The GPU shortage appears to have well and truly ended, if market prices are anything to go by. After literally years of insane inflation seeing graphics cards go for double or even triple their retail value, street prices have fallen off a cliff in 2022. A combination of factors appears to be at play, including the long-awaited bursting of the cryptocurrency bubble and an easing of the chip shortage. But the end result is that prices for graphics cards have dropped by almost exactly half in the last year.
That’s according to market data gathered by Jon Peddie Research and analyzed by German site 3DCenter. In the third quarter of 2021 the average selling price of a new desktop GPU rose to an all-time high of $1077 USD, more than tripling in less than two years. The come-down from that precipitous high hasn’t been quite as dramatic, but in 2022 the average price dropped to $643 in the first quarter and $529 in the second. As PCGamer notes, these figures are for cards sold from manufacturers to retailers, not to final consumers, but they’re a reliable indicator of the market’s direction. At the time of writing, in-demand cards like the GeForce RTX 3070 and the Radeon RX 6700 XT are hovering around their actual MSRP for the first time in almost three years.
There are a lot of factors at play here. As previously stated, the worldwide chip shortage is starting to abate, which affects manufacturing from trucks to tea kettles. And the cryptocurrency market is finally on a major downturn as investors seek out something less volatile heading into a possible recession. (Or possibly they just want a new get-rich-quick scheme, you know how investors are.)
Between this, and the fact that everyone seems to have completed their pandemic PC upgrades, there’s way more stock to go around…which means the scum-sucking scalpers are less interested in gobbling up all the GPUs before anyone else can, too. We’re also on the precipice of a new generation of graphics cards from both Nvidia and AMD, meaning savvy consumers are waiting for a big purchase. Nvidia is prepping its RTX 40-series for a debut later this month.
In the short term, Nvidia and AMD are in for a rough couple of quarters as both prices and sales return to the stability of the pre-pandemic market. And that’s ignoring a new entry in the market, as Intel prepares its Arc series of GPUs. But that’s good news for consumers, who can finally track down new computer components with relative ease and without pawning a few household appliances. With new high-end hardware arriving, we might even see some actual deals for bargain hunters—though whether you should upgrade your graphics card now or hold out for next-gen GPUs depends on your needs. Regardless, happy days are here again.