Here's our monthly update on the computer hardware market to see what the current trends are for CPU and GPU pricing. The situation of terrible availability and high prices continue, but let’s hope we have some good news to share on where the market is headed and what's happened in the past month.

Woohoo! CPUs are good now

One change for this month's update is that we'll no longer be covering CPU market. The reason is a positive one: you can currently buy the vast majority of processors at their respective MSRP in most regions. There are a few exceptions, such as the Ryzen 9 5900X in the United States, but other products are now being sold slightly below the MSRP, like the 5800X. And of course, Intel’s processors remain great value, especially in the 10th generation, so with that there isn’t much point dedicating a chunk of time to talk about CPUs availability when the market conditions are almost back to normal.

Current retail GPU market

What isn’t normal right now is the GPU market. At many retailers the situation is improving to some degree. It’s easier to buy GPUs than in prior months, especially outside the United States.

In Australia, for example, you can buy any current generation GPU right now if you want to, with the exception of the RTX 3060 Ti. Not in bundles or anything like that, just standalone graphics cards. The catch is that pricing is very high. You are faced with MSRPs 2.5x higher for something like an RTX 3070, and even relatively affordable cards like the Radeon RX 6700 XT are selling for $400 above MSRP.

We’re hearing similar stories from many of you, especially those in Europe. In Germany, for example, sure you can buy an RTX 3070, it’s just that it’ll set you back over 1100€, when the Nvidia MSRP has been set at roughly 520€.

A month ago, when cryptocurrencies were booming, most of these products were out of stock. As we’ve discussed before, one of the first steps before we can see improved GPU pricing is to have cards actually available. Not that anyone will be rushing out to buy a graphics card for gaming with this sort of pricing.

There's been no change to the general reasons we have heard for high pricing, including shortages of raw components, limited wafer production at fabs, component shortages, high logistics costs especially for international shipping, and so on. However it seems that AIBs have cooled off a bit on increasing their asking price for custom models, for the last few months basically any resupply of GPUs would see prices raised slightly to more closely align with the scalper market, but now that GPUs are sitting on shelves at some retailers, that process has slowed down thankfully.

Greater availability? It's due to mining

But why are GPUs more available now than in previous months?

Well, aside from continued production at record rates, which is slowly satisfying the insane demand for gaming GPUs, there has been a shakeup in the crypto market, so let’s talk about that. When we updated you in May, Ethereum was sitting at around $3,500, down from a peak of $4,000 just a few days prior. Since then, ETH has fallen to around $2300 over the course of a month, a 34 percent drop, with similar declines in other popular coins. But that’s not the only contributing factor to the profitability of mining.

Ethereum pricing chart

As we mentioned last month, gas prices and difficulty of mining are also important. Gas prices have dropped substantially since May, as fewer transactions are taking place on the Ethereum network, due to lower prices and lower interest in general. As tracked by Etherscan, gas prices are somewhere between half and a third of what they were a month ago, so the reward for processing transactions has dropped a lot.

However, Ethereum difficulty has also declined in the past month, from a peak that coincided with the highest value for Ethereum. Difficulty has dropped by around 11 percent over the last 30 days, which has put difficulty around where we were in late April. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s good in the sense that lower difficulty means less people mining, so the popularity of mining is decreasing, reducing the potential of new cards being sold to miners. It’s also bad though, as a lower difficulty increases block rewards and increases mining profitability.

So overall, looking at the most popular coin for GPU-based mining, the value of Ethereum is down 34 percent, gas prices are more than halved, and difficulty is also down 10 percent. Everything combined has seen profitability of mining on a GPU like the RTX 3090 as measured at NiceHash, roughly halved in the course of the last month – from around $12 to $14 per day, to around $7, not including cost of power.

While most of this profitability decline occurred several weeks ago and has held steady since, the reduction has weakened the demand for graphics cards for mining, especially at certain (high) prices. It greatly extends the time to profitability from purchasing a GPU for mining, and with a lot of uncertainty around the future of mining in networks like Ethereum, miners appear more hesitant to buy up cards. In fact, during research for this article, I spotted several full mining rigs for sale on eBay which where nowhere to be found months ago. No flood of used GPUs yet, but a better situation.

