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Graphics card prices plummeted. Buy now or wait?

60% off the $2,150 premium RTX 3090 Ti. The gorgeous RX 6900 XT costs nearly 40% less. After months of painfully sky-high prices, graphics card prices have suddenly plummeted, and most notably on the highest-end models.

Inventory suddenly favors consumers, and now miners are no longer buying all the graphics chips Nvidia and AMD make. Looking at the final total after these discounts, you might find yourself asking if it’s worth the stretch of budget — especially if you have extra cash on hand after waiting for a reasonable price for a GPU.

This is a question worth asking, and we’ve discussed it on The Full Nerd, our weekly YouTube show on PC hardware. If you find yourself considering this decision, here are other hard questions you should ask yourself next. How you answer will determine whether you should stay with your original budget, buy one of these crazy deals, or wait for the next-gen card.

How long do you keep the graphics card?

The PCWorld folks are a little kidding right now, but the GTX 1080 Ti has been incredible over the years. Often, enthusiasts buy flagship cards before many people actually upgrade.​​​


If you change your graphics card more often, your strategy will be different than someone who changes graphics card more often. Tend to buy and hold for as long as possible.

For example, if you like to change cards every few years, and you’re four years old now or five years from having your current GPU, you might feel like it’s long overdue due to normal prices Upgraded. Since you’ll be replacing your graphics card in a few years, it may not be appropriate to wait longer, even considering the age of current-generation GPUs.

On the other hand, if you tend to stick with your graphics card until you part, wait another half a year for the rumored Nvidia’s RTX 40 series and AMD’s RDNA3 Radeon cards A card is the more appropriate decision. Sticking with the latest technology will help prolong the life of your purchase.

Find yourself on the fence? How you answer the other questions will help you better figure out where you’re going.

How important is the next-generation feature?

Rolled 20 dollar bills
Chernobyl Stone Compare DLSS, FSR and native resolution. If you’re someone who supports FSR but wants performance closer to Nvidia’s DLSS 2.0, you’d better wait and see what the next-gen graphics card brings.

Keith May/IDG

In the current generation of graphics cards, AMD is one step behind Nvidia in supporting ray tracing. FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), its upgrade for frame rates, also still lags behind Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). Depending on the games you play and monitor, having these features can be the key to enjoying your card.

Answers to other questions in this article can better shape the path taken. Maybe a current-generation high-end graphics card is ideal – you have a graphics card that’s in the endgame, or too weak for your tastes, and the RTX 30-series or RX 6000-series feature set is more than enough for your timeline.

Or wait and see what happens next is the right choice. You want to make the most of the beautiful new monitor you just got, or you’re gambling despite the ever-increasing MSRP that you can buy a cheaper next-gen GPU and still get improved performance and features.

Even if you don’t plan to play games on this card, features like Nvidia’s encoder NVENC will progress with the release of newer architectures. Newer cards can also support unexpected and very useful new features, such as Nvidia’s release of RTX Voice and its background noise cancellation technology at the start of the pandemic. At launch, the feature was limited to 20-series cards at the time and the tensor chips found only in those RTX cards. GTX cards weren’t supported until a year later.

What game do you like to play?

If you keep being “But does it work


?” type, you’ll want a card that can handle graphics-demanding games with ease. (Pictured:

Cyberpunk 2077

. )

Thiago Trevisan/IDG

What game is only played at the moment the AAA game drops? Or are you focusing on indie games with less tax?

The type of game you play should also factor into your purchase decision, even if the game you choose is a freebie you collect through the Epic Games Store. Whether they penalize hardware, take it easy, or something in between, your usual tastes will affect how much hardware you reasonably need. Cutting-edge versions of ray tracing or the ability to output high frame rates in today’s AAA games are meaningless if your game doesn’t require a lot of firepower.

So please think about the napkin math that works best for the type of hardware you’re used to. After that, you’ll be able to call, “I don’t usually buy the 6900 XT, but if a good model costs less than $600, I’d rather dig it out now and then stick around for a few more years to wait for the next generation card price. Drop. Otherwise, I’ll hold on.”

What can your monitor do?


You’ll get a high resolution like the Samsung Odyssey G9 Playing the latest AAA games on screen? After all, you can have an Odyssey G9 and just play Stry

class of games instead of it.


While it’s fun to have hardware that puts pedals on metal, sometimes you can’t justify having it. Example: You have a 1080p monitor with a fixed refresh rate of 60Hz, don’t plan to upgrade it, and only play games on PC. Of course, casually mentioning that you bought a 3090 Ti for just over $1,000 is a great bomb in the conversation, but it shouldn’t be a major win for a deal like this.

In other words: what resolution and refresh rate do you usually play at? And if you’re pushing a lot of pixels or playing games at high frame rates, how important is it to maintain that level of performance?

These answers and the kind of games you usually play will determine how powerful your graphics card should be, and how long you can last. If you’re playing a game with relatively low system requirements, but loading it on an ultrawide monitor (i.e. a Samsung Odyssey G9) with its graphics settings cranked to max, you may end up needing a more powerful graphics card than you initially thought . Likewise, if you always need to hit at least 144 fps in the latest AAA games, you’ll be changing your cards more often.

What is your budget?

This question is the harshest reality.


This is the final reality check. If you’re only going to spend $250 on a new graphics card, with everything but the Radeon RX 6600, a reasonable stretch is more like $350. (The good news is that we’ve also seen discounts on the RTX 3060 Ti and RX 6600 XT — just not as steep as the flagship cards.)

But if you’re already targeting the RX 3070 Ti or RX 6800, then it’s more logical to upgrade to the 6900 XT for $670. Considering these cards aren’t that far off the MSRP right now, this might actually be a tempting proposition.

Even if you’re more in 6700 XT territory, the answers you gave for the other questions in this article actually confirm that you’re paying extra to upgrade to a 6900 XT Good candidate.

Bonus question: used or new?

The price has shifted to pricing as Nvidia and AMD promise their graphics chips, but miners are no longer enthusiastic about buying GPUs. In fact, they are trying to get rid of their cards.

This raises another interesting question: If you want to really get the most bang for your buck, do you opt for a used graphics card, or do you wait for those fire sale prices to continue?

The latter is very likely. The last time we really saw a strong stock liquidation was after the launch of the GTX 10 series. With decent memory, you can buy a GTX 970 card for around $150 towards the end of the 9 Series’ life. Really crazy price – I remember commenting on PCWorld’s resident GPU guru Brad Chacos at the time.

Due to high stock, AMD Radeon RX 580 It also fell to comfortably low prices before it became popular. This card has been a great budget option for years.

Brad Chacos / IDG

Chernobylite DLSS Quality / Native resolution / FSR Ultra Quality

Neither AMD nor Nvidia want to hold the remaining stock series cards of the RX 6000 series or 30-, respectively, before the next-generation cards are rumored to be available this fall . So there’s a good chance that current-gen GPUs will continue to receive deep discounts, and that’s true across the stack. (BTW, budget buyers: you might want to avoid the RX 6500 XT, even if it’s going to be cut insanely.)

But whatever the cost of the new card, you can Make sure a used card always weakens it. Miners want to offload most of their card inventory, which means there are plenty of potentially cheaper (if riskier) options to upgrade your PC.

So which way should you go? That was a long-standing debate among our employees, each of us holding a very spicy personal opinion. To help you decide for yourself, check out our list of 6 things to consider before buying a used GPU right now. Get an in-depth look at our overview of who should also buy a used GPU.

But remember – a new card comes with a warranty. Depending on your situation, it might be worth the cost difference. (Can you guess my take on this issue?)

Saphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 on a driveway



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