The long-awaited flagship graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia this year are not normal. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect them to be. In 2020, AMD has finally shown it has the potential to catch up with Nvidia in terms of raw gaming performance, and of course Nvidia is desperate to hold on to that lead.
Inflated more than inflation
But as a result, both companies’ new GPUs have bloated in ways we’ve never seen. They have inflated more than inflation itself. They’re suddenly both much more expensive and physically huge in ways we haven’t seen this decade, if ever.
Here I made a table to show you:
We’re in the midst of a dramatic economic downturn, even an outright recession — we’ve had 15 to 16% inflation since 2020, when Nvidia and AMD released their latest flagship GPUs. But the starting price of the RTX 4080 is 71.5% more expensive than the RTX 3080. AMD’s 7900 XT is 38.5% more expensive than the 6800 XT.
When my colleague Tom reviewed Nvidia’s new graphics card, he found it 50% faster than the previous generation, but such gains are not unheard of from generation to generation without a corresponding increase in price. And I would say the performance is almost irrelevant. Nvidia and AMD regularly release ultra-enthusiast class GPUs like the 3090 Ti or Titan with excessive memory and/or exotic cooling for those who will pay for every bit of performance, but the 4080 and 7900 XT aren’t the ones : they’re the “normal” flagships, and both companies are now targeting this type of GPU at a more exclusive audience.
Performance doesn’t matter if you can’t afford a $1000 GPU at all or if you can’t afford to scale it to your case – again, the bulk of these GPUs has also increased by 30-60% in a single generation (2.5 slots or even 3 GPU slots are the new norm, apparently).
We had already seen nearly every third-party GPU vendor selling these companies’ latest generation chips on cards with inflated prices and sizes, but I had hoped that Nvidia and AMD themselves would stick with it. As one reader suggestsmaybe the high prices are just meant to steer players towards excess stock of latest generation GPUs from these companiesbut it sets a bad precedent anyway.
I can only hope that this bloat doesn’t carry over to the rest of the Nvidia and AMD GPU lines. It was amazing to watch the Renaissance over the past decade in portable and affordable products small form factor pcand trends like these make them less viable. If I can’t stick a future 5060 Ti or 8700 XT in a deliciously small case in 2025, I’m probably going to cry.