Up For Debate - Has Nvidia Been Driving Up Graphics Card Prices, or is this Just a Myth?

Written by Stuart Thomas on Mon, Dec 25, 2017 11:00 AM

There’s a general consensus doing the rounds that Nvidia’s domination in the graphics card market has effectively lead to untethered pricing. Is this really true though? It’s easy to get distracted by the skyrocketing prices, yet the finger of blame must inevitably point to cryptocurrency miners. In fact, looking at Nvidia’s historical GPU pricing strategy, where we’re at right now is pretty much a flat pricing strategy for the last few years.

The general issue with pricing often comes up with any new graphics card release. The recently unveiled Nvidia Titan V is an outlier though, the Titan range not really at all indicative of the pricing of Nvidia’s main GeForce gaming graphics cards. When the likes of the GeForce GTX 10 Series came out though, there was a general outcry about Nvidia’s harsh pricing. The truth of the matter is - graphics cards are at the forefront of technology. If you want the latest and greatest, it is of course exorbitantly expensive. It’s easy to look at the $700 price point of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and gasp in shock. Yet this is the exact same price point as the GeForce GTX 780 Ti launched for in 2013, making the 1080 Ti some $30 cheaper in real terms.

A lot of what we think of Nvidia’s pricing comes down to perspective. If you’re buying your first new graphics card in a while then yes, the price has gone up. Around the turn of the current decade, GPU pricing hit a low point. The (at the time) top of the range GeForce GTX 480, Geforce GTX 580 and GeForce GTX 680 all launched at $500. If you’re used to spending $500 on a top-of-the-range GPU then sure, the $600 GeForce GTX 1080 begins to look expensive. Spare a thought for those of us who lived through 2007 though. The GeForce 8800 Ultra cost an astonishing $850 at launch, which as HardOCP contributor ‘Zarathustra’ discovered is equivalent to $992.61 today.

Naturally, actually getting graphics cards for their advertised MSRP is easier said than done. There’s little Nvidia can do about spiraling demand from crypto miners and the subsequent price gouging from third-party resellers. Nor is there much Nvidia can do about fluctuating currency valuations, an issue which has whacked a considerable premium on GPUs here in the UK since the Brexit referendum.

All Team Green can do is keep bringing out graphics cards covering the entire range of price points, from the $70 GeForce GT 1020 all the way up to the $700 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. The one remaining wrinkle is, of course, AMD, who must provide decent competition in order to keep Nvidia’s pricing strategy in check. Down at the lower end, AMD has most definitely done that. Getting hold of a high-end Vega GPU for a reasonable price is a different story though. It can be done, but you’ll need your wits about you.

At the end of the day, graphics cards are a premium product. If you want the absolute best, you’re going to have to fork out a wedge of cash. There is an argument to be made that Nvidia has helped shift the so-called ‘sweet spot’ up with the GeForce GTX 10 Series, effectively shunting the GeForce GTX 1060 up to the previous x70 pricing, yet the lower down the pecking order you get, the better value your purchase will be.

Do you agree that prices of graphics cards have remained much the same? Or do you believe Nvidia has been price gouging in recent generations due to the lack of competition? Let us know your thoughts below!

Has Nvidia been price gouging with recent GPUs?

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14:34 Jan-04-2018

Yup prices increasing drastically

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16:17 Dec-27-2017

Nvidia is raising prices on their gpu's, we used to get top of the line cards for 500-600 ,eg 580, but now we get a mid range gpu P104 (1080) and not the p100 which is business tesla p100. The highest we have is p102 which is 1080 ti.

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09:30 Dec-27-2017

The chart doesn't make any sense whatsoever or lets just say ''wrong chart'' with erong info!

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09:54 Dec-27-2017

Yes it does, do the math yourself.

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19:48 Dec-26-2017

yes, but that isn't the most pressing factor here; Nvidia could have price the 1070 at launch 35 to 40% higher than the price RX 480 when it was released and make about the same on each card as AMD does with the 480, the reasons why is that GP016 is 35ish% larger (assuming silicon cost is constant) than P10 and GP106 cards have the same memory bus width as P10, ergo, the cost of getting memory is the same if not very close for building a P10 card and a 1070(ti)

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17:02 Dec-26-2017

I'm having a bit of an issue. I wanted to buy the VEGA 56, but to do so at the moment would be just ridiculous. On the other hand, going for a 1070Ti goes against all nature, since that card wouldn't even be in existence weren't it for the VEGA 56, which I find very dirty on Nvidia's behalf.


