What's the deal with video card prices?

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What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:16 pm

I just dug through my Newegg order history.

On January 4, 2010 (over 2 years ago) I bought a GTX 260 216-core 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 Gigabyte stock-overclocked video card.

It cost $204.99.

Today I evaluate the performance of mid-range cards and to get *any* improvement in speed in the new games I play (BF3) I'm looking at plopping down way more than $200. For example, AMD 7770 is a smidge under $200 but it also has significantly less horsepower than my GTX 260.

It seems like the best price for performance to be had today is in the GTX 560 range, or maybe the AMD 6900 series. I want to go 28nm but these prices are just not right.

To me, a reasonable GPU upgrade is something that's about twice as fast. It's also nice to have support for newer technologies and APIs.

To satisfy both of those criteria I'm looking at an AMD 7870: It's >$350!

Is this Moore's law winding down? What's going on? I thought the recession ended a few years ago. In July of last year I bought a GTX 560Ti for a build I did for a buddy of mine. It was $220. They've gotten more expensive since then!
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:28 pm

Significantly less? I'd say the 1GHz edition of the HD7770 is roughly the same performance as your GTX 260. Which doesn't invalidate your claim about the poor value in the video card market right now, but I think you may be given your GTX 260 a little extra credit. Though honestly the answer to your question is quite simple; there's basically no competition right now. Customers are either forced to buy the previous generation of cards from either AMD or Nvidia, or pay the premium for a 28nm Radeon. Nvidia has been incredibly slow with getting their new cards to market.

Also, you can get a HD7870 for under $350 now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 00524&SID=

I'm willing to bet once the rest of the GeForce 600 series arrives all the prices will come down significantly.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:37 pm

Washer wrote:I'm willing to bet once the rest of the GeForce 600 series arrives all the prices will come down significantly.


I hope so: the $200 range currently has NO coverage from 28nm. It seems like AMD had enough demand at these prices to meet the supply of Pitcairn. I really wanted to buy a new graphics card this week because I had moved my 260 to my other machine (Upgrading RAM in a mini-ITX box with a liquid cooler = quite a headache it turns out). I want 28nm for power efficiency in the ITX rig. But it's really just a *terrible* time to be buying right now. I guess all my hopes and dreams (well, actually, it's just a matter of $100 which is, what, less than one day worth of work) lie with GK106. Or maybe a GK104 GTX 660Ti will happen.

Washer wrote: a little extra credit

BF3 runs smoothly at 1920x1200 in most situations. I play on medium, and the game runs quite well (drivers and updates have improved the experience significantly since the beta and when it first came out). People keep saying a 260 is basically the bare minimum needed to play BF3 but I beg to differ. It may just be my overclocked 2500K but I bet the game can be made very playable with even less GPU power.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:55 pm

APWNH wrote:BF3 runs smoothly at 1920x1200 in most situations. I play on medium, and the game runs quite well (drivers and updates have improved the experience significantly since the beta and when it first came out). People keep saying a 260 is basically the bare minimum needed to play BF3 but I beg to differ. It may just be my overclocked 2500K but I bet the game can be made very playable with even less GPU power.


I agree with you! I think people overstate the performance needs for games all the time. Sometimes on tech/gaming forums I feel I must be the only person who plays games without an FPS counter on at all times. I've never been one to care if my personal rig is hitting a constant 60 FPS, it's just about if the experience is acceptable to me.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:04 pm

APWNH wrote:I just dug through my Newegg order history.

On January 4, 2010 (over 2 years ago) I bought a GTX 260 216-core 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 Gigabyte stock-overclocked video card.

It cost $204.99.

Today I evaluate the performance of mid-range cards and to get *any* improvement in speed in the new games I play (BF3) I'm looking at plopping down way more than $200. For example, AMD 7770 is a smidge under $200 but it also has significantly less horsepower than my GTX 260.

It seems like the best price for performance to be had today is in the GTX 560 range, or maybe the AMD 6900 series. I want to go 28nm but these prices are just not right.

To me, a reasonable GPU upgrade is something that's about twice as fast. It's also nice to have support for newer technologies and APIs.

To satisfy both of those criteria I'm looking at an AMD 7870: It's >$350!

Is this Moore's law winding down? What's going on? I thought the recession ended a few years ago. In July of last year I bought a GTX 560Ti for a build I did for a buddy of mine. It was $220. They've gotten more expensive since then!



Uh, what? The Radeon 7770 is more powerful than the GTX 260 and is available for $130 from Newegg.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:09 pm

I used to try a lot harder to tweak performance when my hardware was struggling with the HL2 Source engine. But for a while now those games pretty much run constantly capped at 300fps!

