Do not Purchase a Graphics Card for Greater than $500 Proper Now

In case you’re trying to improve your PC with a brand new, high-end graphics card that prices greater than $500, hit the pause button. Whereas GPU costs proceed to drop and a few playing cards would possibly look notably tempting — just like the RTX 3090 Ti for $920 below its obscene $1,999 (opens in new tab) launch MSRP — the very best graphics playing cards are about to get some severe competitors. That is very true for the playing cards on the prime of our GPU benchmarks hierarchy. So for those who’re eying that RX 6950 XT for ‘only’ $934 (opens in new tab), I counsel you wait. 

Right this moment’s prime playing cards — something that is above an RTX 3070 or, fairly probably, an RTX 3070 itself — are more likely to be displaced by quicker fashions inside the subsequent two or three months. In case you purchase such a card now, you might kick your self in November when you will get a greater card for a similar value, or the identical, now-last-gen card at a reduced value. Nonetheless, playing cards that at present value $500 or much less, just like the RTX 3060 Ti or beneath and RX 6700 XT or beneath, are much less probably to get replaced within the close to future. Nevertheless, I might counsel sticking to the sub-$250 house if you cannot wait, because it’s arduous to beat the worth you get proper now from Radeon RX 6600 (opens in new tab) and RTX 2060 (opens in new tab).

In case you want three good causes to attend on upgrading your graphics card, I’ve bought them: Nvidia RTX 40-series Ada Lovelace GPUs, AMD RX 7000-series RDNA 3 GPUs, and Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs. That final one in all probability will not land wherever close to the highest of the efficiency ladder, but when Intel needs to achieve some market share the A770, A750, and A580 could possibly be priced very aggressively. That would trigger AMD and Nvidia to reply with value cuts to the midrange and finances GPUs. In different phrases, every little thing is in a state of flux, from finances to midrange to high-end and excessive GPUs.

Which is not to say no person should buy a brand new graphics card. In case you’re in dire want, or for those who’re constructing your first PC and easily cannot wait any longer, it is okay to purchase an honest finances or midrange providing. There’s at all times new stuff coming down the pipeline, and doubtlessly ready till 2023 might be too lengthy for some folks. Once more, there’s much less probability of main pricing modifications within the finances to midrange sector, so for those who want a brand new GPU, that is the place I might look.

Let’s shortly recap what’s occurring on the prime of the GPU efficiency stack.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 40 launch?

(Picture credit score: Nvidia)

Everybody expects Nvidia to disclose the RTX 4090 on the very least on September 20 on the GPU Know-how Convention. Nvidia has mentioned it’s going to discuss concerning the subsequent GeForce structure, and why focus on the structure with out launching at the least one graphics card? Nvidia will in all probability present particulars on the RTX 4080 as properly, and perhaps even a Titan card.

Rumblings about efficiency point out we could possibly be excess of a 50% enchancment over the present quickest GPUs. Costs would possibly set new data as properly — in a nasty means — however for those who’re contemplating upgrading to a brand new Nvidia GPU that prices greater than $500, I might undoubtedly wait and see what occurs. And for those who’re eying an RTX 3090 Ti, you would possibly as properly wait a month after which go complete hog and swipe your bank card for the RTX 4090, assuming it truly is as much as 75% quicker. Or be wise and decide up the RTX 4080.

In brief, I absolutely count on RTX 4090 playing cards to go on sale by October on the newest. There is a good probability RTX 4080 will comply with inside a number of weeks, if it does not launch concurrently. That may put strain on Nvidia and its companions to filter every little thing from the 3080 and up, which in flip ought to affect costs on the 3070 and 3060 sequence as properly.

AMD RDNA 3 demo

(Picture credit score: AMD)

AMD will not be too far behind with its RDNA 3 GPUs. It demonstrated an unnamed however presumably high-end card on the unveiling of the complete Ryzen 7000 CPU lineup. Let the mud settle from the CPU launch, which can occur on September 27, and AMD may be able to shift over to new GPU launches by subsequent month, actually earlier than the top of the 12 months.

As with Nvidia, I count on AMD to begin with its quickest GPU, Navi 31. The highest mannequin ought to have at the least 50% extra reminiscence bandwidth and capability in comparison with the RX 6950 XT, and if the present rumors are correct, it’s going to greater than double the theoretical compute efficiency. Will AMD steal a few of Nvidia’s thunder and ship a GPU that may beat the RTX 4090? It is doable, although we’ll have to attend and see. The dangerous information is that if AMD truly does ship superior efficiency, it’s going to probably be equally costly.

However once more, you needn’t splurge on the top-shelf mannequin. AMD ought to have a barely trimmed down RX 7800 XT launching similtaneously or shortly after the RX 7900 XT. The potential for enormous modifications in value to efficiency do not cease there, both. RX 6700 XT might be about as excessive as I might go on a GPU buy, because the newcomers will inevitably have an effect on costs elsewhere, although the additional down the stack you go, the much less probably issues are to vary a lot within the subsequent month or two.

Arc A770 Limited Edition

(Picture credit score: Intel)

The finances to midrange sector can also be the place Intel’s increased spec Arc graphics playing cards come into the image. Intel has demonstrated — utilizing its personal benchmarks, so apply a dose of skepticism — aggressive efficiency from each the Arc A770 and Arc A750. Primarily based on the not too long ago revealed Arc specs, even the mainstream Arc A580 would possibly provide some first rate competitors within the sub-$250 market.

Intel is aware of the place issues stand, and it is aware of it has an uphill battle for market share. Earlier stories of flaky drivers on the Arc A380 aren’t going to instill confidence, which suggests even when Intel’s Arc A770 can match or beat the RTX 3070, it will not have the ability to cost RTX 3070 costs.

