Date: Friday , September 21, 2018
With everyone talking about the pricing of NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX cards, we figured it might be time to update the historical price analysis we did right after the GTX 1080 Ti launched. As with every new GPU launch the reactions in the HardForum Video Cards sub are always mixed. Some think the new pricing is too damn high! Others consider the RTX pricing to be well worth the performance you get. We thought it might be helpful to be able to do an Apples-to-Apples comparison based on GeForce card prices on launch day, going back to the GeForce 2 Ultra, launched in August of 2000. This will hopefully give you enough information to decide if the RTX pricing is in fact, "Too damn high!" or not. Value of course is in the eye of the beholder.
Our method is simple; pick NVIDIA's top end GPU introduction price for each era and estimate inflation using the Bureau of Labor and Statistics published values for the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) based on the launch date of each GPU. The end period used is August 2018, as these are the most recent published figures. (We doubt there has been much inflation since then, so we call it flat.) Once done, we figure out the price in August 2018 dollars for every card at launch, and chart those on a graph. Once again, the astute reader will notice that Titan cards are absent from this comparison. This was a conscious decision, as Titan cards appear to be in a "halo class" of their own, and the pricing doesn't seem to obey the normal laws of physics (err, normal pricing trends) resulting in the analysis looking odd. Titan cards are also not branded GeForce, GTX, or RTX, which further removes those from NVIDIA's main gaming GPUs. (Certainly though, these make great gaming cards if you have $3000 laying around.) We also made the conscious decision to start in 2000, as that seemed like a nice round year to start the analysis.
Let’s look at some data! The table and the chart are clickable to give you a much larger look at both.
When the GTX 1080 Ti launched in 2017, we drew the conclusion that its pricing was pretty much in line with NVIDIA’s historic pricing. Looking at the data today, it is difficult to draw that same conclusion about the RTX launch. The RTX 2080 doesn’t stand out much (though one can certainly argue about the value, or lack thereof) compared to the GTX 1080 Ti. Given that the 2080 is a tad bit faster than the 1080 Ti, it actually shows to be slightly cheaper than the 1080 Ti was at launch, when you figure in inflation. However, the RTX 2080 Ti is a bit of an outlier on our graph. We used to talk about how much of an outlier the 8800 GTX was, but even adjusted for inflation, the RTX 2080 Ti is the new GeForce cost king. Nvidia has surpassed its pricing peak, and not just by a little, but by around $150.
The red line on our chart is the linear trend line. It basically shows that NVIDIA launch cards over time are creeping up in price. We thought that was an interesting data point as well.
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