Battlefield 3's gameplay is a lot more forgiving since the netcode is not so much based on hitscans so a little bit of graphical slowdown doesn't screw up my aim quite so much. What's a lot more important than >60fps all the time is for the game to run consistently. A consistent 40fps is totally fine, but 100ms hitches (ram swapping or buggy code or malware or whatever else) regardless of overall fps will ruin gameplay. Good players are able to predict the delay caused by things like this and as long as your machine is consistent, headshots are not a problem even at 20fps.

What also helps is BF3 has no mouse lag issues whatsoever so even if your framerate goes to crap it doesn't seem to introduce a proportional lag to the mouse input. The games that get this bit of code wrong tend to feel a TON less responsive without it being apparent what the culprit is.

Take for example those machines they set up at PAX East in the PC free play. I had to go try that out because they had CS:GO, and they had it set up with VSync on with Triple Buffering, which was just horrible because it somehow introduced a huge amount of input lag. I promptly went into the menu, changed the settings back, and dominated for the rest of the session.

Triple buffering is supposed to reduce input lag. Something definitely wasn't working right on that setup.

The Radeon 7770 is more powerful than the GTX 260

Source? This: http://www.hwcompare.com/11957/geforce- ... n-hd-7770/ indicates the 260 has better memory performance. I'm actually not sure about shader performance but nobody ever reviews these two cards together.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:26 pm

APWNH wrote:
The Radeon 7770 is more powerful than the GTX 260

Source? This: http://www.hwcompare.com/11957/geforce- ... n-hd-7770/ indicates the 260 has better memory performance. I'm actually not sure about shader performance but nobody ever reviews these two cards together.


I had just done a quick search, and like you couldn't find a direct GTX 260 to HD 7770 comparison. What I did find was that Techpowerup rated the GTX 260/216 as 10% faster than the 5770 (http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/HD_5770/30.html) and the 7770 as 25% faster than the 5770 (http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Powe ... 70/26.html).

I still use a GTX 460 @ 1920x1200 res, and I agree with you that an upgrade should really be about 2x as fast.

We're still in a recession, I fear. Last year there was a lot of talk about how we were "coming out of it" but that hasn't materialized. :-?
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:53 pm

TSMC's 28nm process and supply/demand.

There are still enough buyers who are willing to pay top dollar for the current generation of GPUs (GTX 6xx/HD 7xxx).

Just wait until 28nm process matures and AMD/Nvidia engage in a price war.

We will see the return of bang-for-the-buck in $199-$249 area.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:14 pm

Krogoth wrote:Just wait until 28nm process matures and AMD/Nvidia engage in a price war.

We will see the return of bang-for-the-buck in $199-$249 area.


From what I gather this isn't likely to kick in till after summer. Hopefully TSMC can get 28nm going smoothly soon, otherwise the demand will keep those prices up. And demand is only going to increase going into the holiday season.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:47 am

The two best values in gaming graphics cards right now are the Radeon HD7850 for just under $250 and the Radeon HD6870 for just over $150.
Spend the $247½ or more on the HD7850 and you should be in good shape.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:04 am

APWNH wrote:For example, AMD 7770 is a smidge under $200

What? Try $130. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814131460

Wouldn't a GTX 560 TI be a pretty big step over a GTX 260? You can get a 560 TI for around $200.

If you act right now, you can get the GTX 480 for about $200 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814130759

But in general I agree that the progress of price / performance at the $200 mark has definitely slowed down from the pace that it used to move at.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:07 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:The two best values in gaming graphics cards right now are the Radeon HD7850 for just under $250 and the Radeon HD6870 for just over $150.
Spend the $247½ or more on the HD7850 and you should be in good shape.

I think the 7850 for $250 is a horrible deal. The entire 7000 series is overpriced, even after recent price cuts. Wait for that card to come down to $200 or under and then it's more like where it should be. Or get that GTX 480 for $209, and it's a faster card than the 7850.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:56 am

It looks like the days of 4870/275 for under $150 are long gone and won't come back.
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/12 ... -worthless

It's getting harder and harder to switch to a new process node, and the costs are racking up, so in turn our more powerful GPUs cost more. The same is true about architecture, there's only so much you can optimize. I'm sure there's still some years before we come to a standstill after getting 450 mm wafers. After that they'll need to start coming up with more novel ways of designing chips like stacking and eventually use stuff like graphene instead of silicon. It's hard to say though how fast these come into play, we might get stuck in a particular node for a long time.

