This is the final edition of our GPU pricing update series for 2021. It’s been an unbelievable rough year for anyone looking to upgrade their graphics card or build a new PC for gaming, with inflated pricing seen all year long (and several months at the end of 2020 as well). For many people, this new generation of GPUs has been a bit of a write off, despite the actual hardware being quite good, which makes it doubly disappointing.

Our mission to track GPU pricing trends and look at the current market will continue in 2022, but for now let’s see what’s been happening in the closing weeks of 2021, which is typically quite busy because of the holidays. As we said last month, the expectation is that prices wouldn’t see any major reductions as demand for components would be reasonably high during this period.

Follow up: GPU Update January 2022

Refreshed GPUs

We also had a strange GPU launch in December. The GeForce RTX 2060 12GB, which was simply pushed out to the market without much fanfare from Nvidia. No review sample program, which is usually the case with these sorts of launches and why we haven’t taken a look at it yet, but also apparently there's not that much stock.

The RTX 2060 12GB was supposed to launch on early December, but even today if we look at various retailers, the card is basically nowhere to be seen. There’s not a listing for the GPU on Newegg, despite plenty of listings for the regular 6GB variant. In Australia, PC Case Gear and several other retailers don’t have any, and only a single model was seen at one retailer, a Zotac model available at Scorptec. It’s priced at $1050 AUD, which is $250 more than 6GB models selling at the same retailer. Other regions are facing the same situation, where there's no stock or very little of it, but with that kind of pricing, it surely won't be drawing in buyers since it’s as expensive as some RTX 3060 boards.

Speaking to some of our industry contacts, the RTX 2060 12GB had a loose early December to January release schedule. The earlier date was more of a statement that “hey, you might see some 2060 12GB models on shelves, a few OEMs have a small batch of them ready, so just know they aren’t fake models.” As opposed to a key product launch, that seems more widespread availability even if it sells out immediately on day one.

The information we received also paints a picture of a GPU that gamers probably won’t want to buy. One industry contact described the RTX 2060 12GB as a “card for mining,” in that its price tag, game performance, mining performance and memory capacity makes more sense for miners than it does for gamers. It’s been hard to pinpoint an MSRP as Nvidia hasn't disclosed one, but what we’ve seen from current listings is a GPU that gets pretty close to the RTX 3060 despite almost certainly performing well below it. For reference, our data has the RTX 2060 Super about 14% slower than the RTX 3060 on average.

There are more Nvidia GPU refreshes on the way as well, with current rumors suggesting an RTX 3070 Ti refresh with 16GB of memory, and an RTX 3080 refresh with 12GB of memory. We’d expect to see those newer cards around mid to late January at the earliest. After that we’re also expecting the RTX 3090 Ti and the long awaited release of the RTX 3050 series for desktops, which have also been rumored for a while now. That’d be four refreshed Nvidia GPUs in the first few months of 2022, which does not automatically translate into proper availability in any way unfortunately.

From the Red Team, we're expecting new budget oriented GPUs using a new Navi 24 die. Those should arrive in the first few months of 2022 in the form of something like an “RX 6500 XT.” Alongside the RTX 3050, this should create a more competitive environment for cheaper GPUs, although these days a “cheaper” GPU costs like $500, so we’ll have to temper our expectations a bit. Both cards will probably have a $200 to 300 MSRP, but actually set you back ~$500 at retail, which sucks but that’s the current state of things. Intel Arc GPUs aren’t too far away either.

That’s a brief summary of what we're expecting to happen with GPU launches in the next few months – and maybe we’ll see some announcements at CES – now let’s take a look at the current GPU market and whether there’s been any price movement.

The Ethereum Rollercoaster

Cryptocurrency mining continues to be the primary reason for inflated GPU pricing and strong demand, with clear price fluctuations in GPUs following trends in coin prices or mining profitability. That’s nothing new, we’ve talked in depth about this in previous pricing updates, and how supply chain considerations have become less of a factor over time.

In the last month, the price of Ethereum which is the most popular coin for mining, has dropped by 10% and has been sliding overall for a month and a half. During that period, mining difficulty has only increased slightly, and for the last few weeks has basically plateaued, which indicates GPUs aren’t being added to the mining pool at as high of a rate as in previous months. Both of these factors tend to be good news for gamers, and in December they’ve combined to reduce mining profitability by 10 to 20 percent depending on the GPU, going on Whattomine’s latest data.

