu so you can have 350fps on a badly coded game engine isn't really my bag.
    Reply
  • logic isnt for you
    Moose and Squirrel said:
    Doom 2016, Doom Eternal, Halo Infinite, Flight Simulator, Forza 5 and a ton of old school emulation up to Switch/PS3/Xbox games. None drop below 60fps.

    Not exactly crap games, but I expected this take. Yeah, you can find games that beat down most cards. I just don't play that many of them, and neither do most other people.

    Remembering again that the most commonly used graphics card with steam worldwide is a 1060.

    Most popular games will run great on a mid range gtx 3060-3070ti.

    Waiting for the next new 1000w gpu so you can have 350fps on a badly coded game engine isn't really my bag.
    3 of those 5 games barely run at 1080p 60fps on a 3060. The last thing you're doing is playing them in 4k and not dropping under 60fps. One of them you're probably not even getting 30fps.

    Just because something is the most common doesn't mean it can actually play games well. It just means that a large majority of the world cannot afford a better card or have no idea how much smoother actually playing a game 144fps+ is than over 30-60fps.
    Reply
  • John Pombrio
    That is a never-ending cycle if you "hold off for the next BEST THING" for computer hardware. Buy the gear that fits your budget and needs when you need/want an upgrade or a new machine. That has always been the best course of action. All tech companies deal in FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) when talking (or leaking) about their upcoming gear just to keep you from buying another company's products. Just because an announcement may be around the corner, when you will be able to buy the latest card at a reasonable price has always been a concern in the past few years. With inflation, China shutdowns, a war, a pandemic, and the spectre of a revival in crypto mining, who knows what will come. Buy the gear that fits your needs when you need it at a cost you can afford.
    Reply