According to Nvidia the next process shrink would be feasible only in 2015, which means there's going to be several generations of GPUs that will end up using 28 nm process. It's understandable from Nvidia's point of view that they delayed the big Kepler to 'next gen' since they can't really go on making a bigger die after that. That's why they're so vocal about Kepler's efficiency improvements. There's nowhere else to go.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:08 am

flip-mode wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:The two best values in gaming graphics cards right now are the Radeon HD7850 for just under $250 and the Radeon HD6870 for just over $150.
Spend the $247½ or more on the HD7850 and you should be in good shape.

I think the 7850 for $250 is a horrible deal. The entire 7000 series is overpriced, even after recent price cuts. Wait for that card to come down to $200 or under and then it's more like where it should be. Or get that GTX 480 for $209, and it's a faster card than the 7850.


I don't think the 7850 is a horrible deal relative to the GTX 560 Ti... it's not great, but the 7850 is a little more expensive for slightly more performance.

The GTX 480 deal is very hot for the performance, although the power consumption is :o compared to the Radeons.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:43 am

Yeats wrote:I don't think the 7850 is a horrible deal relative to the GTX 560 Ti... it's not great, but the 7850 is a little more expensive for slightly more performance. The GTX 480 deal is very hot for the performance, although the power consumption is :o compared to the Radeons.

I'm not claiming the 560 TI offers great value either. The best value is a $150 6870 IMO, or else that GTX 480 for $210; and the power consumption of the 480 is only high at load; at idle it's tame, and that's what I'm more concerned with since my GPU spends 95% of it's life at idle.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:00 pm

flip-mode wrote:...that GTX 480 for $210; and the power consumption of the 480 is only high at load; at idle it's tame, and that's what I'm more concerned with since my GPU spends 95% of it's life at idle.


I'm just thinking for the OP, can his PSU handle the GTX 480?
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:09 pm

Yeats wrote:
flip-mode wrote:...that GTX 480 for $210; and the power consumption of the 480 is only high at load; at idle it's tame, and that's what I'm more concerned with since my GPU spends 95% of it's life at idle.


I'm just thinking for the OP, can his PSU handle the GTX 480?

Ah, heh, good point. Dunno. The TR review showed 425 watts system power at load which is a little to close for comfort to the OP's 450 watt power supply.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:26 pm

flip-mode wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:The two best values in gaming graphics cards right now are the Radeon HD7850 for just under $250 and the Radeon HD6870 for just over $150.
I think the 7850 for $247½ is a horrible deal. The entire 7000 series is overpriced
Radeon HD7850 was faster than anything else costing less than $349 when it was released. How is that overpriced?
http://techreport.com/articles.x/22573/12
It does appear that prices on GeForce GTX570 have been slashed to $297½ since that review, but that's still $50 more than the HD7850. That last lonely GeForce GTX480 available for $210 may be a bargain. It also uses 150+ watts more than the Radeon HD7850 does.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:24 pm

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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:38 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Radeon HD7850 was faster than anything else costing less than $349 when it was released. How is that overpriced?

Because it's slower on average than the 6950 that was selling for as low as $215 before it was discontinued.
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/ha ... ew-19.html
Just because the 6950 went away doesn't mean I can forget what a decent value it was. Again, the entire 7000 lineup remains overpriced in terms of the historic price / performance curve. TSMC's 28 nm needs more maturation, and Nvidia still needs to show up (the GTX 680 remains a vaporware joke, not to mention the rest of Nvidia's 600 lineup).

Or maybe I'm just getting to old for this stuff.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:55 pm

The rumor mill says that GeForce GTX660Ti (GK106 GPU) is coming in the third quarter to compete with Radeon HD7850. The rumor mill also says that the low-end GeForce GT650 (GK107 GPU) is due next month to compete with Radeon HD7750 and HD6770/5770.

One has to assume that NVidia is still working on improving yields and availability with TSMC's new 28nm process before bringing out their mid-range GPU. We can hope that by the time that it appears the cost of manufacturing will have come down enough to encourage both NVidia and AMD to cut prices on mid-range GPUs.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:21 pm

The 28nm process is immature - we knew that when they stayed at 40nm for the 6000 series. Shortly after a new release is never a good time to buy, value wise. Give it another 3 months and I bet you'll be able to buy a 7950 for closer to $300 than $400.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:19 pm

I'm finding the 28nm excuse harder to buy seeing that AMD has enough cards to meet demand and lower prices. I hope that Q3 GTX660 launch is more July than August or September.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:01 pm

