Graphics card prices are falling, but should you buy them now?

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·Senior Games & Tech Producer
·6-min read
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The RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card (Photo: NVIDIA)
The RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card (Photo: NVIDIA)

The prices of graphics cards, particularly ones with NVIDIA GPUs (graphics processing unit), are finally 'normalising' after being overpriced for months because of supply chain issues and crypto miners.

ASUS recently revised the retail prices for their RTX 30 series cards in Singapore, and from what we can tell, they are pretty close to the original retail prices that were initially touted by NVIDIA during their releases (with a very slight mark up).

Other brands like Zotac have also followed suit, judging from the price of the Zotac Gaming RTX 3080 Trinity 10GB, which is currently priced at S$1,319 (US$970).

A quick sweep of Singapore's personal computer building hub, Sim Lim Square, seems to show that there are a lot of graphics card stock available (finally) as of March 2022.

You can even find them at their stated retail prices on online shopping platforms such as Lazada and Shopee. Compare that to a few months ago, and it almost feels like a miracle.

That said, AMD Radeon GPUs have not followed suit as of this article's publish time. Because of that, this piece won't talk about Radeon cards for the time being. With the pressure coming from NVIDIA, though, price drops for AMD cards are bound to happen sooner or later.

Now that things are on their way to being 'normal' again, is it a good time to finally purchase a new graphics card? (If you have already purchased one at inflated prices, press F.)

It's a question only you can answer, but we're here to give some insights before you make the decision between purchasing one now or waiting till the next generation.

Since price shouldn't be the main concern any more (as long as you buy within your means), there are a few other things that you should consider before purchasing a graphics card.

1. Do you REALLY NEED a new graphics card?

If you know that the answer is a straight up 'NO', thanks for reading this article. You can close it now, save some cash, and treat yourself to a good dinner.

I am serious. If you have waited this long to get a graphics card while not being desperate for one, you are better off waiting for the next generation of GPUs, which are rumoured to be launching later this year.

If you are 'stuck' on the previous generations of the GTX 10 series or the RTX 20 series, you are still in good hands. Those GPUs can still pull their weight depending on what you are using them for, with the GTX 1060 and RTX 2060 still being good for 1080p gaming, and cards with the GTX 1080 Ti still packing some wallop for 1440p gaming and extensive work usage.

If you really need a more modern GPU for your new build, read on.

2. Do you need one for work?

If you are running any applications that use the GPU for extensive workloads, it is good to identify what is the resource that you need the most.

If you are doing any kind of 3D modeling and are on a budget, the RTX 3060 12GB is a good buy.

Like its name implies, the RTX 3060 comes with a whopping 12GB of VRAM, which is good enough for most 3D modeling applications.

It will only start to bottleneck once you are rendering the models into active frames, though using a good CPU like an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X or an Intel Core i5-12600K should allow the GPU to offset a lot of the rendering processes.

If time is of the essence, however, you may want to have a look at the RTX 3080, as it processes active frames much faster.

The RTX 3080 comes in two versions, the 10GB and the 12GB (yes, NVIDIA updated the RTX 3080 to have 12GB of VRAM during this whole shortage debacle), so if you really need that extra 2GB of VRAM, just be sure you don't purchase the wrong one.

The RTX 3080 Ti is also a good choice, as it comes with 12GB of VRAM, but with it being a whole US$500/S$900 more expensive than the RTX 3080, and not being that much faster in processing, it is really up to you if you think that extra money is worth that 5-10 percent performance gain.

Skip the RTX 3060 Ti, 3070 and 3070 Ti. Those cards only come with 8GB of VRAM, and you will be bottlenecked by the VRAM capacity before you know it.

If you need more than 12GB of VRAM, there's only one other obvious choice available, the RTX 3090. I hope you have deep pockets.

3. Games - what resolution are you playing on?

Buying a graphics card for games is much easier this time around.

Each of the GPUs have their specific resolution and framerate niche, which makes it easy to list them down according to their strengths.

If you are looking at 1080p gaming, the RTX 3050 and RTX 3060 are great choices for this resolution, up to 144hz.

You may or may not be able to max out your settings on the these GPUs in certain games to get high framerates, but the lower-end 30 series cards are powerful enough to ensure at least a great 60hz experience.

If you'd like to have some strong high refresh rate gaming at 1080p, the RTX 3070 Ti is more than enough to sustain a good 240hz 1080p monitor in competitive shooters like Apex Legends and VALORANT.

At 1440p, if you're content with playing on a 60hz or a 144hz monitor, the RTX 3070 and RTX 3070 Ti are good choices. Depending on the game, you may also be able to utilise a 240hz monitor if you are playing something like VALORANT (probably best not to try that with Cyberpunk 2077).

The RTX 3080 will be the best GPU for 1440p high refresh rate gaming.

Of course, if you have the money, the RTX 3080 Ti will definitely guarantee you'll be able to max out all your settings on current titles and still get high framerates (for now).

But, as we mentioned in the second point, you are paying almost double for that slight 5 to 10 percent gain in framerates.

For 4K gaming, this is where things get a little tricky.

You will definitely be able to hit at least 60hz with the RTX 3080, RTX 3080 Ti and the RTX 3090.

But the differences between these three GPUs are so minute at this resolution that it is simply not worth paying double the price of the RTX 3080.

The RTX 3080 Ti is only 10 percent faster than the the RTX 3080, and the RTX 3090 is only 15 percent faster (than the 3080).

It looks like a decent uplift, until you realise that 15 percent more of 60fps (frames per second) is only 69fps. Nice.

If you absolutely have to get a graphics card right now for 4K gaming, just get one with a RTX 3080 GPU.

Newer GPUs and cards will almost certainly be released this year, and I am pretty sure that the uplift will be much greater than spending all your money now on a RTX 3090.

Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting headshotted in VALORANT or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.

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