Built back in 2015, my gaming rig is getting a little long in the tooth and in need of an upgrade, so it was time to take a look at the options on new components. Like many gamers, I was stunned to find the top-of-the-line graphics cards these days will cost more than an entire bare-bones computer system, if they are even in stock at all.
RAM and graphics cards alike have seen huge spikes in pricing over the last two years, especially seeing as crypto-miners have heavily relied on gaming hardware to strike it rich. While RAM pricing isn't expected to go down any time soon, there may be a light on the horizon for those in the market for a new graphics card.
Several factors have been driving the price spikes, like new smart phones using higher-end hardware and edging out home computer buyers with their large-scale orders. Cryptocurrency data mining operations placing orders for very large quantities of hardware has further kept the prices high, but hopefully, that's coming to an end.
With the volatility of cryptocurrency spiking and prices plummeting -- and with big names like John Oliver covering crypto in segments warning people against throwing all their money into a potentially hazardous situation -- love for these oddball currencies is waning. That isn't immediately going to fully solve the problem, however, as scalpers move in and buy the remaining stock when the costs are low, then list them as third-party sellers at inflated prices.
Pricing on graphics cards has risen so far above the suggested retail prices that NVIDIA released a statement asking their trading partners to prioritize gamers building new rigs over big mining operations. Essentially, they want sites to limit the number of graphics cards sold in single orders, or drop the prices altogether.
While the effectiveness of that plea is up in the air, prices are going to go down naturally either way. Fewer people are now buying graphics cards in bulk, so inventories are finally going up, which means prices have to eventually be slashed to move product.
1080s have already seen big drops from a normal cost of around $900 down to $600 in just a handful of weeks. The lower-end cards remain at higher-than-normal price points but are expected to drop in the coming months.
Here's the big issue, though -- prices may spike again, particularly if currencies like BitCoin and Ethereum see a sudden surge in value and the large mining operations ramp up activity again.
That's why you need to stay on top of all the best methods for finding the lowest price if you have any intention of building a new gaming computer or upgrading your existing machine this year. Here are all the tools you need to find the best price:
Read on for an in-depth look at each of these tools that can help you find a reasonable price on graphics cards.