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The GPU Price Index: Same Old Story

Our GPU pricing index tracks all the best graphics cards and pretty much everything else in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy. Here are the charts for Feb 25–Mar 3, 2021 (with partial data from Mar 4). We've gathered data on 52 different GPUs, which we'll organize into groups based on the GPU generations. The text and content below here remains untouched since March 4 and is provided for historical reference.

Ampere and RDNA2 Graphics Cards

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GPU pricing index, Feb 25 – Mar 03, 2021

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The latest generation graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia see the most demand, from gamers and miners alike. More people want the 'best' option available, and shiny new hardware tends to meet that requirement more than dusty cards from yesteryear. With retail supplies still limited, everything continues to sell for far above the official launch prices.

There's good news in that most of the Nvidia Ampere GPUs appear to be trending downward over the past week. Only RTX 3090 shows a slight upward trend (basically flat), while the others now have projected dates for when they might be back to MSRP. Yes, the projected dates are mostly useless since they're just based on a simple linear trendline, and so many other things can and will likely influence the rate of change. The RTX 3080 projection, for example, says 2031, so I guess by then, it will be selling at higher prices because it's an antique?

Meanwhile, AMD's Big Navi GPUs still have a slight upward slope across the board. That's either because there's more demand for the cards or — more likely — due to the more limited availability. In total, there were 131 RDNA2 cards 'sold' on eBay during the past week, compared to 1,954 Ampere cards. Nvidia's RTX 3070 continues to outsell all other cards by a factor of 3X more, though the new RTX 3060 12GB did brisk sales as well, considering it just launched and has crippled Ethereum mining performance.

Turing and RDNA1 Graphics Cards

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GPU pricing index, Feb 25 – Mar 03, 2021

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Stepping back one generation, the Turing and RDNA1 cards mostly launched in 2018 and 2019, with a few updates and additions in early 2020. Prices continue to be severely inflated on these cards, though it's good to see that, as above, nearly every Nvidia Turing GPU shows a downward trend (the 1660 Ti, 2080 Super, and 2080 Ti are the exceptions). Most of the prices show a very strong correlation with Ethereum mining performance, though even the GTX 1650 and 1650 Super (which aren't good mining options) are still priced far above MSRP.

AMD's RDNA1 cards likewise show many trending downward in price this past week. The 5500 XT 4GB and RX 5700 are the exceptions, neither of which shows much in the way of volume. AMD's RX 5700 XT and RX 5600 XT continue to be relatively popular GPUs on eBay — again, remembering that these stats aren't perfect and it's impossible to say if every one truly represents a sale, or if some are just eBay cruft. (Many show "auction ended by seller," which can mean a variety of things.)

Compared to Ampere and RDNA2, AMD's volumes are quite a bit closer with RDNA1 vs. Turing RTX. There were 686 Turing RTX cards, 484 RDA1 cards, and 626 Turing GTX sold. And the median price on all of these cards remains very high, with the 5700 XT selling at over twice its launch price.

Pascal, Vega, and Polaris Graphics Cards

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Even with cards that mostly launched three or four years back, prices remain high. They're much closer to launch MSRP, but after three or four years, we'd normally see these selling at around half the MSRPs.

The GTX 1050 and 1060 3GB come close to MSRP, probably because both are poor mining cards and aren't super desirable from a gaming standpoint. If you can live without 4GB VRAM, though, the 1060 3GB is still decent at 1080p medium settings. The remaining Pascal-era GPUs aren't nearly as desirable in terms of eBay price vs. performance. Interestingly, several of these older cards are also trending up in price still, though the most popular models (1060 6GB, 1070, and 1080 Ti) are all on the downward slope.

AMD's Polaris and Vega cards seem to have peaked as well, with the Radeon VII and RX 570 4GB being the only exceptions (and the VII hardly counts with only 28 sold in the past week). That doesn't mean any of these cards are a 'good' deal, but maybe they might get back to their original launch prices in a few more weeks. The RX 570 4GB is arguably the best 'deal' right now for AMD, especially if you need a modest card to tide you over until prices return to normal. It's not a fast card by any means, but it's fully capable of playing games at 1080p and medium to high settings. Cards with 8GB VRAM cost substantially more since Ethereum mining now requires over 4GB to be viable.

Legacy GPUs and Titans

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Last, we've lumped together some legacy GPUs along with Nvidia's four most recent Titan cards — the latter mostly being to satisfy our own curiosity. Starting with the Titans, as you'd expect the volume of sales is extremely small: 44 total sales, more than half of these being the old Titan X (which includes both Titan X Pascal and Titan X Maxwell variants, so it gets perhaps double the hits). I do appreciate the two Titan V sales, which happened on the same day, and that killed the trendline and other charting options. Anyway, Titan V is technically the fourth-fastest Ethereum mining GPU, behind the RTX 3090, RTX 3080, and Radeon VII — it can do around 80MH/s while using 160W, give or take.

Nvidia's Maxwell series (we didn't search for anything below the 970) is another old but reasonable gaming option, provided you're aiming for 1080p and medium or maybe high settings in most games. The 970 can't do 60 fps in the latest titles, but it's still fast enough to be playable, and at around $200 it's one of the best options to tide you over. GTX 980 and 980 Ti prices trended upward, which is a bit odd considering their age and features, though the 980 Ti isn't too far behind the 1070 in gaming performance these days.

The volume of AMD cards sold from the R9 era is very limited, and the cards were generally power hungry. With 8GB VRAM, the 390 and 390X also suffer from increased mining demand, so the R9 Fury is arguably a better buy — it's usually the faster gaming card, and priced about the same as the old Hawaii architecture cards. We didn't try to separate out the Fury vs. Fury X sales, though it appears only one of the cards was a standard Fury.