Basically I'm stuck. Freesync monitor, wanting 1440p, but no GPU to go with it and I need one soon-help

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21:12 Dec-26-2017

Try the Vega 56, pair it with a decent 1440p Freesync monitor and you'll have a much smoother frame rate. AMD is also improving drivers and game support so your gaming performance will only get better ;)

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16:53 Dec-27-2017

I'd very much love to but not at a 600 -650 EUR price mark :s


Cheapest I can find today is 530 EUR w/o transportcosts, which still puts it 130 EUR above MSRP - and that's for the standard non-AIB cards (and none in stock...)
Watercooled 64 = 1348 EUR = 1602 USD . . .

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08:14 Dec-26-2017

Of course they have, but do NOT leave AMD out of it either.


A GPUs(or any micro-chips) price is determined by three things. Die size, failure rate and R&D costs, now the fourth is wafer cost, but it has stayed the same when we take inflation into a count. That being said my favorite and most overkill examples are 2 actually, 1x from AMD and 1x from Nvidia.


First the gtx 1080. The last HIGH-END GTX x80 GPU was the gtx 580 which came out costing 500$ which as stated above is 554$ today, the gtx 1080 is NOT a HIGH-END GPU, it NEVER was, the gtx 1080 is a mid-range GPU and it came out at a price of 700$... the gtx 1080 equivalent from the gtx 500 series would be the gtx 560.

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08:18 Dec-26-2017

Let's compare the cost factors mentioned above between the gtx 1080 and gtx 560:
gtx 1080 -> 312mm2 Die size(lower=better=cheaper), 12% failure rate(low=better=cheaper), the R&D of Pascal was record low since the Tesla(or whatever the architecture before Fermi was). Came out at a price of 700$...


gtx 560 -> 332mm2 die size, >30% failure rate, 33-40% of the company's money went to R&D during this period of which 80% went for Fermi, the card costed 250$ at launch or about 300$ if it came this year.


After Maxwell, Nvidia started developing 2x different future architectures than pascal and allocated most of the resources to them, unlike before where they would develop 2x architectures, one being the next and the second being the one after the next, like AMD still do, so cheap R&D...

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08:25 Dec-26-2017

EVERYTHING indicated that the gtx 560 should be more expensive than the gtx 1080 at launch, but nope... the gtx 1080 costed 2.5 times more with inflation taken into a count...


my second favorite example was the hd7970, it costed 550$ at launch in late 2011, while it's equivalent in cost to the company(die size, from the previous generation was the hd 6970 costed 350$ at launch in late 2010, there is barely any inflation from 2010 to 2011 so yeah... the hd 6970 had a 389mm2 die, about 20% failure rate and a much more expensive R&D, even AMD admitted that since GCN(including) they have more than halved the R&D budget for the GPUs. I think they even released a chart with that... so yeah... the hd6970 costed 350$ at launch...

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08:25 Dec-26-2017

the hd 7970 has 352mm2 die size, again about 20% failure rate and again the R&D was much lower... it costed 550$(1.6x times more than the hd 6970) at launch and that is ONLY 1x year later... and on top of that the performance was only 40% more, talk about bad value.

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08:43 Dec-26-2017

P.S. THIS DOES NOT TAKE MINERS INTO A COUNT, they made things even more overpriced.

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14:16 Dec-25-2017

I miss the times were a 100 buck hd 5770 was being able to play all the things on high settings and now 10 bucks cards get medium on indi games.


Jokes aside the 1050ti is still a fair deal since everything got more expensive its still awesome to play all games on med-hi for about 150

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22:25 Dec-25-2017

The X50 and X50 TI cards are pretty much always a good value.... I loved my GTX 650 and GTX 750 TI..... though I do wish I'd waited a bit longer on that 750 TI, because not long after its release, the price of the R9 270 and R9 270X came down a bunch, and both were much better cards.... before crypto sent prices sky high, the RX 470 was a much better buy than the 1050 TI because far more powerful, and could be had for very close to the same money, but that isn't the case any more lol.