I think Intel’s A770 will go after the RTX 3060 Ti as an alternative, the A750 will goal the RTX 3060, and A580 will tackle the RTX 3050. Presumably much more shocking is that Intel would possibly even win every of these match ups. At which level Nvidia might simply cut back costs, which once more factors again to the advice to attend a bit.

Potential Upcoming GPU Specs In contrast
Graphics Card RTX 4090 RTX 3090 Ti RX 7900 XT RX 6950 XT Arc A770
Structure AD102 GA102 Navi 31 Navi 21 ACM-G10
Course of Know-how TSMC 4N Samsung 8N TSMC N5 + N6 TSMC N7 TSMC N6
Transistors (Billion) ? 28.3 ? 26.8 21.7
Die dimension (mm^2) ? 628.4 308 + 228 519 406
SMs / CUs / Xe-Cores 128? 84 92? 80 32
GPU Shaders 16384? 10752 11776? 5120 4096
Tensor/XMX Models 512? 336 —? 512
Ray Tracing Models 128? 84 92? 80 32
Increase Clock (MHz) 2000? 1860 2500? 2310 2100
VRAM Pace (Gbps) 24? 21 18? 18 17.5
VRAM (GB) 24 24 24 16 16/8
VRAM Bus Width 384 384 384 256 256
Final Stage Cache (MB) 96 6 192 / 96 128 16
ROPs 192? 112 192? 128 128
TMUs 512? 336 368? 320 256
TFLOPS FP32 65.5? 40.0 58.9? 23.7 17.2
TFLOPS FP16 262 (524)? 160 (320) 117.8? 47.4 138
Bandwidth (GBps) 1152? 1008 864? 576 560
TDP (watts) 450? 450 400? 335 225
Launch Date Oct 2022? Mar 2022 Nov 2022? Could 2022 Sep 2022?
Launch Value $1,999? $1,999 $1,499? $1,099 $399?

I’ve put all the rumored specs collectively — although the A770 does not have rumored specs anymore, aside from the value. I am fairly sure on the utmost configuration for Nvidia’s AD102 GPU and Nvidia’s Navi 31, however how lots of the purposeful will truly be enabled, and what clock speeds will the chips run at? These are mainly unknown, at the least to me, although there have been a great deal of rumors — many much less dependable than others. I’ve additionally plugged in “educated guess” pricing, however keep in mind that value is the simplest factor to vary on the final minute.

Arguably an important specs would be the GPU shader counts and theoretical compute. Expertise signifies that such knowledge finally ends up being a comparability between apples and oranges because of the variations between the varied architectures, however assuming AMD and Nvidia each enhance, and relying on ultimate clock speeds, we could possibly be in for a really attention-grabbing showdown within the subsequent month or two.

For the present technology GPUs, Nvidia has a whopping 40 teraflops of theoretical compute on the RTX 3090 Ti, whereas the RX 6950 XT solely has 23.7 teraflops. The potential specs for RTX 4090 put it at round 65 teraflops — a 60% enhance — whereas the RX 7900 XT might go as excessive as 59 teraflops or extra — greater than double the present halo AMD GPU. Intel lands far beneath these two, with the A770 already behind the present halo components, however once more that is to be anticipated since it is going to be going after the upper quantity mainstream market.

Maybe extra vital than the upcoming AMD and Nvidia heavyweights would be the penultimate GPUs. RTX 4090 and RX 7900 XT will nearly actually carry premium pricing to new ranges, however what about RTX 4080 and RX 7800 XT? Previous expertise suggests stepping down one notch would possibly cut back potential efficiency by 10–15%, whereas additionally reducing the value almost in half. $999 for an RTX 4080 that is 30% quicker than the present RTX 3090 Ti? Yeah, that is one chance. The identical goes for RX 7800 XT versus the RX 7900 XT.


(Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

Once more, I do not know for positive the place any of those upcoming playing cards will truly land on value or efficiency, and even specs. That is why I run all of the benchmarks when the GPUs truly launch. About the one factor I am assured in stating is that each one the brand new GPUs will instantly promote out. What I hope is that offer will catch as much as demand far more shortly than prior to now two years. Miners will not be propping up unreasonable costs, so if the celebrities align we might see first rate availability and pricing earlier than the top of the 12 months.

And even when the costs on the next-generation GPUs find yourself being greater than you are prepared to spend, the reported glut of present technology graphics playing cards increase in warehouses ought to inevitably result in decrease costs on current playing cards. Worst-case, you wait a month or two and find yourself saving a couple of bucks (until one other “good storm” hits). Finest-case, you find yourself with a 50% or extra enhance in efficiency with out spending something additional.

However hey, I have been flawed earlier than, although admittedly not many individuals correctly predicted the ramifications of the entire pandemic, or the 2020 cryptocurrency growth inflicting chaos within the GPU market. Sadly, even with out these, scalpers would possibly destroy the upcoming launch events and vacation buying season. Endurance remains to be a advantage.

Like I mentioned initially, if you actually need one thing proper now, I might look to playing cards priced beneath $500, and possibly nearer to $250. Take a gander on the Radeon RX 6600 (opens in new tab) and RTX 2060 (opens in new tab), each of that are wonderful values. You’ll be able to transfer as much as one thing quicker as soon as issues quiet down. If these aren’t quick sufficient, AMD’s RX 6700 XT (opens in new tab) and RX 6650 XT (opens in new tab) are  additionally good values, and the 12GB of VRAM on the 6700 XT and RTX 3060 (opens in new tab) additionally warrant consideration.

I would not go a lot increased on a GPU buy proper earlier than new {hardware} is about to reach. There’s often a trickle down impact on pricing, and Nvidia’s playing cards within the $300–$600 vary are nonetheless promoting above their official MSRPs, which suggests they undoubtedly have room to come back down one other $50–$100.