Graphics Card Pricing Update: December 2018
Time is running out for 2018, so this will be last update to our series that explores graphics card prices before the New Year hits and possibly new GPUs arrive to market in Q1 2019. In the meantime, we are seeing some interesting trends since our last market outlook in October, with further discounts and some previous generation GPUs running out of stock. Here’s how prices have changed, what we expect in the future, and the current best value cards.
In the table below you can see the lowest available prices for graphics cards across the year, from May, July, October and now December, plus each card’s MSRP. What you’ll immediately notice is that most cards have come down in price since October, when we gathered data just after the release of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2070.
The GTX 1050 Ti hasn’t changed all that much, but both GTX 1060s are a good 10 percent cheaper, while the GTX 1070 gets a hefty 12 percent reduction. Meanwhile, the GTX 1070 Ti which has been great value for months, has only dropped in price slightly, which isn’t a surprise considering a lot of people have been recommending them.
|GeForce GTX 1050 Ti||$ 140||$ 190||$ 170||$ 170||$ 170|
|GeForce GTX 1060 3GB||$ 200||$ 230||$ 230||$ 220||$ 200|
|GeForce GTX 1060 6GB||$ 250||$ 300||$ 290||$ 250||$ 230|
|GeForce GTX 1070||$ 380||$ 470||$ 400||$ 380||$ 335|
|GeForce GTX 1070 Ti||$ 450||$ 500||$ 450||$ 390||$ 380|
|GeForce GTX 1080||$ 500||$ 550||$ 500||$ 450||N/A|
|GeForce GTX 1080 Ti||$ 700||$ 900||$ 720||$ 700||N/A|
|GeForce RTX 2070||$ 500||N/A||N/A||$ 550||$ 500|
|GeForce RTX 2080||$ 700||N/A||N/A||$ 790||$ 700|
|GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||$ 1,000||N/A||N/A||$ 1,200||$ 1,300|
|Radeon RX 560 16CU||$ 100||$ 140||$ 150||$ 140||$ 140|
|Radeon RX 570||$ 170||$ 260||$ 240||$ 160||$ 150|
|Radeon RX 580 8GB||$ 230||$ 300||$ 270||$ 240||$ 190|
|Radeon RX 590||$ 280||N/A||N/A||N/A||$ 280|
|Radeon RX Vega 56||$ 400||$ 600||$ 480||$ 400||$ 415|
|Radeon RX Vega 64||$ 500||$ 700||$ 580||$ 480||$ 500|
There are a few things to note about Nvidia’s Pascal cards. The GTX 1070 is now more appropriately priced. Back in October, there was only a ~$10 difference between the 1070 and 1070 Ti, which didn’t make it worth buying a 1070. Today, that difference is closer to $50, which brings the 1070 back into the discussion.
But the bigger news is the exit of the GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti from the market. In October, both these cards were readily available and competing strongly with the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080. In both cases, we recommended the older Pascal cards over the new Turing products as they simply provided better bang for buck. Today, both the 1080 and 1080 Ti are basically gone from the market with a few remainders available at retailers like Newegg and Amazon, but at very inflated prices, and the cards will not be restocked when sold out.
This isn’t a huge surprise as Nvidia has been wanting to get rid of 1080s and 1080 Tis as soon as RTX cards hit so they could go unchallenged by older products. Those who were able to purchase either GTX 1080 before they sold out got a fantastic deal. Anyone else wanting that sort of performance today is essentially stuck with the RTX line.
That isn’t necessarily bad news, though, because both the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 are now available at their MSRPs of $500 and $700, respectively. The RTX 2080 coming down to $700 is a relatively new development, the RTX 2070 has been at $500 for a little while now, but the 2080 has been very slow to reach its MRSP. And at $700, the 2080 isn’t offering amazing value, but it’s at least now matching what the GTX 1080 Ti were priced at their end of that Pascal card’s life.
However, the RTX 2080 Ti is still massively overpriced. You won’t find a card sold anywhere close to the $1,000 MSRP, and since October prices have gone up, with the cheapest cards now sitting around $1,300, or $100 above the Founders Edition price. The reason for this seems to be related to stock, there just aren’t enough 2080 Tis being made, so we’ll be stuck with high prices for a while.
It’s also worth mentioning that cards like the GTX 1070 and GTX 1060 6GB are currently discounted as we are expecting Nvidia to launch their successors in the 2060 and 2050 in January. The 2060 looks to be replacing the 1070, and the 2050 replacing the 1060, so while you can get a good deal on those Pascal cards now, we don’t expect the them to be around for much longer.