Weekly Summary: Have We Passed the Summit?

Did we pass the peak on GPU prices?

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Anyone who has tried to buy a new graphics card in the past six months knows how difficult things have been. It started out bad, thanks to the pandemic, and the surge in Bitcoin and Ethereum prices made a bad situation that much worse. The good news: We have (maybe) reached the peak in mining profitability.

Looking at the various mining calculators — which tend to be a bit too favorable on actual profitability, in my view — daily potential profits have dropped off substantially in the past week. Part of that comes from a drop in Bitcoin and Ethereum prices. Bitcoin peaked at over $58,000 and now sits at $49,400, with a low of $43,500 during the past week. Ethereum likewise fell from a high of over $2,000 to a current price of just under $1,600, and the lowest price in the past week was $1,300. That showcases yet again the volatility of cryptocurrencies, and buying a GPU or ASIC today for mining purposes seems foolhardy.

Of course, things could swing the other way just as quickly, and other shortages are expected to continue throughout 2021. Even if mining trails off, we don't anticipate graphics cards selling at the AMD and Nvidia 'recommended' prices any time soon. Still, a 25–30 percent price premium feels almost desirable at this point in time. That's probably the new norm we're heading toward for the rest of the year.  

Jarred Walton

Jarred Walton's (Senior Editor) love of computers dates back to the dark ages, when his dad brought home a DOS 2.3 PC and he left his C-64 behind. He eventually built his first custom PC in 1990 with a 286 12MHz, only to discover it was already woefully outdated when Wing Commander released a few months later. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

  • Kridian
    "The most desirable cards are now selling for close to triple their official launch prices."And THAT my friends, is why we don't buy sh*t on eBay (aka: Scalper's Haven).
    Reply
  • exploding_psu
    Me blindly buying a second-hand Vega 56 above MSRP years ago didn't look so bad now
    Reply
  • Sat32
    This scalping <Mod Edit> needs to end and Nvidia, ASUS, EVGA, MSI, Sony could stop this if they wanted to in a second.
    Years ago I ended up with a DVD exercise program P90 I think, since I didn't want it I listed it on ebay took about 15 minutes for the add to be pulled for copyright infringement.
    I wasn't a authorized dealers and P90 was there copyrighted trademark like Nvidia, ASUS, EVGA, MSI, Sony are all copyrighted trademarks so they do have the ability to stop this.
    People should be able to sell there stuff on ebay and make money but not in this way sucking everything up from every retailer amplifying the shortages for there own benefit.
    Nvidia could simply ask for every add that uses there copyrighted trademarks more then 10% above MSRP pulled down the scalping and bots would disappear overnight.
    Reply
  • ThisIsMe
    Only eBay can stop this in a heartbeat. All they have to do is ban people from selling new graphics cards or game consoles or whatever for 6 months. That’s it. People need to wise up and boycott eBay altogether until they wise up.
    Reply
  • excalibur1814
    You know what else needs to stop, on eBay? 0 feedback accounts.

    I've been watching Nikon Z6 auctions for over a month and EVERY single one is bid up to around £850. EVERY. Single.One. All tech item prices are seemingly being inflated and that benefits oems, eBay and share holders. It's annoying. It's obvious. It's so obvious, yet most threads are full of people shouting that it isn't an issue and that there's nothing going on.

    Yeah, okay.
    Reply
  • LolaGT
    It used to be really easy to track on auction sites with a little detective work.
    It has been many years now since ebay hid the bidding IDs so it was almost impossible to confirm it, and of course now that you can't see the obvious, it doesn't happen as far as ebay is concerned.


    Shill bidding in auctions is the deliberate placing bids on the seller's behalf to artificially drive up the price of his auctioned item. Shill bidding has been known to occur in auctions of high-value items like art and antiques where bidders' valuations differ and the seller's payoff from fraud is high.
    Reply
  • Clarence_Darrow
    ThisIsMe said:
    Only eBay can stop this in a heartbeat. All they have to do is ban people from selling new graphics cards or game consoles or whatever for 6 months. That’s it. People need to wise up and boycott eBay altogether until they wise up.

    Ebay makes far too much money to ever do this willingly.
    Reply
  • daworstplaya
    Clarence_Darrow said:
    Ebay makes far too much money to ever do this willingly.

    ^This!
    Honestly in this climate MS and Sony should just stop selling their consoles for a loss and sell the consoles for a higher price themselves and keep the profits vs allowing these low life scalpers (aka leeches) to make a quick buck.

    GPUs are a different story though, what needs to happen is for all the Cryptocurrency servers to be shut down in China and where ever else they are currently running. Kill Crypto and this whole thing goes away. There is absolutely no reason from Crypto currency ponzi scheme to exist.
    Reply
  • blacknemesist
    At least mining is getting diminished returns, hopefully it keeps dropping more and more and not only do they stop buying they will need to sell them to cut their losses.
    I would be happy if all gamers boycotted the 3xxx series just to let crypto crappers suffer all the losses but that isn't going to happen,
    Reply
  • Sat32
    Ebay is making money off the scalpers there is no reason for them to stop it. On the other hand Nvidia and it's vendors are dealing with pissed off customers and losing sales with tie in sales. I suggested a solution to this issue one call from one of Nvidia's lawyers letting ebay, stock-x, Facebook market place know if there products are sold on there sites all sellers will need to be authorized resellers. or they can expect legal action seeking damages for copyright infringment
    Reply