It’s a strange time to be building a gaming PC. On the one hand, you can finally buy a graphics card after 18 months or more of shortages and inflated prices. Yippee! Plus you have the choice of the best CPUs, RAM sticks, and SSDs to ever hit the market to go with it. On the other hand, the next generation of GPUs from both AMD and Nvidia are expected to be announced later this year, and surely these will make mincemeat of the current generation.
So then, do you buy an RTX 30-series or RX 6000-series now or wait for the powerful RTX 40-series and RX 7000-series to arrive? There are a few things you should consider when making this decision.
The single-most important among them: your budget.
If you have a budget of around $700 or more for your graphics card then you’re probably going to want to wait. While it’s true that the price of an RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090 Ti has dropped in the past few months (opens in new tab), these are the cards most at risk of being replaced imminently, and with new GPUs that may well make a mockery of their performance-per-dollar.
The enthusiast high-end cards are usually the first to arrive on the scene at launch, and when they do, Nvidia and AMD have a track record of absolutely obliterating their best from the generation before. To give some sort of idea of how obliterated they may well be: The RTX 4070, the specs of which are still very much up in the air today, is rumoured to be on the level with the RTX 3090 Ti (opens in new tab). Even if it doesn’t quite get there, we’re still talking ultra-enthusiast 4K gaming from a far cheaper GPU than you’d have to buy for the same performance today.
If you’re looking further down the stack, however—say around the $400 mark or less—you’re probably not going to see these cards being replaced for some time. It was five months between the release of the RTX 3090 and RTX 3060 (opens in new tab), and the RTX 3050 (opens in new tab) wasn’t released until nearly a year after that. If the same cadence is adhered to for this launch then we might not see an RTX 4050 until 2024.
The other thing to consider is whether we’ll actually see a major launch for the next-gen anytime this year. Nvidia is facing a backlog of inventory (opens in new tab) it needs to sell through before it can really take on stock of new cards ready for launch, and that could see the whole next-gen process delayed further into next year. Current rumours suggest the RTX 4090 may be the only card to launch this year (opens in new tab), with other high-end cards like the RTX 4070 and RTX 4080 coming next year, followed by the rest.
AMD appears to be fairing a little better with inventory (opens in new tab) and thus could launch in a timely manner.
But if you’ve made it this far and haven’t been tempted by the promise of unreleased cards, here are some of the graphics card deals I could find that are actually worth buying right now. I’m mainly looking for entry-level and mid-range cards priced at under MSRP or close to, and here’s what I’ve found.
AMD GPU deals
Nvidia GPU deals
GPU MSRP list
Here’s a list of the manufacturer set retail prices (MSRP), or recommended retail price (RRP), for most the latest graphics cards. For the most part, these are the set prices for the stock or reference versions of these cards, if applicable, and not representative of overclocked or third-party graphics cards, which may well be priced higher.