It hasn’t been easy for gamers for the past few months now. Getting a decent graphics card for their PCs wasn’t the same anymore as graphics cards would never be in stock. Even when they were, they would be double or even triple the retail price. However, things are finally getting better again and it seems that people can upgrade their PC rigs again, but should they?
Why were the prices inflated in the first place?
Ever since the sudden rise in interest for cryptocurrency came to be in 2017, things started to change. Crypto tokens aren’t just traded, they’re also mined, that’s how they come into existence. In order to mine cryptocurrency, one needs a really powerful PC with a powerful GPU, most of the times more than just one. Companies like Nvidia tried to push retailers into preferring gamers over miners, however, those attempts were mostly futile.
Therefore, crypto miners started building really powerful computers and there was a sudden increase in demand for high-level GPUs. This caused a lot of shortages and eventually drove the prices up by two or three-fold. However, ever since cryptocurrency began its decline two months ago, things are coming back to normal. The interest in mining cryptocurrency has significantly fallen and it’s almost as if the world has forgotten about crypto. There are many cards now that are popping up on Nvidia’s official website which are going for their original retail price, indicating that things are coming back to normal.
Now that things are almost back to normal, should one think about building or upgrading their gaming PCs? It depends on your current situation.
Are you looking for an upgrade?
If you already have a gaming rig, then most likely the thing you’d be looking to upgrade would be the GPU. When it comes to gaming and performance in games, the GPU is more important. Of course, things like CPU, RAM etc. also matter but decent gaming rigs have good enough RAM and CPU power to last a few years. However, the bottleneck usually comes down to the GPU because as games become even more graphics intensive, the requirement of a high-powered GPU increases even more.
If you already have a decent gaming rig alongside a decent GPU then its best to wait it out. Even less-expensive options like the Nvidia GTX 1050 can run almost all the modern games under pretty decent settings. You don’t need a very expensive card in order to run most AAA titles, especially the newer ones. Therefore, if you already have a good card, then it should be serving you well. Yes, these cards may not provide you with the in-depth textures, or the buttery smooth, constant 60 fps or even 120 fps performance, and perhaps they might not be able to run your favorite games at ultra or high settings, but they can still run them without making the games look or perform badly
For now, it’s not worth spending a lot of money to get the upgrade you want. It’s best to wait because new GPUs are just around the corner, and you’ll then be in the same predicament as you are now in just a few months if you decide to upgrade now. There are several reports which indicate that Nvidia will launch their new GPU architecture soon. Taking the name of Volta, Ampere, or Turing, it’s expected to launch before the end of 2018.
Why is this significant? Whenever a new generation of GPUs is launched, they receive a significant performance boost in the range of 30-50%. According to rumors and speculation, the new architecture by Nvidia should launch in August or July, which is just a few months from now. A 30-50% boost is a lot and is well worth waiting for. As far as the price goes, it would be more or less in the same range as the current high-end GPUs, therefore, waiting for the next generation of graphics cards looks like a better option. You should only consider getting a new GPU right now if your current one is truly becoming a bottleneck. Even then, it’s recommended that you don’t spend too much money on a new GPU and get one that can play your games for now until the better ones come out.
Are you looking to build a new PC?
If this is the case then it’s not that different from the previous recommendation. You should build your new PC, but the recommendation would be to hold out on buying the graphics card. If you’re waiting to build the best PC, then waiting it out for the graphics card will be worth it in the long run.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t build the rest of the PC. There are some pretty good processors that have recently been released such as the new Coffee Lake processors by Intel. The new processors will now have 6 cores instead of 4 and there is even an Intel Core i9 processor out there, talk about power! AMD has also launched its second generation Ryzen CPU along with the X470 motherboards. There are a lot of good options to choose from as far as CPUs and motherboards go, all of them are very good in their own right.
A similar argument can be made that new processors and CPUs will be launched in the future, perhaps sooner than we think as there is speculation that following the 6 core processor, Intel might also bring out an 8 core processor as well down the line. However, CPUs are different from GPUs. Yes, overall performance-wise a new generation of CPUs can bring significant boosts. However, when it comes to gaming, CPU upgrades don’t make that much of a difference.
If you were to purchase a Core i5-8400, or a Ryzen 7 2700X chip or even a Core i7-8700K, all of these will perform more or less the same gaming-wise. Although these CPUs are different, as far as gaming is concerned, they become pretty much the same as there’s minimal difference between all of them in gaming. As already mentioned, gaming is more dependent on the GPU, not the CPU or RAM, which is why a person looking for an upgrade is usually looking for a new GPU.
Therefore, if you’re looking to buy a new gaming rig, then building the rig now isn’t a bad idea, just hold off on the GPU for now. It’s only a matter of a few months before you’ll be able to get better GPUs for more or less the same prices.
Do you still want to buy a new GPU?
If you can’t wait or your current GPU is obsolete for newer games and you absolutely need to buy a new one, there a few good GPUs out there which are currently going for almost their original retail price. However, only a small amount is actually worth it. Most of these will be cheaper options because as discussed earlier, it’s best to wait. Therefore, the GPUs to be mentioned won’t necessarily be in it for the long run, consider them temporary, enough to fulfill a gamer’s needs till the newer ones start rolling out.
As far as performance is concerned, the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti is great. Although it’s still a bit expensive, close to $500, some would argue that it defeats the purpose of waiting for newer GPUs. However, this GPU is not only better but it’s also close to its original price. There are cheaper options, such as the GTX 1060, but its current price is a lot higher than its original, and it’s roughly a $100 apart from the 1070 Ti, in which the latter is the clear winner.
If you prefer AMD cards more, then they’re still pretty hard to get. Their prices are still quite a bit above their original, for example, the AMD’s RX 570 and 580 are both going for around $300 each whereas their original prices range from $160-$230. As far as AMD GPUs are concerned, it’s best to wait it out till either their prices come back to normal or till the newer ones are finally out.
As for the high-end cards like the GTX 1080 or the 1080 Ti alongside the likes of the Vega 56 and Vega 64, it’s best to not even consider them. You’d be spending $600 or more on cards which will get outdated in a few months. Although it’ll take time for cards like these to truly become obsolete as they pack on a ton of power, it’s still pointless to invest in them knowing something better will be out not long from now in similar price ranges.
Although there are some good options out there now that GPU prices are finally beginning to settle down, it’s still not worth it. Even though prices are beginning to settle down, they’re still not back to the original intended retail price.
Moreover, given the fact that a few more months down the line, the prices will go back down even more. Not only will people be able to purchase the new generation of GPUs that are upon us, but they’ll be able to purchase the current generation at much cheaper rates. Therefore, whether you want to buy high-end GPUs or not, it won’t hurt to wait a few months.