With new models always being released and prices constantly changing, it can be very difficult to know when best to upgrade your GPU.
If you’ve been considering taking that leap of faith in the near future, it would make sense to do it sooner rather than later. As the technology becomes more outdated, the prices will drop over time. Two of the biggest makers of GPUs, AMD and Nvidia, won’t be releasing any new hardware in the near future.
Launches for new products are expected around the summer. In the meantime, new and slightly older models are available to rapidly accelerate your computer’s graphics and image processing.
Nvidia released their next generation RTX 20-series in August 2018, upgrading from the GTX 1070 and 1080 which were released in May 2016. Additions to the GPU were ray tracing and light rendering techniques for super realistic graphics. The GeForce RTX 2070 will set you back £549, the 2080 £749 and the 2080 Ti will cost £1,099.
This year they released the RTX 2060, adding ray tracing capability to your computer for considerably less money that the 2080 models. It will set you back just £330 and seems like a sensible decision if you’re building a gaming PC on a budget.
If you’re not too bothered about the ray tracing (a rendering technique that generates an image by tracing its path of light), you can still pick up an older GPU from the GTX 10-series.
You can expect 60 frames per second (fps) in 1080p from any of the cards from the series, with the 1080 and 1080 Ti offering 30fps in 4K Ultra settings. While they might be outdated compared to the new series, it can offer a cheaper alternative while still getting some impressive graphics. The cheapest GPU from the 10-series, the 1070 starts at just £330.
A final option is the GTX 1660 Ti also released this year. It uses newer architecture compared to the 1070, while costing less money. Specifically £80 cheaper at £250. As time goes on, prices for the cards will get cheaper as new cards continue to get released.
From AMD, there are also a couple of options to consider. Announced at CES 2019, the Radeon VII is the world’s first gaming graphics card manufactured using a 7nm processor. Costing just £700, it has been made to take on the best cards Nvidia has to offer, while also being considerably cheaper than the 2080 Ti. The Radeon VII is also loaded with 16GB worth of high-bandwidth HBM2 memory.
According to TechRadar, AMD intends to cut the asking price of its Radeon RX 590 and RX 580 graphics cards to be competitive with Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. The AMD RX 56 also has similar specs to the 1660 Ti but costs just £250.
Prices are always subject to change, especially as both companies prep for releases in the near future. According to Gizmodo, AMD are launching their own next-generation upgrade later this year to compete with Nvidia. We can also expect Nvidia to announce some new additions to the RTX 20-series in the near future.
Until then while there is a gap between releases, it could be one of the best times to buy a new GPU. There are some really good options to buy on a budget, and we expect the value to drop on some of the latest models. If you’re looking to upgrade, there’s never been a better time than now.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.