The turbulence in the video card market has been unprecedented the last couple years. Prices have skyrocketed and even with high prices stock is very scarce. There are several causes including crypto mining, chip shortages, and the pandemic. The result has just been a mess for computer enthusiasts.
Gamers have been especially hard hit. I’ve built computers for many years and the cost of a quality video card has always been significant, but never at recent levels. The better video cards cost more than all the other computer components in a build combined!
And gamers aren’t the only ones getting hit. Processors with built in graphics used to be common and useful for lower powered machines. Recently they have become harder to find and more expensive.
Hope on the Horizon
However there appears to be hope. I’ll fully admit I’m no longer a hard core gamer. So I’m not always up on the latest and hottest video card. However I have noticed the market has begun to open up.
I’m a regular customer of Newegg and get most of my components there. A few months back I was looking for a mid level video card – something in the $200-$300 range. There was little available. I always watch for sales and whenever anything decent went on sale it was sold out within minutes of being announced.
When I search Newegg today there were lots of options available, and most appeared to be in stock. The options are not cheap, but at least there is something available.
Prices Should Fall
I’m thinking prices should come down as more stock becomes available. The pandemic and chip shortage are not over but manufacturers are slowly increasing output. The recent slowing and possible saturation of the crypto market is making mining less attractive. So video cards are less in demand from that source.
Some General Notes ABout Video Cards
Beware of Used Video Cards
I’m reading that a lot of worn out cards are showing up from the crypto miners. So beware of used cards and make sure you know the source.
Fans Seem to Be Weak Point
For lower end cards the fans seem to be the weak point. And they are not easy to replace since they are usually soldered to the card’s circuit board. I’ve had good luck with a heat sink, rather than fan cooled boards. Again this is for lower power cards, as the higher end cards need one to three fans to keep cool.
If you do your research there always seems to be a “sweet spot” in the pricing. The latest cards are very expensive, and there is a next level down adequate for most gamers. Below that is where I usually find the “sweet spot.” This is usually ok for basic gaming and fine for most other uses. Finally there is the bottom level of “cheap” cards. These are useful as a replacement for CPUs that used to contain integrated graphics but no longer do.
Gamers – Middle High Ground
As mentioned above there is a “gamers sweet spot” that will satisfy all but the most hard core gamers. Game producers have to fully support this level so they have a large enough audience for their games.
Time will tell what will happen with the video card market!
Photo by SKY GPU on Unsplash