Current-gen GPU pricing

  MSRP eBay Average Price March eBay Average Price May eBay Average Price June Current Price Inflation Price Increase May to June
GeForce RTX 3090 $1,500 $3,083 $3,628 $2,962 97% -4%
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti $1,200     $2,187 82%  
GeForce RTX 3080 $700 $2,256 $2,601 $1,948 178% -14%
GeForce RTX 3070 Ti $600     $1,323 121%  
GeForce RTX 3070 $500 $1,374 $1,660 $1,261 152% -8%
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti $400 $1,297 $1,617 $1,255 214% -3%
GeForce RTX 3060 $330 $905 $977 $830 152% -8%
Radeon 6900 XT $1,000 $1,870 $1,972 $1,932 93% 3%
Radeon 6800 XT $650 $1,560 $1,690 $1,450 123% -7%
Radeon 6800 $580 $1,340 $1,518 $1,210 109% -10%
Radeon 6700 XT $480 $1,165 $1,088 $907 89% -22%
        Average 128% -8%

Tracking current generation GPU prices on eBay in the third week of each month for new products and completed sales shows good news across the board. GPU prices are down quite a bit since the terrible situation we faced in May, basically the worst month for GPU pricing ever. Cards like the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 have seen a ~25% reduction in scalper pricing, while the RTX 3060 has fallen 15%, and AMD’s RX 6800 and 6700 cards have dropped between 14 and 20%.

The average decline in pricing is 18%, which doesn’t match the decline in profitability – but pricing increases last month didn’t reflect the full extent of profitability gains either. The scalper market moves more slowly in response to trends, but it’s clear that scalpers are not able to get away with as high prices this month as they were able to last month.

Make no mistake, GPUs remain ridiculously overpriced. Some GPUs have fallen below double their MSRP for the first time in ages, like the RTX 3090 and RX 6700 XT, but the majority of cards still sit between 2x and 3x over their MSRP -- the average is 2.3x. That’s down from price inflation of 2.9x last month.

The more positive news is that GPU prices are the lowest they’ve been in months. We started tracking around March, when Ethereum was in the $1,800 range, and running the numbers for a few cards it seems that pricing has lowered roughly to the level it was around late January to early February. GPU prices are still no good, but they're trending in the right direction for now.

If you desperately want a current generation GPU and are willing to pay scalper prices, the Radeon RX 6700 XT remains the best value graphics card on the market going on cost per frame. That’s because RDNA2 is worse than Ampere GPUs for mining, especially when Ampere isn’t LHR limited. The 6700 XT is over 30% better value than the RTX 3070, while GPUs like the RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 Ti remain the worst value.

We can also gain some insight into why prices are the way they are right now when we look at mining profitability. At current profitability rates as seen at website Whattomine, with power at 10c/kWh, generally it will take someone buying a new GPU at least 10 months to reach profitability -- a lot longer than in previous months.

It’s also interesting to look at how long it will take someone buying a GPU on the scalper market to pay back the inflated price through mining. In other words, how long it takes to pay the difference between the average eBay price, and the card’s MSRP. That’s sitting at around 200 days on average, or 6 and a half months, and requires profitability to remain exactly the same as now for that entire period.

With this data in hand, you can see why some miners are choosing to exit the business and why mining difficulty has dropped in the past month. It’s a delicate balancing act between profitability, time to profit, and the value of the graphics cards on the used market now and in the future. If profitability and resale value continue to drop, and the time to profitability increases, mining becomes a riskier investment.

Used GPU pricing

I also wanted to spend some time looking at the used market and set up the process of tracking used prices over the coming months for older generation cards.

Have prices on the used market also dropped in line with new current generation GPUs? You bet they have.

  MSRP eBay Average Price May eBay Average Price June Current Price Inflation Price Increase May to June
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti $1,000 $1,458 $1,219 22% -16%
GeForce RTX 2080 Super $700 $1,047 $887 27% -15%
GeForce RTX 2080 $700 $953 $834 19% -12%
GeForce RTX 2070 Super $500 $881 $784 57% -11%
GeForce RTX 2070 $500 $838 $678 36% -19%
GeForce RTX 2060 Super $400 $800 $707 77% -12%
GeForce RTX 2060 $350 $641 $549 57% -14%
      Average 42% -14%

First up, we have the GeForce RTX 20 series. Prices have dropped 14% on average for used models, and while most are still being sold above their launch MSRP, that gap is shrinking. Unfortunately, GPUs like the RTX 2060 remain woefully overpriced due to a lack of newer cards in that performance tier, so while you only have to spend about $100 over the launch price on an RTX 2080, you have to spend $200 over launch price to get a 2060.

