| 5 min read
The day you’ve waited for is finally here; GPUs are now reasonably priced, in stock, and on sale. Buying a graphics card today guarantees you the best price of the last three years—yeah, you can finally afford to buy a GPU again.
There’s just one problem. Graphics card pricing is still on a steep downward trend, and external factors could push prices down even further. You can afford a graphics card again, that’s true, but you may want to wait a bit longer.
We noticed that GPU prices were taking a nosedive back in March. Data from 3DCenter suggested that prices would continue to fall throughout 2022 and that GPU pricing would reach MSRP in June or July. That prediction was correct.
The steep decline in GPU pricing is mainly due to the crypto crash. Graphics cards are often used to “mine” cryptocurrency, but we’ve reached a point where equipment and electricity costs exceed the revenue generated by cryptomining. Only those with deep pockets, business responsibilities, or a willingness to gamble have continued their operations.
That means fewer people are buying graphics cards, and more importantly, cryptominers are racing to resell their GPUs before prices hit rock bottom. The used market is flooded with GPUs right now, and when there’s an abundance of product, things get cheaper.
In addition to the crypto crash, GPU manufacturing is at an all-time high. Stores can finally maintain a stock of GPUs without any stupid tricks—unfortunately, gamers may be buying less of these cards than they normally would. Many gamers are taking advantage of the used market, for example, while others are spooked by our rocky economic situation. If retailers end up with an oversupply of GPUs, prices could tank even further.
If you haven’t visited Newegg or other computer retailers in a while, you’re in for a trip. It’s like going back in time—not only are GPUs in stock, but they’re at MSRP. And by golly, some units are even on sale.
At the time of writing, high-end cards like the RTX 3080 are about $50 off at NewEgg, and our friends at antonline are selling RTX 3060s for just $400. Cheaper GPUs for 1080p gaming, like the Radeon RX 6600, are faced with even larger discounts.
The only problem is that prices could continue to drop. Those who buy a GPU today are getting the best deal of the last three years, but they may not get the best deal of 2022.
Buying a GPU now will also lock in the past. Next-gen GPUs are coming later this year, and while they probably won’t be discounted, they’ll sell at MSRP (something we hardly got to experience with the previous generation). Not to mention, when RTX 4000 and Radeon 7000 cards hit the market, older GPUs will become less expensive. You’ll get an even bigger discount on that last-gen hardware if you just wait a few months.
From a profit standpoint, now is the worst time to sell a GPU since 2019. Cards that sold for $4,000 a few years ago are only worth a few hundred dollars today. Still, the used market is flooded with graphics cards, as cryptominers are racing to sell off old equipment before it’s worth even less money.
If you buy a used GPU today, I can almost guarantee that it was used to mine cryptocurrency. But it may also cost a few hundred bucks less than a new graphics card. So, should you buy used?
As we’ve seen in lab tests by LTT and others, using a GPU for cryptomining doesn’t really impact its performance. Still, buying used computer parts is always a gamble, and cryptofarms don’t always treat their equipment with respect. Simply using a GPU may not affect its performance, but dust, corrosion, and heat exposure certainly will.
I strongly suggest reading How-To Geek’s guide on used GPUs if you’re thinking about buying an aftermarket graphics card. It’ll severely lower your chances of getting ripped off.
One thing to note—gamers are currently upgrading their PCs with used crypto GPUs. Most of these gamers already own a GPU of some kind, and many of those old GPUs will end up on eBay. That means we’ll see another flood of used GPUs in the coming months, which could push prices even further down.
We know that GPU pricing is on a downward trend, and all signs suggest that the trend will continue. Graphics cards should grow even cheaper in a month or two, so if you’re looking for the best deal, you may want to wait until August or September.
One thing to keep in mind is that next-gen GPUs are right around the corner. NVIDIA is expected to launch its RTX 4000-series cards between July and August, and AMD Radeon 7000-series cards should arrive this fall. When these GPUs launch, older models will become less valuable, especially on the used market.
And while I don’t want to spread a bunch of doom and gloom, we are currently in the midst of an economic downturn. A recession is a strong possibility. If a recession occurs, demand for computer parts may plummet—bad news for manufacturers who ramped up production to meet increased demand throughout 2020 and 2021.
In other words, we could end up with a massive oversupply of PC parts in 2023. The same thing happened in 2009, and guess what? Computer parts got pretty cheap. (Today’s circumstance is a bit complicated, especially because of chip shortages and supply chain constraints. Still, some gamers are gambling on this outcome.)
I strongly suggest waiting at least a month or two before buying a GPU, as prices should continue to fall due to a strong used market, decreased demand, and the arrival of next-gen cards. Pricing could be very attractive this August or September. But if you’re willing to gamble on economic disaster, which we hopefully avoid, then you may want to hold out even longer.