The Best Time to Upgrade Your Graphics Card Is Right Now

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Players and others Users of high-end PC graphics cards (crypto miners, video editors) are experiencing an unusual kind of sticker shock lately: hardware prices have dropped so low, so quickly, that something seems to be going wrong.

Just a year ago, gamers looking to upgrade from an older graphics card to a next-generation board containing GPUs like Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 or AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT simply couldn’t find them without paying a great deal from Ebay or getting lucky when a supply trickle appeared at retailers like Best Buy or Newegg.

The tide has turned. As anticipation builds for the next generation of graphics cards and motherboard manufacturers are scrambling to clear inventory, and as demand from cryptocurrency miners has softened, supply and prices have stabilized In fact, retailers and direct manufacturers like EVGA and MSI are offering discounts on many graphics cards, something we haven’t seen in a while.

There will be many, like those who need the latest iPhone when it comes out, who will choose to wait for the latest and greatest premium price cards. But for casual players, this may be the perfect time to buy, while inventory is still available and prices have returned to normal or even lower.

Why have prices dropped?

In April, Jon Peddie, a veteran researcher who closely follows the graphics industry, predicted that a massive price drop could soon be coming, with board scalpers left with excess inventory.

This seems to have been largely played out. But Peddie says what’s happening is that the supply and demand cycles of the graphics industry players — Nvidia, AMD and now Intel (which is getting into gaming-focused GPUs) — are returning to normal. predictable

What got us to the point where graphics cards disappeared from retail channels and were sold at huge profits in secondary markets, says Peddie, was a combination of factors including “mining and recessions and stock market crashes and wars and pandemics , and everything you could think of to screw up that nice, predictable curve that we forecasters used to make our models,” he says.

Surprisingly, says Peddie, it wasn’t supply chain issues or Covid itself that caused the shortage, but scalpers and crypto farms. The Covid factory closures, he says, “lasted maybe a week or two at most,” and the print industry works in three- to five-year cycles, so even major disruptions don’t carry long-term planning. deadline and orders too far. .

But on the demand side, we saw the rise of cryptomining farms using powerful graphics cards to speed up their activity and more demand for cards as old and new players tried to upgrade their systems during the pandemic lockdown of 2020 to play newer games.

Now, however, there is much more inventory in retail channels and a new product refresh cycle is behind us, he says. “It’s price elasticity everywhere,” says Peddie. “If you need a graphics card, this is an excellent time. You couldn’t do it better.”

What should you buy?

The type of graphics card you should upgrade to depends on the type of games you want to play. If you’re still enjoying the games you played three years ago (eg Overwatch, Controli Apex Legends(like me), you might just need a budget or mid-range card, like something based on Nvidia’s 3060 GPU or something with AMD’s Radeon RX 570 in the $200-$350 price range .

If you want to deal with more demanding new releases or monsters like now Cyberpunk 2077 or Hitman 3, with all the lightning at the highest settings, you might want an Nvidia 3080 or Radeon 6700 XT. Ideally, you want something powerful, but a top-of-the-line card might be overkill. The next step down, between $500 and $700, is more than enough for most games and you get a steep discount. Not everyone wants to pay $1,000 or more for a graphics card, even if it’s future-ready for the next three to five years.

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