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Slashed EVGA GPU Step-Up Rules Stifle Upgrade Options

EVGA GPU
(Image credit: EVGA)

EVGA has welcomed 2022 by implementing some drastic changes to two of its flagship customer service programs. The component makes some of the best graphics cards and is highly rated among Nvidia GPU owners, but now it has taken the shears to its GPU Step-Up Program rules, scaling back the upgrade options for loyal participants, sometimes quite considerably.

In another unwelcome price hike for PC enthusiasts, we see that EVGA's extended warranty pricing for motherboards and graphics cards can now be up to 433% more expensive over a five-year period. (Thanks to WCCFTech for bringing to light both of these Reddit posts.) Both changes seem to have been implemented from January 6, 2022.

EVGA Step-Up Program

(Image credit: EVGA)

EVGA made some big changes to how its Step-Up Program for loyal customers works. Previously it was quite a simple program. Once you bought a qualifying EVGA branded GPU and enrolled in the program, you would be able to upgrade to a whole host of graphics cards, from a GeForce GTX 1650 to almost any SKU in the RTX 30-series. Things have now changed significantly, with the new policy limiting the scope of your potential upgrade. The Step-Up program for GPUs is now pretty complicated to explain in prose, but thankfully EVGA has put together a table that makes the changes quite plain.

EVGA Step-Up Rules
Your Step-Up Eligible Graphics Card Your Available Step-Up Options
EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 N/A
EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti EVGA GeForce RTX 3090
EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 EVGA GeForce RTX 3090
EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 / 3080 Ti / 3080
EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 / 3080 Ti / 3080
EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti / 3080 / 3070 Ti / 3070
EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti / 3080 / 3070 Ti / 3070
EVGA GeForce 20 Series EVGA GeForce RTX 3060
EVGA GeForce 16 Series EVGA GeForce 20 Series
EVGA GeForce 10 Series EVGA GeForce 16 Series

"Previously in the EVGA Step-Up program, original purchasers of almost any 3-Year Warranty graphics card could Step-Up to any higher-performing card available on the Step-Up list. With this change, some cards will no longer be eligible to be used to Step-Up to another card, and each GPU/Series is limited by how high it can Step-Up," says the EVGA support page.

If you applied and joined EVGA's Step-Up Program ahead of January, you are in luck, as the old rules will apply to you and your GPU ambitions. If you join up today, having purchased a GTX 1660, your Step-Up upgrade will be limited to a pick from the GeForce RTX 20-series. Those already sitting on an RTX 30-series GPU have much better choices.

EVGA's bean counters have been quite busy jiggling around warranty pricing as well. With GPUs so tricky to get hold of nowadays, it is understandable that many a customer will pay for an extended warranty to make sure they are covered with a capable and agile GPU for the next five or more years. The trouble is, they are going up in price by large percentages across the board. Additionally, the old 10-year warranty is being replaced by a new and much pricier seven-year warranty.


MSRP | Warranty

5 Year

New 5 Year

10 Year

New 7 Year

Under $200

$10

$16

$20

$24

Under $300

$15

$24

$30

$36

Under $400

$20

$32

$40

$48

Under $500

$25

$40

$50

$60

Under $800

$30

$64

$60

$96

Under $1000

$30

$80

$60

$120

Under $1500

$30

$120

$60

$180

$1500 and over

$30

$160

$60

$240

Considering the base five-year warranty extension level, above you can see the new warranties cost 60% more on hardware between $0 and $500. Then it rapidly gets worse, with products priced $1,500 or more seeing extended warranty costs rocket by up to 433%. You can also see the old 10-year and new seven-year warranty costs compared above.

On the surface, these extended warranty price rises might simply be seen as another way for GPU vendors to make hay in the restricted and uncompetitive GPU market we are living in. However, it could be a more worrying sign that EVGA isn't as confident in its product quality as it used to be. One only has to look at the recent tale of the dead GeForce RTX 3090s, precipitated by poor soldering, for this sad spectre to loom large. A year earlier, a run of expensive GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards were found to be crashing due to basic component choices.

Whether this will push some potential buyers away from EVGA cards is unclear. After all, GPU prices remain horrible and finding any reasonable GPU in stock can be difficult. But when the current supply problems eventually get sorted out, EVGA may lose some of its enthusiast support due to these adjustments.