GPU Pricing Update

How has this affected used GPU pricing? It’s rather interesting this month as it does depend on the products we look at. Nvidia GPU prices haven’t changed much for about six months; there was a noticeable peak in May related to a boom in crypto, but since then it’s been relatively flat as popular coins, mining profitability, and other factors have all fluctuated.

Nvidia GPU Pricing Trend 2021

Average Sale Price of eBay Completed Listings, New Products, 3rd Week of Month

For example, in the last six months the RTX 3070 has peaked at about a $1,230 new on eBay, and has hit $1,100 at the lowest. The RTX 3060 has sat between $690 and $750 during that same period, so it’s largely been consistent. The biggest changes have been seen with the RTX 3090.

  MSRP eBay Average Price October eBay Average Price November eBay Average Price December Current Price Inflation Price Increase Nov to Dec
GeForce RTX 3090 $1,500 $2,818 $3,107 $2,882 92% -7%
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti $1,200 $1,851 $1,916 $1,968 64% 3%
GeForce RTX 3080 $700 $1,534 $1,584 $1,693 142% 7%
GeForce RTX 3070 Ti $600 $1,151 $1,227 $1,268 111% 3%
GeForce RTX 3070 $500 $1,121 $1,170 $1,099 120% -6%
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti $400 $860 $946 $965 141% 2%
GeForce RTX 3060 $330 $692 $739 $747 126% 1%
        Average 114% 0%

All in all, most current generation Nvidia GPUs remain over double their launch MSRP.

On the AMD front, it’s a bit different when looking at their current generation line-up. While sales volumes are significantly lower for AMD GPUs on eBay, prices have also been more volatile and more aligned with fluctuations in the crypto market. Take the 6700 XT for example, AMD’s competitor to the RTX 3070 and one of the highest volume cards available from Team Red. In the last six months, its price has sat between $730 and $980, a much larger range than Nvidia.

AMD GPU Pricing Trend 2021

Average Sale Price of eBay Completed Listings, New Products, 3rd Week of Month

But specifically for December, AMD GPUs have slightly declined in price by low single digits, for an average decline of 4%, which is not bad for the holiday period. Nvidia GPUs are still in higher demand than AMD's and with the holiday rush to buy hardware, that’s expected to some degree as Nvidia still holds significant gamer market share and mindshare.

  MSRP eBay Average Price October eBay Average Price November eBay Average Price December Current Price Inflation Price Increase Nov to Dec
Radeon 6900 XT $1,000 $1,493 $1,585 $1,548 55% -2%
Radeon 6800 XT $650 $1,388 $1,524 $1,435 121% -6%
Radeon 6800 $580 $1,254 $1,413 $1,381 138% -2%
Radeon 6700 XT $480 $872 $980 $897 87% -9%
Radeon 6600 XT $380 $621 $689 $664 75% -4%
Radeon 6600 $330 $571 $584 $582 76% 0%
        Average 92% -4%

Used GPU Pricing

The used GPU market has followed a similar trend to AMD GPUs this month. The GeForce RTX 20 series has dropped in price by low single digits, which is something, but we aren’t at the lowest prices seen this year, which occurred in July. Nvidia’s previous-gen cards are still priced higher than their launch MSRPs even though we are talking about used GPUs.

  MSRP eBay Average Price October eBay Average Price November eBay Average Price December Current Price Inflation Price Increase Nov to Dec
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti $1,000 $1,102 $1,182 $1,187 19% 0%
GeForce RTX 2080 Super $700 $786 $841 $820 17% -3%
GeForce RTX 2080 $700 $713 $772 $777 11% 1%
GeForce RTX 2070 Super $500 $722 $768 $737 47% -4%
GeForce RTX 2070 $500 $676 $700 $677 35% -3%
GeForce RTX 2060 Super $400 $657 $732 $688 72% -6%
GeForce RTX 2060 $350 $535 $543 $527 51% -3%
        Average 36% -3%

The GeForce 16 series has also come down in price slightly, and I’d be expecting to see more movement in this market over the coming months as these GPUs go from being “current generation” products, to being replaced by the RTX 3050 and newer releases. The GTX 1660 Super, for example, is disgustingly overpriced at $512, however that sort of price inflation is no different to the RTX 30 series, except we are looking at used GPUs, which is a bit crazy.