That does bring up the question, should you buy a card like the GTX 1070 now, or wait until we see what the 2060 is going to provide? We’ll leave that one up to you, but considering you shouldn’t have to wait much longer, it might be worth seeing what Nvidia has in store in a month or so. We think discounted Pascal cards will still be available around the launch of mid-range Turing cards as well.
Let’s talk AMD GPUs now. And it’s here where we see some great value in the mid-range.
The RX 570 and RX 580 have been available below their MSRPs for the last few weeks, both offering screaming good value. The RX 570 at $150 is an absolute steal and has come down in price by $10 since October, while the RX 580 8GB has received a significant 20% price cut, pushing it under $200 for the first time.
The rest of AMD’s line-up is less exciting. Vega cards have increased slightly, up by 4% since October. I suspect that’s due to Vega cards receiving nice discounts around the launch of Nvidia’s RTX line. Now that those discounts are no longer in effect, both cards are back around or slightly above the MSRP. Meanwhile, the freshly released RX 590 is still $280, which is not a good price for that card.
We’re not expecting new AMD GPUs in the near future, so I hope AMD can continue to price the RX 570 and RX 580 aggressively and keep stock at healthy levels. They are currently crushing Nvidia in that $150 to $250 mid-range space, though that could change after Nvidia’s new Turing-based mid-range offerings make it to market.
The next big release from AMD should be Navi GPUs manufactured using TSMC’s 7nm tech. We’re hoping those GPUs provide competitive options through the high-end as well as a flagship GPU to compete with the RTX 2080 Ti, though honestly we don’t have much solid info to share at this stage.
Best Value: Cost per Frame Charts
To complement our recent picks in the Best Graphics Cards feature (updated this month), let’s take a look at some cost-per-frame charts across five recently released titles, using 1440p and Ultra settings.
Starting with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey we see both the RX 570 and RX 580 providing elite value at the top of the charts, beating out both the GTX 1060 3GB and 6GB variants. The RX 570 is still slightly better value, but either option is great for 1080p gaming. Meanwhile the RX 590 is worse value than the RTX 2070.
For 1440p gaming, it’s the GTX 1070 beating out the GTX 1070 Ti and Vega 56 at the moment, previously Vega 56 was quite competitive with these cards but that’s not the case anymore. Then at the top end, Vega 64 isn’t great value up against the RTX 2070 or RTX 2080.
Forza Horizon 4 is a much more optimized title than Assassin’s Creed, and here we see the RX 570 and 580 takinf an even stronger lead, while the RX 590 is okay value but still not worth recommending over the 580.
Then for 1440p class gaming, Vega 56 is competitive but edged out in terms of bang for buck by the GTX 1070. Vega 56 is faster but also $80 more expensive. That said, in this title Vega is the way to go compared to the 1070 Ti and RTX 2070, while the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti are unchallenged in terms of performance.
In Battlefield V, we’re looking again at the RX 570 and RX 580 dominating the rest of the field here, while Nvidia’s upper-mid range cards in the GTX 1070 and 1070 Ti form the best options around that $300 to $400 mark. Then at the upper end, it’s a close call but the RTX 2070 is just slightly better value than Vega 64, though you could go either way.
Hitman 2 is again very favorable to the RX 570 and RX 580. They are much better value than the GTX 1060 in this title. However Vega isn’t as strong here, the GTX 1070 and 1070 Ti offer better value than Vega 56, while the RTX 2070 gets our nod over Vega 64.
Finally, we have Just Cause 4, the least optimized title from this selection of games and it’s no different to what we’ve observed before. AMD’s Polaris GPUs take the mid-range crown, while Nvidia is better value in the upper price brackets.
All this data aligns perfectly with our best GPU recommendations: the RX 570 and RX 580 in that $150 to $250 range, and the GTX 1070 Ti at around $400. We’d also throw in the GTX 1070 at $340, which has come down in price recently and across a handful of today’s games is now slightly better value than the 1070 Ti if you want to spend a little less money.
Above that price tier, value drops away and you’re left with diminishing returns for every extra dollar you spend. These days the RTX 2070 isn’t a terrible deal at $500, in most games it’s a better choice than the identically priced Vega 64. Meanwhile both the RTX 2080 and especially the RTX 2080 Ti are the least attractive cards in terms of bang for buck, but they are also unchallenged in terms of absolute performance. If you want top notch graphics power you’ll have to spend big, although it is nice to see the RTX 2080 now sitting at its MSRP.