Update: In addition to the below, read our latest piece on factors affecting GPU prices and supply in 2021.
How long will the great graphics card shortage continue? Recent price drops in Europe may give us all hope.
3DCenter has reported that retail prices of Nvidia’s 30 Series GPUs (including the RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070, RTX 3070 Ti, RTX 3080, and RTX 3080 Ti) in Germany and Austria have fallen from a peak of 304% of their MSRP in mid-May 2021 to (a still expensive) 191% MSRP towards the end of June 2021.
The prices of AMD’s RX 6000 series however have not come down much – falling from a peak of 214% MSRP back near the beginning of May to 177% by the end of that month, but then rising slightly again to 181% MSRP by late June – overall showing a relatively horizontal price trend since mid-March 2021.
Why Have GeForce 30 Series Prices Fallen But AMD's Haven't?
The first thing to bear in mind is that the overall the retail price inflation of Nvidia’s GeForce series has been substantially greater than that of AMD’s Radeon series. As you can see from the graph, the GeForce 30 series graphics cards reached a peak of around three times their MSRP, whereas AMD’s only hit around two times. As a result, Nvidia’s graphics card prices in retail stores have deviated further from the norm so it makes sense that they would be the first to fall back down.
Nvidia are generally the more trusted brand when it comes to graphics cards, but beyond this their popularity has been driven up by cryptocurrency miners, who favor their cards over AMD’s, therefore driving up the price. Recent drops in Bitcoin & Ethereum markets may have reduced demand for Nvidia graphics cards from retailers, leading to price drops. The bigger reason is probably however the LHR or Lite Hash Rate technology that Nvidia have incorporated into their latest GeForce 30 series SKUs, which aims to lock out cryptocurrency mining, so giving actual gamers a chance to buy the GPUs without miners hoovering them all up first!
Will GPU Price Drops Continue?
The first thing to bear in mind is that the data shown above only applies to the Austrian and German retail markets and does not necessarily reflect graphics card availability in other countries (though chances are it is a good indicator).
Secondly, there’s no guarantee that the fall in GPU prices will continue necessarily – we could see the GPUs from both manufacturers hover around the MSRP + 80-90% mark for a good long while yet. Our personal opinion is that inflated retail prices will probably continue for the next year, and we’ll probably see another slight rise upward in MSRP to meet them – leading to some of the higher prices being permanently ‘baked in’. The fact is that Nvidia and AMD basically have a duopoly on the market, and both have an interest in maintaining higher prices on what is a very sought after product by not undercutting each other too much, too fast.
Still, any news on graphics card price drops is good news!
You can read the full 3DCenter report here, though bear in mind that you’ll need to translate the page from German (assuming you don’t speak it of course).
Also, check out our latest piece on GPU price drops in China and NVidia’s attempts to bolster the supply of its 30 series GPUs.