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Video card prices have become a never-ending problem. Every year we are told that the next good year will be the next good year, but normality is a long way off. A patch could have been put in place by the manufacturers, through direct sales and ultra-selected partners: did it happen?

(spoiler: NO)

Manufacturers are fine with video card prices

The suspicion that it is precisely the manufacturers who are enjoying themselves like hedgehogs and not acting to protect gamers came to us immediately. We talked about this in a long editorial on video cardssome time ago. Yes, there have been a few tentative initiatives. Nvidia and AMD certainly couldn't give up on marketing to gamers altogether, not least because if demand dropped, this interesting bubble would burst.

Today Nvidia offers us as a basic model a RTX3060 Ti del 2020 a €439. Sometimes even the 3050, i.e. something that shouldn't even be in the 3000 series, turns up for only €320.

Prezzi schede video Nvidia

And also the official store of MSI Italy not kidding at all! XD

Let's bring back some realism

Since prices have been out of whack for years and will continue to be so, someone has lost sight of reality. We have read articles in which self-styled experts are happy to be able to buy a mid-range for 500-600 euros, after it had been jumping to 1200 euros for months. As if to say: 'Luckily I was only cheated out of 1000 euros, my cousin was cheated out of 1700!' Not exactly something to be happy about.

What should be normal prices? It would be sufficient to use as a yardstick what were the launch prices of video cards (from Wikipedia):

We can see that these prices were already in the wake of the upward launch that Nvidia had practised with the 2000 series since the second half of 2018. Which, however, suffered the obvious, inevitable, immediate downturn in the shops.

Those who have been following market trends for decades know well that the low-end (read XX50) is practically always a hair-pulling entry level, and that its price must be around 120/150 euro. Then there are the mid-range cards (XX60) with fluctuations between 200 and 250 euro, depending on the version. The XX70 are considered mid-high-end: 350/450 euro. XX80 series, high-end, 600/700€. And then there are the randomly priced enthusiast ones, intended for the very few; today represented by the XX90 series.

When we talk about the RTX 3000 series we are talking about end-of-cycle boards. For after the summer, so very few months, the 4000 series is expected to be announced. So the prices of the video cards today should be lower than at launch and completely in line with the market in the recent past.

In brief: Nvidia should sell the 3060 for €200. And someone will answer...

But the market sets the prices of video cards!

And we know that very well. That is exactly what we are talking about! There is no regard for the consumer, fanboyism is more pointless than ever.

Out of facade declarations, chip crises, old mining and scalpers, producers gainthanks to that duopoly that Intel should have broken over a year ago. Instead, in addition to bringing more delay than a train, it chose to focus on China. And speaking of video card prices and China we introduce the next paragraph.

Watch out Amazon!

You have surely already read about parallel markets, guarantees not valid in Italy, etc. The reason is not simply limited to some kind of cartel with higher prices in the West and lower prices in the East. In reality versions for the eastern and emerging markets are often slightly less performing. In countries where there are no 24-month warranty obligations, it is also not a sin to use cheaper and less durable components.

This will also serve as a measure of all the editorials that will now come out about the Chinese Intel Arc, which will be 101 per cent less than what was predicted for the Western market.

And here we come to online shopping and in particular to Amazon. On the site one frequently finds video cards at prices in line with the manufacturers, sometimes even a little lower, rarely much lower. How can there be stock of 1000 and 2000 series in addition to so many 3000s? All scalpers for 10 years? Yes and no. Often those boards come from stock destined for other markets and will perform less well. This is to be taken into account when you go to spend 400 euros on a card that performs a little bit lower than one that should cost 200.

In the specific case of Amazon, for products sold and shipped by Amazon, there is a full 24-month warranty cover: few worries. Different matter venturing to eBay, other auction websites, shops like Alibaba.

Finally, do not expect to always receive the product in its packaging. However new, are often OEM productsdestined for assemblers on other continents (or for failed brands) and sold in an anonymous brown cardboard box.

Disassociated developers?

A small parenthesis is deserved by video game developers who, fully aware of the many problems related to video card prices, not only continued to raise the minimum requirements but they still do not take care of optimisation, so the actual minimum requirements are much higher than stated.

They now seem to be in that gear where they simply have to churn out a decent title, deal with DLC for a year post-launch, and then move on. With the publisher in turn trying to maximise revenue in the first year and afterwards selling off the base title to Epic, Fanatical or Humble Bundle and counting on sales of undiscounted season passes.

And also of this debasement of the market we discussed here.

Energy price rises

Energy price increases affect us, the shops, the distributors, the manufacturers, everyone. For the new boards we think of structural increases, beyond today's speculation. To avoid new bubbles, we consumers should start thinking about building less energy-intensive systems. Instead of chasing the useless overclockwhich not only shortens its life cycle but also increases its consumption, let's think about a small undervolt. Especially in summer, to avoid having a radiator on the side.

Let's start by taking a good look at the watts consumed by the CPU and GPU. When we are undecided between a 3070 and a 3070 Ti, instead of running after fancy benchmarks, let us ask ourselves whether the impact on our real world (i.e. the titles we are going to play) is such as to justify not only the extra hundred euros but also 70 extra watts. Which immediately weigh on the temperatures of the whole system and every two months on the bill.

On Watch Dogs: Legion in 4K there is a 2 FPS difference.


+70W, +100€, 2 FPS.

What about AMD?!

The problem of video card prices concerns Nvidia as much as AMD. The aggravation we feel to AMD is that it also marches on CPUs.

The problem (for us) is that on AMD we are poorly informed, we don't care. Of the survivors in the newsroom, not one has AMD CPUs or Radeon VGAs. This despite the fact that, for a few years, AMD has been master of the mid-range in the performance/price ratio. AMD today enjoys it more than Nvidia, because doesn't need to compete: there are two players on the market, demand is high, they both sell down to the last board.

At the same time, however, we see Nvidia more focused on the post-bubble, as we wrote in the opening of the editorial, while AMD enjoys the moment.

The third wheel is very much needed, regardless of whether its mid-range will be slightly lower or slightly higher than the others. Competition is needed in prices before performance. Nvidia will launch the 4000 series, perhaps charging even more and shooting $550 ("increased production costs!") for a 4070.

And game developers are already working on the 4070 as a minimum hidden requirement. In an endless loop that distances and could orient the new generations not towards consoles but towards mobile games. More Diablo Immortal and less Diablo II.