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Feature Article

PSA: Do NOT Buy A Graphics Card Today (Thanks, Cryptocurrency)

Due to the cryptocurrency craze, which is skyrocketing the price of graphics cards, now is a really bad time to buy a GPU.

Update: This article has been updated to include the video above.

If you haven't followed the price of graphics cards lately, or are oblivious to the price of GPUs and are thinking about buying one, then we've got an important PSA for you: Now is a really bad time to buy a GPU.

Graphics card prices have skyrocketed because GPUs are so effective at mining cryptocurrency, which has gained a lot of traction in recent months. To get a gauge for the price discrepancy, let's look at the GTX 1080 Ti; the lowest you can find Nvidia's flagship gaming card online right now is $1,350, which is roughly twice the card's MSRP. The situation is arguably worse on the AMD side. The 4GB version of the RX 580, which carries an MSRP of $200, is going for roughly 2.5x as much online currently. The following chart encapsulates modern GPU MSRP against their current, lowest street prices.

GPUMSRPStreet Price
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti$700$1,350
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080$550$1,100
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti$450$800
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070$380$900
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060$250$400
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti$150$185
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050$110$140
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64$500$1,500
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56$400NA
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB$229$540
AMD Radeon RX 580 4GB$200$495
AMD Radeon RX 570$170$476

Lowest prices reflect time of publish.

As you can see from the comparative chart above, the pricing surge has affected all GPU sectors. Even lower-end cards like the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 are well above MSRP, albeit less so than the higher-end cards. Not only are GPU prices sky high right now, but cards like the RX Vega 56 are currently completely sold out everywhere.

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While it's possible to find some high-end gaming GPUs near MSRP if you're vigilant, the windows of opportunity are small. One way to skirt around this issue if you are thinking about building a gaming PC with a new GPU is to buy a prebuilt system.

When we met with system vendor CyberPower PC at CES, the company revealed to us that it, along with many other system vendors, have strict GPU pricing guidelines. This effectively means they can't over-inflate the price of its systems based on the street prices of graphics cards.

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Historically, it's generally been cheaper to build a PC than to buy a pre-built system, but that has changed in today's climate. While we think you should learn how to build a PC as it can be very rewarding and educational, there's no shame in purchasing a pre-built system, especially right now when they're largely unaffected by the current cost-prohibitive price of GPUs.

To exemplify this, we tried recreating CyberPower PC's Z370 i5 configuration. CyberPower PC's rig costs $1,169 and comes with AMD's 4GB Radeon RX 580 GPU. When we spec'd out the build ourselves using the cheapest prices found on Newegg and Amazon, our total came out to $1,322. That's $144 more than CyberPower PC's price. On top of that, it doesn't come with the company's warranty and customer support.

ComponentPrice
OSWindows 10 Home (64-bit Edition)$120
CaseIN WIN 101 w/ Tempered Glass$70
CPUIntel® Core Processor i5-8600K$257
CPU coolerCorsair Hydro Series H60$65
MotherboardMSI Z370 - A Pro ATX$100
RAM8GB (4GBx2) DDR4/3000MHz dual channel memory (ADATA XPG Z1)$103
GPUAMD Radeon RX 580 4GB$495
PSU600 watt PSU 80 Plus certified$45
HDD1TB 7,200RPM HDD$67
Total $1,322

Prices reflect time of publish.

If you still really want to build a new gaming rig yourself, we suggest you use browser extensions like Honey to provide you with alerts on GPU price drops. As for when graphics cards will come down to normal MSRP levels, only time will tell.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

jimmythang

Jimmy Thang

Hi! I'm Jimmy Thang and I'm GameSpot's Tech Editor!
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deactivated-5af82ae055ed8

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Just let the graphics cards collect dust till the price drops. If I have to wait 1+ year then so be it.

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Scotty_boombatii

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God please bring the value of playing video games for 6 to 8 hours a day up so that I can continue to afford to waste my life away.

God Forbid that such Computing devices are used to make money by smart people.

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Stinger2016

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It’s simple ,,,, don’t upgrade your computer till the price drops.let the video cards collect dust.

Also having a power supply shortage another issue seems kinda weird.

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illegal_peanut

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God... If you can hear me... I'm praying to you... Please let bitcoin become worthless in all countries. And bring this BS to an end.

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analgrin

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@illegal_peanut: lol, You know there are over 1000 different crypto-currencies to take it's place at the top if it does fall.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@illegal_peanut: It should be banned in any country that has an ounce of sanity.

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Chiyou

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@deviltaz35: Why? because it takes power out of the few and puts it in a decentralized system that benefits everyone instead of a select few? Research it before you go shouting ridiculous things like this.

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Jmangamer85

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i was able to do a build i checked out ebay i found a 960 4g 55 dollars i put a 750 power supply from evga 80 plus bronze. so when this craze ends and get the card for right price

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jknight5422

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With enough pump & dump scams happening with cryptocurrency, hopefully it won't be long before it gets shutdown in the States. They'll just shut it down rather than having to constantly throw these crooks in jail (and the ones that keep it up, will hopefully have longer years in prison).

That being said, just buy last year's video card. The bitcoin mining is such that older cards are usually obsolete, so I'll assume if there are any cards available from last year, they'll be cheaper because it won't appeal to cryptocurrency-tards.

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PCGameboy

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Micro Center will sell Graphic Cards at MSRP if you buy if for gaming, and not mining. http://www.pcgamer.com/micro-center-will-sell-you-a-graphics-card-at-msrp-if-its-for-gaming-instead-of-mining/?utm_content=buffer632f6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=buffer_pcgamerfb

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alexmalm

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Edited By alexmalm

CDW might still have good prices.

https://m.cdw.com/product/EVGA-GeForce-GTX-1080-ACX-3.0-graphics-card-GF-GTX-1080-8-GB/4217920

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FLOPPAGE_50

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Edited By FLOPPAGE_50

hrmm.. and here I had dozens of PC fanboys telling me not to buy an XB1X because it's "cheap" to build a gaming PC.

