Graphics card prices have been absolutely out of whack over the last couple of years. This is not news anymore. But maybe the news is that prices are coming down after so long-or are they?
Here is a breakdown of the current GPU shortage (and price gouging) situation in early 2022.
EU Graphics Card Market Gets First Crack
Every PC gamer would definitely want the prices to come down across the board, all over the world. But for now, it seems like the European market is getting its first crack at price decreases.
According to PC Gamer, it has been mostly Austrian and German retailers who have seen price drops in recent times. NVIDIA’s RTX 30-series graphics cards seem to have taken the biggest hit, with prices slightly dropping from 185% of MSRP to as little as 177%. As for AMD, they’ve dropped to as low as 167% of MSRP, from the original high of 178%.
With this, GPU prices are already a far cry from their all-time highs last year. The RTX 30-series, for one, rose to an insane 318% above MSRP back in mid-May 2021, while AMD’s RX 6000 series skyrocketed to as much as 216% above MSRP half a month prior, according to VideoCardz (via 3DCenter).
There’s no indication of whether the price drops are going to continue, but this could be a good start.
What About US Graphics Card Prices?
If you live in the United States, things can be a bit tougher with the GPU shortage still keeping a stranglehold on the American market. And if you remember something from your basic Economics class, you’ll understand that scarcity of goods will always lead to higher prices if demand is high; which it usually is because of just how important graphics cards are.
NVIDIA was likely the only company in the GPU space to try to do something about the shortage, though their efforts were a bit… weird. For one, they re-launched a couple of cards this year, specifically the 12GB version of the RTX 2060 and 3080. But despite the relaunch, these cards were once again barely in stock. Furthermore, there are other factors aside from the shortage that just keeps prices up for the time being, writes TechSpot.
In the case of the 12GB 2060 and 3080, these cards launched without a firm MSRP and with very little fanfare. As such, Techspot argues that NVIDIA had the “chance” to squeeze every last drop out of the retailers they sell the cards to in bulk. Eventually, this leads to the retailers having to recoup their losses by passing it on to buyers via sky-high pricing.
As a result, the 12GB 2060 (despite the card being technically over a year old at this point) regularly tips the scales at $1,000, while the 12GB RTX 3080 costs around $1,400 to as much as $1,800 (judging by current eBay prices at the time of this writing).
So, What Now?
2022 is shaping up to be ever-so-slightly different from 2021 or 2020 in terms of graphics card prices. They are going down due to numerous factors (i.e. the imminent arrival of Intel’s Arc GPUs as a new big-name contender), as well as the presence of more budget-friendly (but still expensive for their performance) cards in the RTX 3050 and the RX 6500 XT.
There’s also a slight dip in the profitability of crypto mining using GPUs, driven largely by the price drop that hit Ethereum mining and slashed the value of the world’s second-biggest crypto in half. Lastly, those budget GPUs (i.e. the 3050 and 6500 XT) are quite terrible at mining crypto anyway, which makes them very unappealing to miners.
But whatever happens, the GPU price drop is looking to be a slow grind until they fall back down to normal levels.