New mid-range GPUs from AMD and Nvidia are just around the corner, including the Nvidia RTX 4060 and RTX 4070 cards and AMD's Radeon RX 7800 and 7700. Well, we say mid-range and therein lies the problem. Where the heck are these graphics cards going to be priced?
All the indications are that the likes of Nvidia's TX 4080 (opens in new tab) and RTX 4070 Ti (opens in new tab) along with AMD's RX 7900 XT (opens in new tab) and RX 7900 XTX (opens in new tab) are pretty tough sells. After all, pretty much all of them have reverted to their official MSRP shortly after launch and they all seem to be in abundant supply.
That's without appealing to rumours of particularly poor sales of certain examples of those listed SKUs. Of course, the cheapest of that quartet is the Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti. But even that is a $799 graphics card.
What with a global economic downturn and cost of living crisis, plus crypto-fuelled GPU demand evaporating over night, in part thanks to the end of ethereum mining as we knew it, it's hard to imagine a sudden spike in graphics card demand to return any time soon.
Which begs the question of where AMD and Nvidia will position upcoming lower-tier boards. It certainly seems like they'll have to go for one of two unenviable options.
First, they could price the new boards pretty much in line with existing RTX 40- and RX 7000-series graphics cards. In other words, double down on the new 'normal' of super high graphics card prices. That would put a the mooted RTX 4070 at $649 or thereabout, the RX 7800 XT possibly a little higher, the RTX 4060 at maybe $499 and the RX 7700 XT in perhaps a similar ballpark.
Those figures may be slightly off. But the broad gist involves very expensive cards given their relatively lowly position in the pecking order. Who wants to pay $500 for an RTX 4060 (opens in new tab) which is rumoured to be based on the feeble AD107 chip? Yuck.
The other option is to revert to what you might call traditional market positioning for these GPUs. That means much lower pricing compared to existing releases from the latest GPU architectures. Which in turn will make those existing next-gen cards look even worse value than they already do.
Then what? Slash prices of the RTX 4080 and RX 7900 cards? Or leave them looking like rip-off boards? It really is hard to see how AMD and Nvidia navigate out of this corner they've painted themselves into without either a massive climbdown or accepting dramatically lower unit sales.
The situation will only be worse if Intel's upcoming Battlemage family of GPUs really does arrive early next year and offer RTX 4080 / RX 7900 levels of performance for far less money, as some sources suggest (opens in new tab). Whatever happens, it's going to be a bit ugly.
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