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01:34 Dec-26-2017

Bro, we all miss the times when 400$ pc was able to play all the upcoming games for next 2-3 years. Times never change... People and their greed do.

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13:40 Dec-25-2017

I got the perfect message in way of a song for Nvidia.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMwcsIY1GYE
LOL, MERRY F!@#ING CHRISTMAS EVERYONE:D

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12:18 Dec-25-2017

Inflation, the lack of competition, raw materials, political instability near raw material sources, increasing demand (we have miners around now) compared to limited available raw materials and/or production capacity, etc and etc. You name it, lots of factors.

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21:07 Dec-25-2017

Exactly. Just like the high (V)RAM prices nowadays because of the DRAM chip scarcity

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22:17 Dec-25-2017

It baffles me that about a year ago i could buy a stick of 8gb DDR4 for 60€ and now they nearly doubled the price, holy...

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08:04 Dec-26-2017

I bought mine 16gb kit for just 122e. Now my friend who was building a new rig bought the same exact ram kit (in red leds thou) for like 210e....

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21:19 Dec-26-2017

I bought my 16GB package for £120


...in 2015

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22:41 Dec-26-2017

i bought a 16 Gb of DDR3 RAM for 72€ on 2011 (Corsair Vengeance), this november buyed 16Gb of DDR4 RAM for 140€ (Ripjaws)


literally doubled the price since then, and i even think that i got the Ripjaws a good price, now in amazon they cost the heart-breaking quantity of 210€, ****ing crazy stuff.

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11:54 Dec-25-2017

Here's a problem with your comparison.
The GTX 980Ti has the full Maxwell chip build into it, the GM100.
Because of this you only get a handful of chips suitable for the 980Ti from a single wafer. THIS is why the price of the GTX 980Ti was justified.
The GTX 1080Ti on the other hand, doesn't have the full Pascal chip build into it. It only has a cut down version of the PM100 chip build into it, the PM102. Because this is a cut down version, you can get more chips suitable for a GTX 1080Ti from a single wafer, since they don't have to be 100%. -->

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11:56 Dec-25-2017

--> This is why the GTX 1080Ti doesn't deserve to have a price tag that high attached to it.
The 1080Ti should be at least $50 less expensive than the 980Ti, but it's $50 more expensive than it.
The 1080Ti is simply not worth it's money.

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11:34 Dec-25-2017

I don't think they ever stopped, to be able to start again.

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11:26 Dec-25-2017

If I'm completely honest....I think computing now is far far far more affordable than it ever has been in history..... I remember when you couldn't touch a PC of ANY kind for under $2000, and now you have the option to spend whatever you can afford, from a $60 tablet with an Atom CPU running Windows 10 up to a tens of thousands of dollars enthusiast rig.... and the cool thing is, ALL can be used for PC gaming as long as you keep your expectations realistic.... when have we EVER had it this good?

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11:31 Dec-25-2017

Not to mention being able to throw together a pretty competent low spec gaming rig from ebay parts for as little as $30.... You couldn't match a deal like that back in the day even with the more consumer oriented micros like the C64, Speccys, Ataris, TRS-80s, and Amstrads.

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21:44 Dec-25-2017

Yea now we have alot more options

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18:32 Dec-26-2017

yeah but those PCs for 2000$ actually got their performance increased 2-5x times each generation(18-24 months), while nowadays you get a 40% improvement for GPUs and 5-15% improvement on CPUs every generation...

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11:11 Dec-25-2017

"Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man"


Ronald Reagan

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13:30 Dec-25-2017

as a matter of fact, that is the same guy who introduced trickle down policy to help the rich get even richer

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11:07 Dec-25-2017

Nvidia is a big corp. What do big corps want? gasp Money.. nooo waaayy.. there's your answer.

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Core i7-11800H 8-Core 1.90GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i5-6260U 1.8GHz UHD Graphics 620 12GB
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Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Gigabyte Windforce OC 16GB
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Core i5-3470 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Inno3D Compact 3GB 12GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
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Core i7-10750H 6-Core 2.60GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB
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Core i7-3770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 MSI Ventus XS OC 4GB 16GB
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Core i5-10300H 4-Core 2.50GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB 16GB
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Ryzen 5 3500 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Super Zotac Gaming AMP 6GB 16GB
50% Yes [6 votes]