How to Tell a Graphics Card Deal From a Dud This Holiday Season

shrapnel_indie

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Not surprising. I've experienced first hand some sneaky stuff in pricing before.

When they closed the K-Mart in my town, as time got close to the doors closed for good during their inventory liquidation. I noted that as the discounts increased, there were slight increases in their "sale" price... making a 70% discount not quite the deal it seemed when the price between the 50% discount and the 70% discount was bumped up a few percentage points. It was still a better price, but not quite a real 70% discount vs the lowest price it was ever marked combined with the discount. To me it's a bit shady, but unfortunately not that uncommon. Other markets do the same thing... offer a sale price where it's save x%, but not telling you that there's a y% bump in price to offset, either to make the x% look better, or bump the profit margin slightly on the sale price.
 

hendrickhere

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Feb 26, 2016
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It’s interesting that the 1080ti is left of the list. It’s also interesting that, while often selling for much more, the relatively low price-level value (tough MSRP) you have given to the Vega 56 and 64. It would be a great deal to purchase either one of those at $399 or $499 respectively given their performance vs. their top competitors (1070 and 1080 respectively).
 

PapaCrazy

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Dec 28, 2011
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Just evaluate it? I like this story. Went through a similar calculus myself buying a new GPU. Some of the good quality 1080ti still had an enormous premium over launch MSRP. I ultimately decided on a nice 1080 slashed below original MSRP because for me good price/performance ratio is close to #1 priority. Who doesn't want a good deal? I suspect I am not alone, and that many other enthusiast have the same mindset. That is why people reacted so badly to RTX launch and the infamous TH article. Articles like this prove most of you guys still get it.
 

buzznut47

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Nov 9, 2015
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I am seeing mostly RX 580s going for $230 and RX 570s going for as low as $150 after rebate. I really think that's a great deal for very similar performance. Best deal I've seen lately.
I purchased a Powercolor Red Dragon 570 last year on Black Friday, and at the time it was a screaming deal at $200. It has a very good cooling solution, comes with a handsome backplate and it was keeping up with the 580's when I was testing. It was under $180 the other day. In my opinion, the RX 580 cards are still a bit high.
 

Krazie_Ivan

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Aug 22, 2012
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not sure i agree with the choice to use higher "Founders Edition MSRP" on the older Pascal cards, yet use the lower Nvidia-claimed "Partner MSRP" for RTX Turing cards.
...it gives dual impressions; that current Pascal prices are better than they really are (1070 for $390 is $10 more than it's launch MSRP from 30 months ago, but appears as a $60 discount) ...and that RTX Turing prices are far lower than actual street prices (2080ti is a minimum of $240 higher). it also deceptively closes the gap in price-hike from 1 generation to the next.

simply, it's not an apples/apples price chart. pick one MSRP (inflated Reference renaming scheme to deliberately increase profit margins, or a mostly un-obtainably low price designed to fib value impressions) & stick to it.
 

Tarc Novar

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Jan 12, 2016
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Get an ad blocker, you lazy bum. I have Ublock Origin and that really does solve the issue.
 

Yeah, it's not even all that consistent within a generation. The MSRP for the GTX 1060 was $249, but the Founder's Edition pricing of $299 is listed here. However, the price listed for the GTX 1080 is $100 less than its Founders Edition pricing at launch. Meanwhile, the RX 580 is listed at $229, which might give the false impression that a 1060 at a much higher price is a better deal. I think it would be preferable if the list stuck to the MSRP for partner cards across the board, since those are the cards people will most likely be seeing.

However, I'm not sure how useful the list is in general. It ignores when each of these cards launched, how pricing compared to the rest of the market at the time of launch, and whether the cards were ever even widely available at these prices. Or the differences in things like coolers or warranties on individual cards. Those things seem like they would be difficult to convey in an article though. Perhaps it's best just to stick with performance recommendations at a given price level, based on current prices.

On the topic of how graphics card prices have compared over time though, PCPartPicker also provides some good charts depicting this. They have these general trend charts that show the average price and overall price range across all cards of a given model, which only cover the last 18 months, but that at least extends to just before last year's cryptocurrency mining shortages, and definitely shows the impact of the more extreme shortages earlier this year...

https://pcpartpicker.com/trends/price/video-card/

They also have similar price charts on the pages for each individual card, showing the price history from all sellers tracked by their service in the selected region. You can filter cards using the left sidebar, then just select a card and scroll down below its list of current prices for the chart. These charts default to 120 days, but you can set them to show prices for up to 2 years. This is good for showing how the lowest sale prices of a given product compares over time...

https://pcpartpicker.com/products/video-card/

In my opinion, a card selling at or above MSRP after around 2 years is not a particularly good deal, since the average demands of newly-released games have only increased since then. Or at the very least, such "sales" are probably not something worth jumping on unless one really needs a new card right away.
 

bit_user

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I would argue that #1 would be to check out Igor's excellent reviews/shootouts. Unfortunately, it seems the last one you guys published was in June.

Please post up reviews for more aftermarket cards. Thanks.
 

average joe

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Jan 24, 2009
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yeah the 590's primary benefit appears to be to make the 580 cheaper. I was hoping it would be viable for 1440p but its not. HDR gaming monitors are tied to gpu vendor so either pony up for a gsync screen and a 1070 or save on freesync 2 and buy a vega space heater or run medium settings until august-ish.. not a very merry xmas on the gpu / monitor front. i guess ill wait a year because i dont need anything more for 1080p
 

average joe

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freesync 2 monitors are so cheap because you cant buy a card to drive it.. a 4k hdr freesync 2 montior would require 2 vega 56's crossfired to hit the minimum framerates for freesync to work and use 560 watts of power... thats easy bake oven levels of juice
 

bit_user

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Yeah, FS2 is what I'm waiting for, but I actually haven't found any that exactly meet my specs. I don't need FS2 right now, but I would like to get at least 5 years out of a monitor, especially if I spend a lot on it.

How is software support for FS2? Is it supported by basically a HDR-compatible games, or do they have to use some AMD libraries the HDR features it adds atop FS1?


Lol. Few will probably understand this point.
 

hrd2kll

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Jun 25, 2009
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Solid advice. Recently picked up an MSI twin frozr rx580 8gb on ebay for 127 plus 10 for shipping. (#123476656579) Video card mining is done. Yay.

John
 

shrapnel_indie

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It's also much harder to find the "heating element" for one since they were deemed "too inefficient."
 

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