  MSRP eBay Average Price October eBay Average Price November eBay Average Price December Current Price Inflation Price Increase Nov to Dec
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti $280 $476 $497 $483 73% -3%
GeForce GTX 1660 Super $230 $486 $520 $512 123% -2%
GeForce GTX 1660 $220 $387 $417 $393 79% -6%
GeForce GTX 1650 Super $160 $299 $315 $306 92% -3%
GeForce GTX 1650 $150 $266 $263 $273 82% 4%
        Average 89% -2%

The GeForce 10 series continues to be sold for roughly their launch MSRPs on the used market. Like the other sets of used GPUs we’ve looked at so far, prices have been relatively flat for a few months now, although higher than what we saw in July. If you did buy a GPU in mid-2021, you managed to grab a good deal all things considered.

  MSRP eBay Average Price October eBay Average Price November eBay Average Price December Current Price Inflation Price Increase Nov to Dec
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti $700 $669 $697 $666 -5% -4%
GeForce GTX 1080 $600 $464 $508 $461 -23% -9%
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti $450 $453 $462 $465 3% 1%
GeForce GTX 1070 $380 $380 $416 $403 6% -3%
GeForce GTX 1060 6GB $250 $297 $326 $308 23% -5%
GeForce GTX 1060 3GB $200 $214 $235 $231 16% -2%
        Average 3% -4%

The Radeon RX 5000 series has been most used with miners due to their high mining performance relative to their product standing in the gaming market. Prices have been significantly inflated on these GPUs for months now, but it’s also not a surprise to see the largest fall in pricing this month, as the GPUs with the highest demand for mining also have the biggest falls in pricing when mining becomes less profitable. The drops here aren’t insane or anything, but a 6% price reduction is a trend in the right direction.

  MSRP eBay Average Price October eBay Average Price November eBay Average Price December Current Price Inflation Price Increase Nov to Dec
Radeon 5700 XT $400 $943 $1,007 $900 125% -11%
Radeon 5700 $350 $817 $920 $868 148% -6%
Radeon 5600 XT $280 $617 $663 $623 122% -6%
Radeon 5500 XT 8GB $200 $408 $442 $428 114% -3%
        Average 127% -6%

Then we have AMD’s older GPUs which have also been highly popular for miners, with prices falling some 5% on average. Despite these price drops, the RX 580 is still over $100 more expensive than the GTX 1060 6GB, so gamers after a lower end GPU should be looking more towards Nvidia’s offerings than AMD, at least for now.

Keep Calm and Carry On

That does it for this month’s GPU pricing update. The news are a little better than we were expecting due to the holiday shopping season, but that hasn’t materialized to the level we thought it would. GPUs are still ridiculously expensive, though most graphics cards fell in price marginally this month. The exception to this was Nvidia’s current-gen GeForce 30 GPUs, which seem to be taking the brunt of increased demand and doing so without much movement in pricing.

We can now tell when was the best time for buying a GPU in 2021, in hindsight, of course. Those of you who bought a new graphics card in July got the "best" deal of the year. That was a brief period when crypto fell sharply after a big rise, and miners reacted to this by selling some of their hardware. Conversely, if you bought in May during the crypto boom, you got among the worst deals of the year, along with the opening few months of 2021.

As for what happens in 2022, that's a big unknown. Demand from normal customers is usually lower in Q1, but miners are hardly considered part of that group. There should be more GPUs hitting the market in the coming months, but certainly that doesn't mean we'll have affordable graphics cards again all of a sudden.

Also of concern are DDR5 memory prices. From what we've been told from several OEMs, supply is actually good for DDR5 memory and more reliable than DDR4 supply -- it’s just that the majority of this memory is going to OEMs and not into retail channels. We suspect DDR5 pricing will return to normal quicker than GPUs, in line with other components like CPUs and motherboards which are currently selling for normal prices.

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