The wait for next-gen GPUs is finally ending—sort of. Nvidia’s RTX 4090 and RTXs 4080s were announced this week. And while the performance looks impressive (particularly for the RTX 4090), prices for the cards start at $899 for the cut-down 4080. Combine that with the GPU crypto-mining market continuing to implode after last week’s Ethereum merge, the general consensus is that Nvidia’s latest flagship GPUs cost too damn much, at least for the vast majority of PC gamers.
AMD, meanwhile, will reveal much more about its next-gen RX 7000 RDNA 3 cards on November 3. And the company’s chiplet design likely means its new GPUs are much more affordable to manufacture than Nvidia’s offerings. But don’t expect AMD to pass the bulk of those savings off to consumers. Team Red has investors to please, just like Nvidia. Still, AMD’s new cards could put some serious pressure on Nvidia, and we don't expect new mid-range or below cards from AMD anytime soon, either.
So what if you have been holding off buying a new GPU that costs $500 or less? The sage advice is to simply wait as long as you can. While that proved to be a terrible idea back in 2020, thanks to the pandemic, all current indications are that we won't see a repeat of that sort of market this fall. If you see a card on sale for a price that's particularly attractive, go ahead and buy it, though we suspect this year's Black Friday will finally give us some real deals on graphics cards. That will be a nice change of pace from the past two years.
Black Friday is still two months out, however, and perhaps you can't wait that long. If you want something today, we'd look at the value end of the spectrum. As we opined recently, don't pay more than $500 for a graphics card right now — and closer to $200 would be a much better idea.
The two best options for AMD and Nvidia, respectively, are the Radeon RX 6600 (opens in new tab) and the GeForce RTX 2060 (opens in new tab). AMD's card is typically around 20% faster in traditional gaming performance, while Nvidia's card is about 20% faster in ray tracing games and supports all the RTX features like DLSS — though not DLSS 3, which requires an RTX 40-series GPU.
If you want something more potent, note that GPU prices continue to fall at a rapid pace. At the start of this month, the RTX 3080 10GB was going for $740, and deals are routinely popping up where you can get such a card for under $700. Given the new GPUs slated to launch soon, I suspect we'll see 3080 going for $500 by Black Friday.
We're still waiting for full details on AMD's RDNA 3 lineup as well, and the design decisions AMD made — specifically with GPU chiplets — should result in lower prices that Nvidia can't possibly match. AMD may not take the outright performance crown, but if it can come close while undercutting Nvidia's prices, it might not matter. Add to that Intel's Arc A770 and A750, which could launch in the near future as well, and there are plenty of reasons to expect prices to shift downward.