Majority of current-gen GPUs now selling at or below recommended price

AMD Radeon RX 6800XT side view
(Image credit: AMD)

More AMD and Nvidia graphics cards are now at their recommended price – or have dipped below that level – than GPUs which exceed their MSRP, according to a new report; but it’s Team Red which offers the most competitive pricing.

This comes from Tom’s Hardware which crunched a load of data on sales to discover that for current-gen RTX 3000 and RX 6000 graphics cards in May, prices dropped by 15% on average compared to what retailers were asking in April.

As noted, just over half of current-gen GPUs are now at or below recommended pricing, although it’s AMD which is leading the way here, in that of its RDNA 2 offerings, only the RX 6800 and 6800 XT are now priced above their MSRP.

Unfortunately, most Nvidia RTX 3000 graphics cards are still over the MSRP, with Tom’s observing that the RTX 3050 through to RTX 3080 10GB models have their price bumped up by about 20% on average. That said, those cards are still seeing price drops compared to the previous month, and everything is moving in the right direction.

Analysis: Nvidia GPUs in great demand

It’s obviously good news to see prices dropping, and by quite a chunk in May, even if Nvidia’s Ampere offerings still haven’t normalized and returned to their MSRP. Of course, this is a measure of demand in many ways, because as we’ve seen in recent times, Team Green’s GPUs are selling strongly compared to AMD.

Recall that as we reported a month ago, at big US retailer Newegg, Nvidia models were all but one of the top 20 best-selling graphics cards, and indeed looking now, the situation is even worse for AMD – the company hasn’t got a single GPU in that top 20 chart (the highest entry is an RX 6600 model at number 24, in fact).

So greater demand seems like a plausible enough reason why prices aren’t going down quite so quickly for Nvidia GPUs. What might change things is the possibility that Nvidia could soon announce its next-gen Lovelace graphics cards, and those RTX 4000 GPUs could go on sale sooner than expected – which would doubtless persuade some (or indeed many) folks to consider playing a waiting game, forcing RTX 3000 prices to drop to seem more tempting.

Tom’s also did an interesting bit of comparison in terms of working out a rough performance per dollar metric for the top current-gen (and past) GPUs, and the interesting news is that AMD is winning here, perhaps unsurprisingly as Team Red’s prices are dropping faster as observed.

So, which is the best value proposition among the contemporary graphics cards out there right now? That would be AMD’s RX 6600 which represents an excellent choice for those gaming at 1080p, with a performance per dollar rating of 0.23 (lower is better) – although if you need something with more oomph for 1440p duties, then the top value pick is the RX 6700 XT rated at 0.201. For Nvidia, the value king for 1080p is the RTX 3060 (at 0.175), and for 1440p it’s the 3060 Ti (also ranked at 0.175, which isn’t that far behind the 6700 XT to be fair).

For those interested in some historical perspective, Tom’s ranked GPUs going back to 2015, and the best performer relative to its asking price turned out to be the GTX 780 (on 0.245, so the RX 6600 isn’t far off that anyway – and obviously offers way better overall performance, of course).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).