  MSRP eBay Average Price May eBay Average Price June Current Price Inflation Price Increase May to June
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti $280 $585 $481 72% -18%
GeForce GTX 1660 Super $230 $582 $495 115% -15%
GeForce GTX 1660 $220 $497 $430 95% -13%
GeForce GTX 1650 Super $160 $346 $326 104% -6%
GeForce GTX 1650 $150 $299 $295 97% -1%
      Average 97% -11%

There's an interesting trend to spot with the GeForce GTX 16 series and the pricing of entry-level GPUs. The GTX 1650 and to a lesser extent the GTX 1650 Super have barely fallen in price, while cards around them are dropping by more significant numbers. That’s because these cards are generally unsuitable for mining with their 4GB VRAM buffers and low memory bandwidth, so pricing is less linked to mining profitability and more to the pricing of other GPUs. With that said, the GTX 1650 is a horrible deal right now.

For Nvidia Pascal GPUs, price drops are a little higher than with Turing but they follow a similar trend. Higher-end GPUs like the GTX 1080 Ti have dropped in price more than a card like the GTX 1060 6GB or 3GB. In fact, everything from the GTX 1070 and above is now roughly in line with their launch MSRPs -- not a great situation, but better than other product lines. The GTX 1060 remains inflated though, due to the reasons we’ve been talking about.

  MSRP eBay Average Price May eBay Average Price June Current Price Inflation Price Increase May to June
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti $700 $855 $689 -2% -19%
GeForce GTX 1080 $600 $606 $526 -12% -13%
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti $450 $575 $467 4% -19%
GeForce GTX 1070 $380 $498 $403 6% -19%
GeForce GTX 1060 6GB $250 $366 $327 31% -11%
GeForce GTX 1060 3GB $200 $255 $234 17% -8%
      Average 7% -15%

If you were lucky enough to purchase one of AMD’s Radeon RX 5000 series GPUs, you basically hit the jackpot on the used market. That’s because the 5000 series is good at mining, the 5700 XT for example has profitability levels that compare to the RTX 2080 and RTX 3070, as opposed to the RTX 2070 which is its closest competitor for gaming. So while the RTX 2070 was sold for about $840 on the used market last month, 5700 XTs were fetching nearly $1,200, and even today are still more than double their launch MSRP. Pricing in this instance is heavily linked to mining profitability.

  MSRP eBay Average Price May eBay Average Price June Current Price Inflation Price Increase May to June
Radeon 5700 XT $400 $1,184 $895 124% -24%
Radeon 5700 $350 $1,035 $806 130% -22%
Radeon 5600 XT $280 $754 $604 116% -20%
Radeon 5500 XT 8GB $200 $507 $440 120% -13%
      Average 122% -20%

It also puts current 5700 XT owners in a bit of a strange although lucrative position. If you’re not at all interested in mining, the 5700 XT is actually better at mining than the RX 6700 XT, but around 23% slower at 1440p gaming. With used 5700 XTs going for around $900, and new 6700 XTs going for about $900 as well, 5700 XT owners have the chance to take advantage of the used market and get a faster gaming GPU for essentially nothing.

Older Radeon GPUs face a similar predicament as pricing remains very inflated relative to launch pricing as both Vega and Polaris GPUs are excellent at mining, provided you get one with an 8GB VRAM buffer in the case of the RX 580 and RX 570. This makes the GTX 1060 a much better value than the RX 580 for those after a GPU in the $300 range.

Wrap Up

One key takeaway from this month's update is that GPU pricing is improving. Slowly. We don’t have any clear indication of when graphics cards will return to normal, and who knows, maybe next month we come back to report GPU prices have increased. But at least for now, the current market trend is a positive sign for gamers who have been waiting for a long time to get a new graphics card in their hands.

Despite a glimmer of positivity, I wouldn’t recommend anyone pay current scalper prices, or prices for GPUs at retail. With most cards still priced at least double their MSRPs, most products remain straight up bad value either compared to other products currently available, or previous years. If you’ve kept patient for this long, hopefully you can ride it out longer.

However it's worth looking across the market to see if there are any anomalies you can take advantage of. The pathway to upgrade a 5700 XT into a 6700 XT is interesting considering you probably don't care about mining performance but gaming.

Where do we go from here? For now we'll continue to track GPU pricing and see how things evolve. What we’re seeing now isn't entirely different to the previous mining boom, so we’ll keep an eye on trends and keep you posted.

Shopping Shortcuts:
  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800X on Amazon
  • Intel Core i7-10700KF on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 5 5600X on Amazon
  • Intel Core i5-11400F on Amazon
  • Intel Core i5-11600K on Amazon
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 on Amazon