Ever since AMD and Nvidia launched their Radeon 6000 and GeForce 3000 graphics cards in late 2020, actually getting hold of one of them has been, and in some respects still remains, a pretty difficult task. – With that being said though, it’s hard to deny that since the start of 2022, both GPU availability and prices have been getting better.
The reasons for this are, of course, various. With AMD and Nvidia GPUs finally hitting (or in some instances falling below) their MSRPs, however, many consumers may currently find themselves in a difficult situation. – Namely, should you actually try and buy a graphics card right now, or are you going to be far better off waiting a few more months for the AMD Radeon 7000 and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000 series to arrive?
It’s an entirely legitimate question, and one with no straightforward answer. In other to attempt to come up with some kind of solution though, let’s take a brief look at some of the pros and cons of acting now, or holding off just a little bit longer!
Graphics Cards – Buy Now, or Pay the Price Later?
As things currently stand, current-gen graphics card prices are the best they have ever been. With many of the more affordable/desirable models teetering on the brink of finally falling below their respective MSRPs, it’s incredibly tempting to just find a solid enough deal and make your long overdue (and desired) purchase.
In many respect though, although prices are finally returning back to what they should’ve been in the first place, rather annoyingly, right now might actually be the worst time to buy a graphics card. – Controversial I know, but hear me out as there are more than a few factors in this opinion (and yes, this is merely my opinion).
Buying Now (While the Going is Good?)
The most obvious reason to buy a graphics card right now basically boils down to key two points. Firstly, they’re finally starting to cost (roughly speaking) what they actually should. And secondly, lacking a crystal ball into what the future may hold, it’s entirely possible that prices could start to go back up again.
Why are prices so much better at the moment though? Well, there is a long answer involving overall demand and supply lines, but the magic bullet has undoubtedly been in the fact that since February 2022, cryptocurrency prices have been falling (well, plunging might be a more apt word).
Within just the last month, the value of Bitcoin has fallen from around $30,000 to just under $20,000. – With cryptocurrency demand down, more graphics cards are working their way to retailers, and, by proxy, general consumers’ hands. And as the old economic theory goes, the more of something there is, with reducing demand, the less expensive it gets.
With all this in mind though, while buying now might not sound like a bad idea, I think that if you’ve been willing to wait this long for an upgrade, waiting just a couple more months might be hugely to your advantage!
If You’ve Waited This Long…
As noted above, I don’t have a crystal ball and can’t guarantee what the future may hold. – It does, however, seem that graphics card prices for current-gen models should continue to fall, and possibly quite sharply, over the next few months.
Without going off on a massive tangent exploring every single rabbit hole, the key reasons for this are as follows:
- If cryptocurrency continues to fall (which looks likely at the time of writing until at least around October/November) GPU demand from that market will continue to fall bringing more graphics cards to retailers and consumers (which will continue to lower their price)
- Intel Arc desktop GPU models are coming within the next 4-8 weeks. No, we don’t anticipate them to have a huge comparative demand, but a third player means more competition, and more competition usually results in better prices
- While models such as the 3090 and 3090 Ti have seen massive price drops (many are actually already selling for well below MSRP) the entry to mid-tier models have remained a little more resistant in holding their ‘retail’ value with many more premium designs still around $50-$200 above MSRP
- Presuming supplies continue to get better, with prices very nearly at their MSRP, we’re definitely starting to enter the realms of ‘sale’ territory where some AIBs might be quite keen to start clearing their shelves and stock in preparation for…
- Nvidia 4000 and AMD 7000 graphics cards are looking due to release around October with indications (for both manufacturers) suggesting strong (and potentially very substantial) generation-on-generation performance gains
At the risk of being proven completely wrong, it does feel like with things finally getting better, the release of the Nvidia 4000 and AMD 7000 graphics cards couldn’t be coming at a better time. We could, very well, be approaching the non-eye of a perfect non-storm! – When next-generation graphics cards hit retailers, their stock levels might actually be good. And who knows, they might be available to purchase, right off the bat, at their official MSRP!
With this in mind, therefore, buying a current-gen model, right now, might actually represent the worst piece of timing we’ve seen since they originally landed back in late 2020! – We are, after all, very much in what has been dubbed the ‘high-end-of-life’ market for many current-gen models!
So, What Should You Do?
While some of my colleagues here at eTeknix may disagree, my advice right now is to not buy a graphics card. I honestly believe that for current-gen models, things are going to get massively better price-wise in the very near future. And by this, I mean around August/September immediately prior to their next-gen replacements being confirmed.
From my perspective, as someone who has been after a new GPU for quite some time now, what I’m planning to do is sit tight and wait a little longer. I’ll see what the situation with the Nvidia 4000 and AMD 7000 series will be and act accordingly. – If they offer strong performance, good stock, and at a reasonable price, I’m going to get one of them. If not, then some kind of deals will undoubtedly be available for current-gen models as retailers look to move them on before they get made completely redundant and outdated (and trust me when I say that outdated tech can be an incredibly hard sell!).
Whether it’s something like a next-gen 4070, or current-gen 3080, if I’ve waited this long, I’m honestly willing to wait a little longer considering my bank balance could be hugely rewarded for just a bit more patience! – Buying right now though just feels like a bad idea!
So, as I’ve often done over the last 2 years, I’m going to continue to say a silent prayer to my somewhat creaking 1080 Ti every time I turn my PC on. – “Just hang on a little bit longer… please?!”
What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!