Graphics card prices have come down significantly since the start of the year when the mining craze was in fully swing. It was around May that everything started to settle, and then by July most GPUs were at their MSRP, something that we had not seen for almost 9 months.
Today, we're once again doing a deep dive on graphics card pricing to provide you with the best value buys on the market right now. This is the third report we have compiled this year. We’re now in early Q4 and graphics card manufacturers are facing a different challenge that could affect pricing, at least in the United States: the import tariffs implemented by Donald Trump.
The first set of 10% tariffs were implemented on October 1st, and that’s set to rise to 25% on January 1st, 2019. We're about two weeks in October with the tariffs in place, and the GPU market hasn’t been affected yet. We've been keeping a close eye on prices around the tariff introduction date and so far the price of graphics cards has stayed much the same or even gone down in some cases.
We say “yet” because most manufacturers would have imported and stored plenty of stock before the tariffs came into effect, certainly enough to last two weeks. We’re still expecting prices to rise before the end of the year and that’s something we’ll keep looking into over the coming weeks.
|GeForce GTX 1050 Ti||$ 140||$ 190||$ 170||$ 170|
|GeForce GTX 1060 3GB||$ 200||$ 230||$ 230||$ 220|
|GeForce GTX 1060 6GB||$ 250||$ 300||$ 290||$ 250|
|GeForce GTX 1070||$ 380||$ 470||$ 400||$ 380|
|GeForce GTX 1070 Ti||$ 450||$ 500||$ 450||$ 390|
|GeForce GTX 1080||$ 500||$ 550||$ 500||$ 450|
|GeForce GTX 1080 Ti||$ 700||$ 900||$ 720||$ 700|
|GeForce RTX 2070||$ 500||N/A||N/A||$ 600|
|GeForce RTX 2080||$ 700||N/A||N/A||$ 790|
|GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||$ 1,000||N/A||N/A||$ 1,200|
|Radeon RX 560 16CU||$ 100||$ 140||$ 150||$ 140|
|Radeon RX 570||$ 170||$ 260||$ 240||$ 160|
|Radeon RX 580 8GB||$ 230||$ 300||$ 270||$ 240|
|Radeon RX Vega 56||$ 400||$ 600||$ 480||$ 400|
|Radeon RX Vega 64||$ 500||$ 700||$ 580||$ 480|
Let’s take a look at how GPUs are priced right now, starting with mid-range offerings. This time instead of using typical sales pricing, all the data above corresponds to the lowest available price on either Amazon or Newegg. So the most affordable available card in May, in July, and the cheapest in October. Typical pricing ranges from this minimum value, to around $20 or $30 more in most cases.
Lower-mid range cards like the 1050 Ti and RX 560 are still sitting well above the MSRP, and that’s largely down to higher memory prices compared to when these cards were released. The 1050 Ti is 21% more expensive and the RX 560 40% more expensive, although the RX 560 has come down in price slightly compared to July. Neither of these cards will be seen at their MSRP again, so what we’re seeing today is likely the cheapest they’ll get.
As for AMD and Nvidia’s most popular GPUs, the GTX 1060 6GB is finally back down to the MSRP having dropped in price by 14% compared to July, while the 1060 3GB is a bit inflated. In July we recommended the 1060 3GB as the best value mid-range card on the market, so perhaps consumers have noticed this value and are continuing to buy the card. Meanwhile on the AMD front, the RX 570 is an absolute steal at the moment, retailing for just $160, lower than its launch price, having dropped 33% in price since July. The RX 580 has also come down by 11%, now retailing for only slightly above its launch price.
Moving into the higher end cards, and what we have today are three more cards at their MSRP: the GTX 1070, down 5% from its July price, the GTX 1080 Ti, down 3%, and Vega 56, down a huge 17%. But the even better news is the rest of the non-RTX cards, which are all selling below their MSRP at the moment.
The biggest discount is the GTX 1070 Ti, which is currently available 13% below its MSRP and just $10 more than the GTX 1070. The GTX 1080 is also sitting 10% below its MSRP. Both cards were sitting at their MSRP in July, but with an oversupply and RTX cards now on the market, prices are looking pretty good for these GPUs. And then on the AMD side, Vega 64 has seen a huge 17% drop in price since July, now sitting 4% below the MSRP for the cheapest model.
And when you look at the prices for some of these cards in May, there have been massive price cuts. Vega 64 and the GTX 1080 Ti were both selling for $200 over the MSRP just five months ago, while AMD’s mid-range cards like the RX 580 were still suffering from the tail end of the mining craze. Today, it’s a much more attractive market for PC builders.
Of course, the recently released RTX cards are still selling for well over the MSRP, and the RTX 2080 Ti in particular is out of stock. I wonder how long it will take for these GPUs to hit their AIB MSRPs, which are $100-200 less than current prices, with most manufacturers choosing to use Founders Edition pricing instead.
