Graphics card prices are finally crashing, but hold fire on buying one

RTX 3070 Ti Vs RTX 3080
(Image credit: Future)

Breathe a collective sigh of relief and keep your fingers crossed – it looks like buying a new graphics card might finally be getting easier and more affordable.

The GPU market has been in shambles since last year when a rather unfortunate mix of rising crypto mining popularity met the newly released generation of graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, resulting in a global shortage of hardware. Of course, opportunists will take advantage of these situations too, which caused what little stock was available to rise to almost x3 its recommended MSRP for some of the more coveted cards like the GeForce RTX 3080.

This is in large part thanks to China finally cracking down on crypto farms, resulting in miners flooding the market with second-hand GPUs, though we're also seeing retailer pricing for new products starting to plummet from previously inflated prices.

Don't buy a 'new' graphics card on eBay or StockX right now

Graph of MSRP changes to GPUs

(Image credit: 3D Center)

3D Center reports that off-the-shelf GPU prices have hit a six-month low, which doesn't make them a bargain per se, but it does bring things closer to the recommended prices we say online for models not long after they officially released.

It's also worth pointing out that increased availability doesn't mean more GPUs are being produced, rather that we're expecting the available inventory will be more available to gamers and PC enthusiasts now that demand from the crypto market is starting to dwindle.

We're also not seeing these prices reflected in the US market yet, but it's fairly inevitable that we will see a similar drop in prices spread through global markets. That said, when you do start to see prices dropping, we would recommend you don't jump on board straight away. WCCFTech anticipates that we could see prices crash well below the 150% MSRP mark in the next two or three months if current trends are anything to go by, and buying a used card from auction sites like eBay can come with problems of their own.

That isn't to say that there aren't genuine folk looking to resell a slightly used product in favor of an upgrade (and likely taking advantage of the anticipated price drop themselves), but with the expected number of ex-ming hardware that will be flooding the market, you might find yourself buying something that's had a little more than 'light' use. And anything listed as a new product has no guarantee of being the real deal. It's a risk we certainly wouldn't want to take.

We've been saying for months that cryptocurrency prices collapsing would be the respite we need to help ease the difficulties gamers face when trying to get a new graphics card, but if you have a little bit of patience you might not just find you dodge a bullet on a second-hand purchase, but save yourself some extra cash on a brand new one from a trusted retailer.

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.