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What GPU to Buy if You Can't Afford Nvidia's Ada or Wait for AMD's RNDA3

XFX Radeon RX 6600 Speedster Swift
(Image credit: XFX)

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.

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.

  • lmcnabney
    Simple.

    A PS5 or X Box Series X

    Both of those consoles are running modern AAA titles at 4K120 and cost 1/3 what a GPU costs that may or may not be able to do 4K120.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    What the death of Moore's law means for consumers is that the new product may not be much better than the old product. This is a large change in the way the PC market works.

    But it is the way most of the world's economy works and shouldn't be that hard to get used to.
    Reply
  • colossusrage
    lmcnabney said:
    Simple.

    A PS5 or X Box Series X

    Both of those consoles are running modern AAA titles at 4K120 and cost 1/3 what a GPU costs that may or may not be able to do 4K120.
    What reality are you living in? There's a handful of AAA titles that can do 120fps on consoles and I'm certain none of them reach 4K resolution.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    lmcnabney said:
    Simple.

    A PS5 or X Box Series X

    Both of those consoles are running modern AAA titles at 4K120 and cost 1/3 what a GPU costs that may or may not be able to do 4K120.
    Neither one of those consoles can actually run any real game at anywhere close to 4k120.
    Not that it matters, because I would argue that neither console actually has any "modern AAA titles" yet. At least not anything that wasn't a buggy, artless, macro-transaction subscription nightmare.
    Reply
  • lmcnabney
    Giroro said:
    Neither one of those consoles can actually run any real game at anywhere close to 4k120.
    Not that it matters, because I would argue that neither console actually has any "modern AAA titles" yet. At least not anything that wasn't a buggy, artless, macro-transaction subscription nightmare.

    Demon Souls looks amazing at 4K120 on the PS5. I think you have to turn on Performance Mode for 120 to be available, otherwise it only shows 60 in Fidelity. The image quality looks the same, but the smoothness was a huge leap forward.
    Reply
  • KevBacon
    lmcnabney said:
    Simple.

    A PS5 or X Box Series X

    Both of those consoles are running modern AAA titles at 4K120 and cost 1/3 what a GPU costs that may or may not be able to do 4K120.
    They claim to be up to 4K120, which we all know is only achieved on the boot screen.
    Reply
  • 2+2
    lmcnabney said:
    Simple.

    A PS5 or X Box Series X

    Both of those consoles are running modern AAA titles at 4K120 and cost 1/3 what a GPU costs that may or may not be able to do 4K120.
    Exactly what I did last Christmas.
    Then, this spring I got a laptop with a 3070 for $1200.
    I am in no hurry to get a $2500 desktop that uses 4 times the power.
    I can wait till Intel's 13 gen CPU and AMD's next GPU,
    especially when the coming recession is going to make things cheaper.
    Reply
  • TesseractOrion
    2+2 said:
    the coming recession is going to make things cheaper.

    Not sure how you came up with that idea.

    Inflation, high interest rates & continuing supply constraints are going to make things far more expensive in general .
    Reply
  • 2+2
    The Fed is raising rates to Slow the economy, to reduce inflation.
    They will make our current technical recession more of a reality.
    AMD and Nvidia stocks are getting hammered because
    PC sales are way down and are going lower
    and enterprise sales are going down.
    Just look at the sales on Newegg, PCs are already being discounted.
    AMD and Nvidia will after the initial release of their next gens get in a discount war.
    Wait for it, if you care to save money.
    Reply
  • Ogotai
    lmcnabney said:
    Simple.

    A PS5 or X Box Series X
    not so simple, when like me, between them, there might be 5 games i would want to play, maybe. i cant justify the cost of either when there are just not enough games i would play on them. where my comp, there are easily 10+ games i would play. even some games i havent played all that much yet.
    Reply