And while pricing does look okay at the moment compared to previous months for a lot of these graphics cards, it’s still worth mentioning that most of these products have been on the market for at least a year, or in some cases over two years for a GPU like the GTX 1080. The fact that some of these cards are only now selling for below their launch price is pretty crazy, they should be well under the MSRP at this point, but the market has been so horrendous and competition so lackluster that we’ve been stuck with high prices for a long time.
So with all that pricing info in mind, let’s explore which cards are the best value today...
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a game we’ve most recently benchmarked all these GPUs in, so we can get some nice data. We’re using 1440p using the "Very High" graphics setting. When you look at the cost per frame breakdown, it’s no surprise seeing more mid-range cards at the top of the charts.
The RX 570 is the standout value champion here, followed by the GTX 1060 6GB just a little bit behind. As far as 1440p class cards are concerned, the GTX 1070 Ti is the champion here, just edging out the GTX 1070, and both are better value than Vega 56 in this title. If you want to play at 4K, your options are limited to the 1080 Ti or poor value RTX cards. The interesting thing about this title is Nvidia cards gain a bit in terms of value when looking at 1% lows compared to averages, though the general rankings remain similar.
The other title we’ve recently benchmarked is Forza Horizon 4, which is much better optimized across a range of GPUs and runs better on AMD cards. Here the standout value champion is again the RX 570, though the RX 580 is also excellent for playing at 1440p with Ultra settings. We’re also seeing Vega 56 beat the 1070 to 1080 in terms of value, while the 1080 Ti is the best option for 4K high refresh gaming.
It’s an interesting turn of events, because back in July we were talking about the RX 580 being roughly level with the GTX 1060 3GB in terms of value, with the GTX 1060 6GB not far behind, and the RX 570 not as competitive. But today, as far as these mid-range cards are concerned, the RX 570 is the clear value champion at just $160, while the GTX 1060 6GB is better value than the 3GB model and it trades blows with the RX 580.
Let’s focus in more on the higher end of the market, with cards suited to 1440p gaming and up. Here we can switch to using a 20 game average because we happen to have that data on hand for the upper end cards, you can thank the RTX launch for that. If you’re interested in the exact 20 games we used and the performance breakdown of each card, check out our RTX 2070 review.
In Steve’s review of the RTX 2070 he used typical retail prices when discussing value, but we’re going to dial down here and discuss minimum pricing as we’ve been doing so far, because we’re assuming you guys are bargain hunters or something like that. Using minimums does change the conversation slightly, so let’s take a look at the data.
Using current pricing and our 20 game average at 1440p, we’re seeing a number of cards provide competitive value. The GTX 1070 Ti with its current price 13% below MSRP just manages to beat the 1070, 1080 and Vega 56 which are all evenly matched. With current prices, really all are good buys for 1440p builds but the 1070 Ti in particular with its price so close to the 1070 is the best value.
Having these four cards deliver near equivalent value is also great for those with slightly different budgets, on the lower end you can grab a 1070 Ti for $390, or you could spend $60 more for the 1080 knowing you’re getting a performance increase in line with the price increase. And those who would rather go Team Red for FreeSync or other reasons can now safely buy Vega 56 knowing it’s not horrible value like it was several months ago.
Despite Vega 64 selling at 4% below its MSRP, it’s not a great buy right now compared to the similarly priced GTX 1080. And it’s no surprise to see Nvidia’s new RTX cards fail in terms of value, the RTX 2070 is definitely not worth buying compared to the 1080 right now, and the 2080 can’t match the 1080 Ti. The 2080 Ti is the worst value but it also offers unequalled performance so it’s really only suitable for those with cash to throw around.
Flicking back to July, it’s easy to see how things have changed. Back then, the GTX 1070 was the best value buy, with AMD pretty uncompetitive with Vega. Vega 56 was roughly on par with the 1080 Ti for value, now Vega 56 is one of the best value buys on the market for higher-end cards.
What about if cards were priced at their MSRP? Well it’s here that Nvidia’s RTX cards, in particular the RTX 2070, become better value. The GTX 1070 and Vega 56 would still be the outright value champions, while the RTX 2080 would be a better buy than the GTX 1080 Ti.
And here’s an interesting thought experiment. What would the market look like if all overpriced cards fell to their MSRP, and all cards currently selling for below the MSRP remained at their current price? Well, we’d be in a situation where the GTX 1070 Ti would still be the best value card on the market, and the GTX 1080 would be a slightly better buy than the RTX 2070. Unless the 1080 Ti falls in price, the 2080 would also be a slightly better buy, though not astonishing value by any means.
So that’s where we are at as far as graphics card value is concerned. Nvidia’s new RTX cards might not be anything special when it comes to price/performance, especially at the moment when none can be found at the MSRP, but there are still good value products out there. The RX 570 is the best value it’s been in ages, the GTX 1060 6GB and RX 580 are highly competitive, and the GTX 1070 Ti selling for well below its MSRP provides a decent value option for gamers that want to play at 1440p.