Video Cards Are Getting More Expensive Again
Gamers used to fear they’d get sniped at long range and lose a match, but now they live in fear of a GPU failure. A combination of factors has pushed video card prices into the stratosphere, and there’s no sign they’ll come back down to earth anytime soon. In fact, data collected by 3DCenter points to prices increasing in the last month.
The GPU shortage picked up steam in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic sent millions into lockdowns. That encouraged cooped-up gamers to consider overdue upgrades, which tightened supply. And then there was the rapid increase in cryptocurrency values throughout 2020 and 2021, and since GPUs are used to mine many cryptocurrencies, gaming hardware often ended up in mining rigs where their video outputs would go unused. On top of all of that, the ongoing semiconductor shortage had already constrained supply, so powerful video cards quickly became rare and expensive.
At the height of the pandemic, it was not uncommon to see the latest RTX 30-series cards going for thousands of dollars on eBay and Amazon. Thankfully, prices have lowered a bit, but any illusions about prices returning to normal in the short term are now being dispelled. Based on the data from 3DCenter, Nvidia cards are now 72 percent over MSRP. Meanwhile, AMD cards are in an even worse state at 83 percent over MSRP. Most importantly, the trends are moving in the wrong direction. Last month, the same data set showed Nvidia and AMD card prices were pumped up by 70 percent and 74 percent, respectively. This is probably due to a rise in crypto prices.
It’s important to note that this data comes from Europe, but other regions are tracking close to these values. If anything, GPUs in North America are a bit more expensive. The price gap also varies by card. While high-end GPUs like the RTX 3080 are still obscenely expensive, mid-range offerings like the 3060 can seem almost sane. And yet, you should not spend almost a thousand dollars on a GPU that would normally be priced at $400-$500, unless you really have no other options.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that there are more cards available these days. In 2020, it was rare to even find a card in stock anywhere, even if it was priced horribly. These days, prices are still high, and they might climb higher still for the holiday season, but at least you can buy one if you really need to. That said, you should probably hope that your current GPU can limp along for another few years.