That depends on which rumor site you like and whether the leaks are coming from the board partners or from NVidia insiders. Calender 2012Q3 is coming up in July, August and September 2012. NVidia's fiscal 2013Q3 is coming up in August, September and October 2012.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:28 pm

All the valid points about 28nm availability and related complaints about quick progress aside, the OP is pretty much flat-out wrong about the state of the video card market. As has been said, the HD7770 is available for reasonable prices now, not its launch prices, and at around $130 it's a good card and about 40% faster than a GTX 260 (using a GTS450 as a proxy since GTS 450 and GTX 260 are comparable, 'core 216' GTX 260 are about 10% faster than 192 shader cards but you're still talking 30-40% faster. Looking at theoretical numbers like memory bandwidth or shader FLOPS won't tell you how a card runs games, especially across different architectures.) Alternatively, for around $200 GTX 560Ti are about twice as fast as GTX 260 - plenty at Newegg in that price range as well.

It's not perfect, but Techpowerup is a quick and easy way to see a wide range of cards summarized in one graph: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7770/26.html

So, with an appropriate price on the HD7770 and sales on GTX 560 or 560Ti, I don't understand the OP's complaint at all.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:56 pm

Here are the delivered prices from Newegg RIGHT NOW:

$507½* GeForce GTX680 2GB (*It hasn't been in stock once even though I have checked scores of times since the launch.)
$490 GeForce GTX580 3GB
$460 Radeon HD7970 3GB
$387½ GeForce GTX580 1½GB
$380 Radeon HD7950 3GB
$358 Radeon HD6970 2GB
$347½ GeForce GTX570 2½GB
$337½ Radeon HD7870 2GB
$297½ GeForce GTX570 1¼GB
$275 GeForce GTX560Ti-448 cores 1¼GB (a cut-down GTX570)
$250 Radeon HD6950 2GB
$247½ Radeon HD7850 2GB
$217½ GeForce GTX560Ti 1GB (stock clocks) or $237½+ for 900+ MHz versions
$210 GeForce GTX480 1½GB
$170 GeForce GTX560 1GB
$162½ Radeon HD6870 1GB
$140 Radeon HD6850 1GB
$137 Radeon HD7770 1GB
$135 GeForce GTX460 1GB
$122½ Radeon HD6790 1GB
$120 GeForce GTX550Ti 1GB
$115 Radeon HD6770 1GB
$115 Radeon HD7750 1GB
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:03 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:It's not perfect, but Techpowerup is a quick and easy way to see a wide range of cards summarized in one graph: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7770/26.html

So, with an appropriate price on the HD7770 and sales on GTX 560 or 560Ti, I don't understand the OP's complaint at all.


Thanks for finding a better point of comparison than I was able to.

I guess I was going with the worst-case theoretical performance estimates. So the current landscape is not as ugly as it first appeared. That's... reassuring... I guess.

I still feel like I'd be making a bad choice by going with any of the 40nm GPUs at this point. I might just spring for a 7950 or GTX 680 (if I can get lucky and find one in stock). I don't have an 8 pin PCI-e power plug for a 7970. As long as those will remain at these sky high prices for a while I won't end up feeling bad about it.

But if I go for a 7950, a 7870 seems to be a better deal. But maybe not. Staying away from the Powercolor one they are all >$350. Not much of a difference between a $355 video card and a $380 one.

JAE, thanks for compiling that list!! This thread is turning into one of those nice and juicy ones.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:06 pm

Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:07 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
APWNH wrote:I don't have an 8 pin PCI-e power plug.
Problem solved:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6812887001


Do you think the PSU is up to the task? It seems like full load draw with a 7970 will be somewhere approaching 400W. This little PSU can *probably* handle it. I wonder how the 7970 compares to the gtx260 in power consumption.

I will say it's handled the 2500K @ 4.5Ghz with the GTX260 quite well. Very stable.

Sapphire 7950 is looking mighty good at this point. 3GB of VRAM. Yes. Do want.

Edit: One more point of consideration though. I'd like better-than-average cooling (2 or more fans preferred). My setup is really cramped.

Thanks again JAE. You're a machine!

Update: According to this page the 7950 (and 7970 of course) both consume a good bit more power than the AMD 4870, which is pretty similar in power usage to the GTX 260. A 7970 may be pushing my PSU almost 100W harder. I think I'd go with the safer option with the 7950.
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Re: What's the deal with video card prices?

Postposted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:24 pm

Note that the adapter in the link that you quoted isn't the part that you need. Please see the ones in my updated post. :oops:

If you do get a new power supply, you could do a lot worse than an Antec EA-650 Green for $65.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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