Buy video card now or later? This might be the best time
O video card market It’s finally getting back to stability after just over a year of absolute chaos in the industry. With normality knocking at the door and the return of competitive prices in many segments, the question remains: should I buy a new video card now or is it better to wait?
First of all, it is important to point out that, even with a momentary stability, we do not know what other major events could happen and once again disrupt the semiconductor market. Everything said in this article based on past events and simply expectations and speculations for the coming months.
A brief recap…
Between 2020 and 2021 the hardware world, specifically the video card segment, saw one of its worst moments come to light. The problems were diverse: the peak of the pandemic of COVID-19, a crisis in the production chain in the industry of semiconductors and the catatonic resurgence of mining. These three factors in particular contributed to the GPU market bordering on unsustainable, but little by little we started to realign this paradigm.
Today, even though we are still in the COVID-19 pandemic, the electronics boom and the high demand for parts and pieces to supply the home user isolated in their homes is waning. This issue was perhaps the most predictable of the entire crisis: as demand for more video cards emerged, the industry raised prices in a classic market move. If demand is high, prices rise.
However, another factor would come to shake the structures of the industry once and for all: mining. From 2020 to 2021 there was a massive “renaissance” of virtual currencies such as the bitcoin and ethereumwhich were also boosted by the arrival of NFTs and its subsequent explosion, which required a powerful GPU for applications.
Mining farms were one of the antagonists of the GPU crisisSource: Shutterstock
This generated the main problem for the video card market: scalpers. As the demand for video cards was high and mining was once again the center of attention, these people would buy several units of a video card to: a) resell more expensively on the gray market, since the stock in stores was running out or b) create mining farms with dozens or hundreds of graphics cards.
All this converged in a single path, resulting in the lack of video cards on the market and when found, either by scalpers or by official shopkeepers, prices were stratospheric.
A new hope
In 2022 things are different. With the pandemic moving towards calmer directions, even though it still officially exists, all the demand for chips for the most different products for the home office has decreased, since the return to work and face-to-face study is back to a global reality.
Mining fashion saw its small empire gradually crumble with the devaluation of virtual assets and disinterest in the world of NFT. As a result, the scalpers’ plan backfired and the dozen video cards stored in their sheds would inevitably have to be sold at lower prices. As for miners, lack of interest in the assets and minimal profit forced them to sell their farms full of GPUs.
So, we finally arrived at a market stability and a standard of normality that hasn’t been seen since January 2020. Now comes the big question: is it worth investing in a current generation video card or is it better to wait and go straight to the launch of the RTX 40xx and AMD Radeon with RDNA 3? By the way, is this really the best time to buy a GPU?
The moment is good and it must be seized
Currently it is already possible to find a good video card to run in Full HD with maximum quality at 60 frames (or more) in the region of R$ 2,000. Among the options, the RTX 2060, the oldest that still does the job; the recent RTX 3050; RTX 3060 and RX 6600/6600 XT for a little more headroom, etc. These GPUs are the best value for money we’ve seen in years.
Segment up to BRL 3,000 has the best cost-benefit optionsSource: Shutterstock
If the budget is smaller, the AMD Radeon RX 6400 and RX 6500 XT, or even the old GTX 1650, and the GTX 1660 usually cost between R$1,000 and R$1,500. The scenery is still Full HD, but the user must give up filters, textures and some frames. If before it was impossible to buy a dedicated video card for around R$ 1,000, today, even if these models are not so good, we have the possibility to choose what to take home.
For beefier hardware, which for many is considered the most attractive, the user can choose cards like the RTX 3060 Ti and 3070 or the Radeon RX 6700 XT to run in Quad HD for an average of BRL 3,500. In the enthusiast category, the sky is the limit, with heavyweights starting at R$6,000, such as the RTX 3080.
Even with great prices, we have no way of predicting the future and imagining that this scenario will continue in this way or, who knows, get even better. This is already an important factor that can determine the purchase of many. The attractive prices added to the uncertainties of the future condition an interesting moment for acquisitions, without a shadow of a doubt.
The crisis strikes back
If there was still suspicion that another crisis could erupt at any moment, the last few weeks were crucial for that. The growing tensions between China and Taiwan challenged the stability of the world of drivers once again.
Although China is the second largest power today, Taiwan is the biggest protagonist in the world of chips. The small country is home to major technology companies such as Gigabyte, Asus, AsRock, MSI, etc. If you follow the video card scene, you must have noticed that the main models on the market are precisely these and other brands.
Furthermore, TSMC, also known as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest chip maker, produces these parts for simply other companies such as NVIDIA and AMD.
Taiwan is the heart of chip developmentSource: Shutterstock
In this way, an escalation and/or Chinese annexation of Taiwan could impact video card production in unimaginable ways and return with a global crisis. Now, whether or not this will happen depends on a number of complex geopolitical factors.
The return of the chips
Both AMD and NVIDIA are working to reveal their next generation of graphics cards. On the red side, the company led by Lisa Su has Radeons with RDNA 3 in the oven and a lot of anticipation for the launch, considering the great phase of the company. The green competition has the RTX 40xx, which debuts the Ada Lovelace architecture with a lot of performance.
There is still no exact date for the launch, but the main indications point to the first wave of cards, especially the most powerful, arriving until mid-October, while the rest of the line should only appear in the first quarter of 2023.
With the prices of current generations lower and the imminent launch of new GPUs, is it more interesting to buy the new graphics card now or wait a little longer and purchase a release? No frills, buy your card right now.
Buy your board now
With the arrival of new generations of graphics cards, NVIDIA and AMD are depleting their crowded GPU stocks at lower prices, creating the most attractive scenario we are seeing. With the release of the new generations, there is a high probability that earlier models will be phased out of production, keeping only the latest and most expensive cards in stores for the long term.
By the way, this will be the first generation of GPUs in the “post-crisis” of the cards and we don’t know if the suggested price system will be respected in Brazilian lands. At a time full of opportunities, it is much better to buy a good graphics card now, waiting until at most a Black Friday, which seems to be the ideal scenario for discounts, than to invest in a generation that has not even been released.