Now might be the best time to buy a GPU

0
24


DMegias / Shutterstock.com

You have noticed? In July 2022, GPU prices are finally reasonable. High GPU prices due to production shortages and increased demand from crypto miners are behind us, at least for now. If you’ve been waiting to upgrade, now might be the best time to buy. This is why.

Expires next crypto cycle

Historically, the Bitcoin market has operated in boom and bust cycles over time. The rest of the crypto market is closely tied to the value of Bitcoin, including Ethereum, which can still be mined with GPUs (despite the planned switch to proof-of-stake). The high demand for GPUs among crypto miners was one of the reasons GPU prices were so high until recently. When the cryptocurrency market crashed in June 2022, prices for new and used GPUs fell sharply (corresponding to lower demand). Suddenly you could find GPUs actually available in retail stores.

In the absence of major government regulation in the US and other countries, the cryptocurrency boom-and-bust cycle may continue into the future, with potentially even higher highs and bigger losses, if the cycle pattern continues. In other words, at some point, GPU prices could rise again when miner demand increases. Even if Ethereum does switch to proof-of-stake, some people believe that other types of proof-of-work crypto that can be mined on GPUs could take its place.

You may remember that NVIDIA tried to reduce the demand for their GPUs among miners by introducing Lite Hash Rate technology, but this has since been skipped, allowing miners to still use those graphics cards for mining. Beyond that, the relationship between consumer gaming GPUs and cryptocurrencies is complex because NVIDIA also produces GPUs specifically for cryptocurrency mining, which could affect overall production if GPU demand picks up again in the future.

Signs currently point to the fact that while there is a lull in the cryptocurrency market, it is probably an opportune time to upgrade to an older GPU in your gaming PC.

RELATED: What is “Ethereum 2.0” and will it solve Crypto’s problems?

A possible rise of AI

If crypto cycles weren’t enough for gamers to worry about, there’s an emerging trend of impressive creative AI tools on the scene, like OpenAI’s Dall-E 2 and GPT-3 (along with competing technology from Google and Meta) that are poised to achieve widespread adoption in the coming years. Compared to CPUs, GPUs are great for AI and deep learning tasks because their memory bandwidth and parallelism speed up the matrix multiplications that are at the core of many machine learning algorithms.

Currently, the data centers that power many cloud-based AI tools are full of specialized GPU cards for deep learning, both for training (when building a deep learning model) and for execution, where people request the model. to perform tasks. The demand for GPUs for AI applications is expected to grow dramatically in the near future across a wide range of industries. And while those data centers may not use consumer graphics cards, increased demand may affect the production capacity of consumer GPUs in the near future in the form of competition for similar resources.

Also, as machine learning algorithms become more efficient and efficient, it becomes possible to run more AI models locally on home computers. To do that at any speed, you need a good GPU (or some dedicated neural network circuitry) in your machine. For example, Topaz Labs’ GigaPixel AI image enhancement software relies on a GPU in your machine to speed up the process. Imaging and AI assistants may become essential productivity tools in the near future, putting additional pressure on the supply of chips and components in GPUs.

So what does the rise of AI mean for GPUs in a nutshell? As long as the chip shortage continues (as many experts expect), the average price of consumer graphics cards could rise in the future.

Wait for the next generation or buy now?

There are always upcoming entirely new GPU models on the way, and you might be tempted to wait for them. If you’ve paid a lot of money for a recent GPU in the last year, waiting might be a good idea. You can probably even skip the next generation of chips for another one to come. You’ll probably get years of good use out of your current (recent) GPU.

But if you have an older graphics card and have been waiting a long time to upgrade, you’ll get a huge boost buying any contemporary graphics card today, and you can feel good about the purchase while the price hovers around MSRP and on-hand stock. For example, we have a GTX 1060 on a machine that we just upgraded to an RTX 3060 for around $400. It felt like a very reasonable upgrade, and the card will be useful for years to come.

Of course, that’s just one example: Take a look at Amazon, Best Buy, or the store of your choice, and you’ll find plenty of GPUs at much more reasonable prices than just a few months ago.

Nobody can predict the future, but we can read the signs of the present. Judging from historical trends, GPU prices have been volatile and it can be said that graphics card prices are reasonable at the moment. So if you have an old GPU that needs to be upgraded, we think you wouldn’t make a mistake buying a new GPU today.

If you wait for the next generation of GPUs to be upgraded, or wait for any other reason, a natural disaster, an economic downturn, a chip shortage, a rise in cryptocurrencies, a race in AI applications, you sell the old fashioned , first-gen bugs, or other factors could horribly mess up your plans. Or maybe not, but you can’t lose if you get a great graphics card that you can use for years to come.

Good luck and stay safe out there!

RELATED: What is a GPU? Graphics Processing Units Explained