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GPU Prices, January 2022

Our GPU price index tracks all the best graphics cards and the latest additions to our GPU benchmarks hierarchy. This is the bi-weekly update (give or take) for the middle part of July. Thanks to the drop in Ethereum mining profitability and China's crackdown on large-scale mining operations, GPU prices continue to trend downward, though the rate of decline is decreasing.

It's not all good news, either (maybe). The total number of units sold for the various GPUs decreased on nearly every GPU, the exceptions being the RTX 3060 Ti and RX 6700 XT. But modest increases for those two can't offset the reduced numbers everywhere else, and compared to the start of the month in our last update, about 700 fewer cards were sold on eBay. But maybe that just means the profitability of trying to scalp on eBay has dropped, and that's why unit sales are down? After all, Best Buy did in-person store sales at a lot of locations earlier this week.

All of the GPUs averaged lower prices during the past two weeks than in the previous period, but in most cases the difference was relatively small — the average decrease in price was 3.6%. Interestingly, the two cards that showed the greatest decline in prices also happen to be the cards that showed increases in number of GPUs sold. The RTX 3060 Ti average price was down 9.3%, falling below $1,000 for the first time in ages, and the RX 6700 XT price dropped 5.6%. If you don't care about ray tracing or DLSS, the RX 6700 XT remains by far the best bang for the buck, as it generally outperforms the 3060 Ti while costing over $250 less.

As we've noted before, using eBay for this price tracking does have a lot of caveats. The fact that Nvidia has now released LHR (Lite Hash Rate) versions of all GPUs other than the RTX 3090 (and discontinued the non-LHR models), combined with the drop in mining profitability, means miners are unlikely to pay exorbitant prices. Which means everyone trying to turn a profit on eBay might end up disappointed. Let's hope so, though the scalpers appear to have moved on to Steam Deck pre-orders now.

The RTX 3070 Ti pricing in particular stands out as a bit odd. We weren't massively impressed with the performance, efficiency, and price, but it's still a faster card than the RTX 3070 — for gaming, anyway. The fact that it averaged only 3% higher prices on eBay suggests the people buying GPUs are still primarily motivated by mining. That would also explain the $600 price premium for the 3090 over the 3080 Ti, as it's barely faster in games buy nearly doubles the Ethereum hashing speed.

With the now lower prices, the average markup across all GPUs has slipped below 2.0x (it's 1.9x), but AMD's GPUs are still clearly the better buy in terms of value. Nvidia's RTX 3080 and RTX 3060 Ti remain the worst deals, at least when comparing eBay pricing to MSRPs. Actually, about half of the Nvidia cards are still over twice the MSRP, while none of the AMD cards are more than twice the MSRP. AMD also sold a larger portion of the eBay pot this round, 14.8% of the total compared to 12.6% for the last update.

Clearly, there's still a long way to go before we're back to normal pricing, and we can only recommend potential buyers continue to wait. We could probably condone paying 20% more than MSRP, for people that really want to upgrade or need a new GPU, but paying 50% to 150% above the MSRP is simply too much, even if the MSRPs are red herrings.

Weekly Summary: Deploy the Parachute

GPU Price Index: deploy the parachute on a Mars rover

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The excitement over falling GPU prices was perhaps a bit premature in our last update. They're no longer in freefall, having deployed a parachute to slow things down. We figured that would happen, but it's still disheartening. Then again, one of our members managed to snag an RTX 3060 Ti in the UK at MSRP, and European prices in general seem to be far better than what we're seeing in the US. Let's hope we can catch up in the coming weeks.

Online retail inventory for the US also remains incredibly limited. None of the cards that are in stock on Newegg, Amazon, or other sites are even close to MSRP, and some smaller online sites now actually have worse prices than eBay. Sure, you'd be getting a new card, but no one should be spending $1,000 for an RX 6700 XT or $2,000+ for an RX 6900 XT. Again, wait until the card you want actually has a reasonable price before picking it up.

We'll be back in a few more weeks to see if the current trends continue. In the meantime, flip to the next page for a look at historical charts and data.

Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He 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.