The Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti went on the market this morning and — no shock — it offered out instantly. On one hand, it’s simply one other signal of the occasions. It’s yet one more highly effective graphics card that players will largely not have entry to.
But as the primary high-end graphics card to launch because the GPU scarcity began, there’s one thing much more troubling concerning the RTX 3080 Ti: The worth.
Earlier than it was introduced, the cardboard was rumored to value $1,000. That may put it at $300 greater than the RTX 3080 and would match AMD’s top-end card, the Radeon RX 6800 XT. As an alternative, it launched at an eye-watering $1,200.
That’s considerably cheaper than the $1,500 RTX 3090, sure. Nonetheless, for a efficiency enchancment of simply 5% to fifteen% over the RTX 3080 and a worth enhance of virtually double — a 72% premium to be actual — the $699 non-Ti variant, the mathematics doesn’t add up. Nvidia cranked up the worth with out sufficiently cranking up efficiency. What’s the deal?
Capitalizing on the scarcity
In truth, upgrading to the $1,499 RTX 3090 would not less than make you much more future-proof. It has double the video reminiscence of the RTX 3080 Ti and may help 8K gaming by way of the wizardry of Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling expertise. That’s not one thing players ought to most likely purchase, however it does fill a gap available in the market for trade professionals who want the additional video reminiscence.
The RTX’s exorbitant pricing right here might be chalked as much as one among three issues. First, within the midst of the worldwide semiconductor scarcity that’s wreaking havoc on GPU makers, together with rival AMD, pricing the cardboard too low might create a scenario the place demand overwhelms the corporate’s manufacturing capabilities. That may be probably the most beneficiant evaluation of the pricing scenario, giving Nvidia the advantage of the doubt.
The second rationalization is that with the latest launches of the RTX 3080 and AMD’s newest Radeon RX 6000 sequence playing cards, players have been spoiled by how far more reasonably priced these 4K-capable GPUs have grow to be, particularly in comparison towards costlier playing cards from the earlier generations that did much less. Nonetheless, the RTX 3080 Ti, which is designed as a real inheritor to the prior gen’s RTX 2080 Ti, is priced precisely the identical as its predecessor. In truth, when the price of inflation is factored in, the $1,199 RTX 2080 Ti from its 2018 launch would value $1,261 at present, making the RTX 3090 some $60 cheaper! Nvidia actually has little incentive to go any cheaper given historic pricing.
What’s an additional $200?
The remaining attainable rationalization is the least favorable for Nvidia. Players and creators working from dwelling through the international pandemic have been clamoring for Nvidia’s GeForce options, and the corporate might have needed to capitalize on the demand to warrant a big worth premium. When the corporate unveiled its GeForce RTX 3000 sequence lineup initially, retailers for the GPUs claimed that demand for the cardboard at launch outpaced historic GPU searches through the Black Friday buying vacation.
“On the day of our RTX 3000 launch, [we’ve seen] 10 occasions the site visitors of earlier launches, and retailers all over the world simply skilled actually unprecedented demand, with lots of them telling us that they had been seeing site visitors that exceeded Black Friday,” Nvidia’s Justin Walker instructed us in a previous convention name forward of the launch of the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti launch.
Nobody’s going to bat a watch paying an additional $200 for the most popular new graphics card, particularly when older playing cards have been promoting for double the retail worth in secondary markets. In different phrases, Nvidia knew it might cost extra and successfully promote out of its inventory. Nvidia’s backside line doesn’t distinguish between scalpers and precise players.
There’s no straightforward resolution to repair the worldwide chip scarcity, and combating off scalpers is an equally daunting problem. It’s laborious guilty Nvidia for pricing up its merchandise just because it could possibly, however Nvidia’s case for caring about players has by no means been weaker.