NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Now Available At MSRP, Are GPU Prices Returning To Normal?

Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card
For the first time in a very long time, you can snag a custom GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card at the launch price NVIDIA set for its Founders Edition model when it debuted in September 2020. That's actually a deal, both in this landscape and considering that this is a factory overclocked model with a custom cooling solution.

The card in question is the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Gaming OC with a 3X Windforce cooling solution. It's currently on sale for $1,199.99 at Amazon (save $350 over its list price). That's supposed to be the starting price for the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (in reference form), but as we've seen over the past year-plus, graphics cards have been in short supply and commanding egregious premiums by marketplace sellers.

This particular model has never dropped below $1,300, and normally sold for around $1,450 to $1,550 throughout most of its time on the market, according to CamelCamelCamel's price tracking history. And it sold for as much as $1,699 at its highest point, at least at retail. As we have seen during the shortage, GPUs routinely commanded eye-popping prices at places like eBay at the height of the shortage.

Looking at this through a glass that's half empty, we can be salty that a high-end card selling at a reference MSRP a year and a half after launch can be considered a deal of sorts. That's completely valid, and it's definitely worth noting that a new generation of GPUs are on the horizon (Ada Lovelace for NVIDIA and RDNA 3 for AMD), plus Intel is entering the desktop graphics card market this summer.

These are not normal times, though, and as Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger recently warned, the global chip shortage could actually extend into 2024. At the same time, NVIDIA and its hardware partners recently launched a "Restocked and Reloaded" campaign for the GeForce RTX 30 series, and they all stand to look silly if the situation doesn't keep improving. Likewise, AMD sold some of its Radeon RX 6000 cards for MSRP at PAX East, perhaps suggesting that GPU prices and inventory levels are beginning to stabilize.

All that said, here are some of the better GPU listings right now, along with how the prices compare to reference MSRPs...
For the most part, there is still room for prices to improve, though there are some actual bargains like the PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 6900 XT—the custom card is selling for below AMD's reference MSRP right now.

Whether you should buy right now or wait for next-gen, that depends on your situation. If you're limping along and constantly having to tinker with settings just to get games to run smoothly, pulling the trigger now makes some sense. But if you're getting by and can hold out a little longer, it's worth seeing what the market bears in the latter half of the year.