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The GPU Price Index: Still Trending Down

With the drop in Ethereum mining profitability and China's crackdown on large-scale mining operations, the downward trend that started last month has picked up speed. Yes, GPUs are still severely overpriced on eBay, but overall prices dropped over 15% during the past month.

That's the good news. The bad news is that actual GPU availability, in terms of number of units sold, also dropped on many of the cards. There's almost certainly a link between price and units sold on eBay, however. People with a GPU are less likely to flip it if the potential gains from doing so aren't particularly large. With most retail outlets still charging far more than the 'official' MSRPs, that eats into the margins as well. After eBay takes its 14% pound of flesh, anyone hoping to turn a reasonable profit would likely need to sell a card for 30% or more above its initial purchase price, and if buyers aren't willing to pay that, the cards won't sell.

Here's how things looked for the last part of June 2021 and the first week of July. (We stick with a two week period so that comparisons on price and units sold are equal, though admittedly July 4 may have skewed things a bit.)

Graphics CardAvg eBay PriceQTY Sold
GeForce RTX 3090$2,580400
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti$1,945266
GeForce RTX 3080$1,685807
GeForce RTX 3070 Ti$1,104185
GeForce RTX 3070$1,0811078
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti$1,081206
GeForce RTX 3060 12GB$742784
Radeon RX 6900 XT$1,55994
Radeon RX 6800 XT$1,30456
Radeon RX 6800$1,052114
Radeon RX 6700 XT$769272

Prices are still well above what we'd recommend paying, but a 15% dip across most of the current generation GPU stack makes for some welcome news. The RTX 3080 dropped to under $1,700 for the first time since late 2020, and both the RTX 3060 12GB and RX 6700 XT are close to $750. Of course, those are theoretically $330 and $480 parts, but we're at least getting closer to reasonable prices.

The data on the latest RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3070 Ti cards isn't quite as useful as the others, since they launched during the previous update. Still, quantities sold isn't going in the right direction (up). In early June, we counted nearly 4,483 Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs sold on eBay. Late June and early July meanwhile show total sales of just 3,726 30-series cards. With the Ti models going into full production, units sold should have gone up, though as noted above, dropping prices mean people are less likely to try flipping a card on eBay.

AMD's figures tell a similar story. Early June had 658 RX 6000-series GPUs sold on eBay, while in late June and early July the total was 536. RX 6900 XT and RX 6800 sales were relatively flat, but RX 6700 XT units sold was down 10%, and RX 6800 XT sales plummeted by 63%. Still, the bigger story is the drop in prices.

Last month, the average markup across the 11 latest-gen GPUs was 2.3x. Now, the average markup dropped to 2.0x, with plenty of cards now selling for 'only' 60% above their MSRP. If you're looking at that as a sign of reasonable pricing, the RTX 3080 Ti, RX 6900 XT, and RX 6700 XT are the three cards closest to MSRP. That's partly because two of those are overpriced to begin with, but the RX 6700 XT is easily the best bang for the buck when looking at eBay prices. The RTX 3090, RTX 3070 Ti, and RX 6800 are also below the 2.0x markup now.

How long will it take to get graphics card prices down to MSRP levels? Depending on the GPU, three to five more months of price drops like these would get us there, though we suspect the rate of decline will start to slow the closer we get to MSRP. With component shortages still plaguing much of the tech industry, we won't see 'normal' pricing until 2022 at best, and some are even suggesting 2023 before we're fully recovered from the impacts of the Covid pandemic. By that time, we should have Nvidia's next-gen Lovelace and AMD's RDNA3 parts.

Nvidia outsold AMD on eBay by a factor of 7.0 to 1 for this update, indicating Nvidia has substantially more cards available. But dropping prices mean the total dollar value of GPUs purchased off eBay (Ampere vs. RDNA2) favored Nvidia by a 9.3 to 1 ratio, slightly lower than last month. The RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3060 continue to be Nvidia's top sellers, while AMD's RX 6700 XT now accounts for slightly less than half of all RX 6000-series cards sold.

Weekly Summary: Taking the Down Escalator

GPU pricing index: taking the down escalator

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You know the old saying: What goes up must come down. We knew GPU prices would eventually drop, and the past month brought some welcome progress on that front. Unfortunately, we've still got a long way to go, and prices of GPUs on eBay isn't quite the same as buying a new GPU from the likes of Amazon, B&H, Newegg, or other retail outlets. A quick search of those sites indicates all reasonably fast graphics cards are still out of stock, and given the number of times I haven't been selected on the Newegg Shuffle, supply remains a major problem.

Assuming current trends continue, we might actually see some reasonably priced graphics cards in stock before the end of the year. Maybe — all it would take is another swing in crypto prices and we could end up back at square one. Predicting where Bitcoin and Ethereum will go next is like guessing which way the rubber ball will bounce on an uneven surface.

In short, we continue to advise potential GPU buyers to be patient. All the mining farms shutting down in China may result in a flood of used GPUs hitting the market. While we'd normally advise against buying a GPU that may have been used for 24/7 mining, if the price is right and you know the risks (i.e., you're willing to dismantle a card to put on new thermal pads and thermal paste), it might be worth considering. Just be sure to purchase via a storefront that allows returns and refunds.

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

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.