For the first time in what seems like forever, graphics card prices are starting to drop, sometimes even hitting the same zip code as their MSRP. But even in the best of times, it’s not always clear if this is the best time to buy a new GPU. So should you take the plunge while prices are falling, or wait for the next generation? Check out one of our latest YouTube videos to find out!
As PCWorld contributor Keith May points out, the current generation of GPU technology from Nvidia and AMD (RTX 3000 and RX 6000, respectively) is roughly two years old. in a market that there was not has been drastically affected by global chip shortages, cryptocurrency miners, and the influx of unscrupulous resellers, prices would be drastically lower as manufacturers prepare for the influx of new hardware. Instead, we are exhausted and happy to see them just getting closer to the prices they were at before the pandemic.
So the current situation is still less than ideal. That would seem to indicate that it’s smart to wait, right? If you wait until the next-gen releases for Nvidia and AMD, you’ll have a choice between the newest cards or (possibly) deals on current stock. That’s true, but if you’ve been hanging on for two years (or three, four or five!), another six months can be a never-ending wait. If you have the cash right now and you’re tired of waiting, you’d better go for it. After all, it could still be a year from launch before the new series’ affordable mid-range cards are actually available.
But now, as always, prudence is better if it’s an option. Not only do the usual “wait and see” rules apply, but a once-in-a-lifetime milestone is approaching. Intel is poised to enter the discrete desktop GPU market before the end of Q2 2022, attempting to end a decades-old duopoly. While initial card models and stock are likely to be low, there’s simply no way to predict how that variable will affect the market as new Nvidia and AMD cards go on sale later this year.
If “maybe” seems like an unsatisfactory answer to the question, at least it’s familiar. PC gamers have been pondering pretty much the same thing for as long as PC gaming has existed. If you want to commiserate with us, be sure to subscribe to the PCWorld YouTube channel!