1300 dollars gets me that rig above? no thanks.

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wexorian

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@FLOPPAGE_50: Ohh pleasee Shove that X one where you need it, Shitbox fanboy, since you like calling people fanboys that fits to you, :)

As of when they told you, Prices were Low and not this situation.

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willnulife

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Edited By willnulife

@FLOPPAGE_50: Yep. Even at PC MSRP prices, the X is an incredible deal. Now this.

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PCGameboy

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Edited By PCGameboy

@willnulife: At MSRP it was MUCH easier to build a PC near the XBox X, and i would easily recommended someone to spend the extra $100-200 to get a more consistent experience, where you can actual get TRUE 4k in every game, not dynamic, with little control over anything to get the experience they wanted. Now, it's a bit harder to do. For now at least.

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pelvist

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Edited By pelvist

@FLOPPAGE_50: The article is advising people to wait for prices to go back to how they should be. If you'd have bought a PC when the "PC fanboys" advised you to then you'd be quids in now with your video card. Cant expect too much from someone that buys into XBOX though can we eh?

A PC is as good as you want it to be and that can be expensive but you can do infinitely more with a PC than you can with any console so you get more for your money either way. An XBOX One part 2 is only as good as a 2-3 year old gaming PC with a CPU that performs like a ten year old PC CPU and also, it has no games.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@pelvist: Hmm odd as i have 190 games installed on my Xbox One X . It also has quite a few games that run in 60 fps mode as well as 4k . I have a PC as well but not looking to upgrade that at the moment as the 980ti is still good enough for most games on my 1440p screen.

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pelvist

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Edited By pelvist

@deviltaz35: How many of those games are not XBOX 360 or XBOX One games that are "up-scaled" for XBOX One part 2? XBOX One X has no games of its own, only up-scaled XBOX 360 and XBOX One games. Id be surprised if Xbox 360 ports didnt run at 60fps on a console released in the last 5 years.

Since you're claiming to be a PC gamer as well you'll know how hard it isnt for a dev team to upscale a game to look better on your newer video card - it takes no effort at all since the hardware you upgraded handles it. Thats how much effort is put into ports of XBOX games on Xbox One part 2. They're selling the same game twice while sticking an X on the XBOX One retail box.

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animatrix999

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Edited By animatrix999

They should just make cryptocurrency illegal already.

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deactivated-5af82ae055ed8

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@animatrix999: Worldwide ban, where can I sign!

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lion2447

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@animatrix999: Unfortunetely, it's not possible. All the coins are decentralized, so if one country tries to ban them, they will pop up in another.

In Canada, I know that the coins are legal there. They are considered stock trade and subject to capital gains tax. If you are paying the correct taxes on them, then they are legal to use and trade. I've also read that many big mining companies are trying to get into Quebec. The province has ample power available and it is cheaper than many other places where current mining operations are.

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TRMDYL

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@animatrix999: no

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wicked_laugh

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It isn't just GPUs, memory has jumped drastically as well. The 16 gigs (2*8 Gskill Ripjaws) I bought back in 2016 is not selling for 2.5 times what I bought it for.

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Sushiglutton

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Edited By Sushiglutton

Damn. I really need to upgrade my old 580, now I've waited too long :(. Gonna stick with my Ps4, which is fine of course. Hope crypto crashes.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@Sushiglutton: Damn that was a good card for so long hey :) . I remember being envious of one of those years ago.

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wexorian

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@Sushiglutton: That's better deal for now or GET 1050 costs 150-160.

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wexorian

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@sellingthings: No it does not, but what ever makes you happy :)

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lynxonicus

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Edited By lynxonicus

Australia has been paying these prices since day one, don't sook now. Yes there certainly is a difference in dollar, but due to the import taxes and all the other BS, plus our local retailers trying to make a buck, we get screwed over. So this is kind of satisfying to see america get a taste of paying an extreme price for their wants.

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orbit991

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@lynxonicus: So because you have it bad, others should have it bad, not a attitude that will help you in life.

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addicted2088

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Seriously! Amazon India had a nice discount on the MSI Armor 1080 in August 2017 and I bought one. Turned out to be one of those units with coil whine, but I thought I'd go with it as I had no time for returns or talking to MSI then. I go online a few days back and check out the prices again, and the same card is almost 1.5x costlier. This cryptocurrency wave is sure going to make GPU purchases an issue.

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Tomcat2007

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Sounds like a good time for Microsoft to write a cryptocurrency mining app for Xbox One X!

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Cbordi

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holy shit, 3 times the price for the Vega? guess I'll wait until black friday...

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jyml8582

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First time in my life to see jacked up GPU prices even for 1.5 year old cards.

GOOD THING I BUILT MY GTX1080FTW SLI RIG IN SUMMER OF 2016.

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sharpshooter188

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LOL Well f that then. Guess Im not upgrading my rig any time soon. Thanks you mining f***s.

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deactivated-5af82ae055ed8

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@sharpshooter188: I am going to stay console until the price drops.

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deactivated-5aa080b4ab96f

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@sharpshooter188: You and me both

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TyroneFonsworth

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Edited By TyroneFonsworth

@customx5: I'm lucky. I got a 1080ti a couple of months prior to this madness.

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sharpshooter188

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@tyronefonsworth How does the mining thing work anyway? It kind of perplexes me how video cards are involved with this.

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deactivated-5aa080b4ab96f

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@tyronefonsworth: I wanted to get one too but couldn’t afford it at the time.