Crypto mining made new graphics cards expensive and scarce, but a review of 44 cards confirms older GPUs still work just fine.
The graphics card market is suffering right now due to a supply and demand problem. Manufacturers continue to produce a lot of new cards, but gamers are finding it difficult to locate stock, and when they do the prices are sky high due to demand. Why? Cryptocurrency miners, who rely on the latest GPUs to keep their mining rigs profitable.
The good news is, both Nvidia and AMD are reacting to this demand and planning GPUs targeted specifically at cryptocurrency mining. So the market will stabilize, but not for a while yet. Gamers are therefore left with a choice: pay a large premium for the high-end graphics cards they can find, or opt for a lower performing new card (and still pay a premium).
The team over at TechSpot realized there is a third option, though. While we’re all focused on buying new cards, used cards are not completely useless. The question is, are they good enough to run today’s games? It turns out, some of them are.
TechSpot’s Steve Walton carried out a very time-consuming review of 44 used graphics cards to see which ones still perform in 2018. The tests used three games—Battlefield 1, F1 2017, and Rise of the Tomb Raider—to review each card at medium quality presets and a 1080p resolution. While that’s certainly nowhere near top-of-the-line for gaming today, it’s perfectly acceptable for most gamers out there if the frame rates are high enough.
An example of what Walton found is the GeForce GTX 980, which is comparable to the much newer GTX 1060 6GB while saving you around $80. You’ll typically pay $370 for a 1060 whereas a 980 at auction is $290. It was $240 until the graphics card famine started to really hit the market.
The best value used card Walton found is the GTX 770, which costs around $135 and averages 88 frames per second in the three games running at 1080p. For AMD cards, the savings are nowhere near as great due to the cards being so good for mining. Prices remain high even for old cards, which means if you’re on the market for a used card then Nvidia is where your focus should be.
Check out Walton’s price list; you might be surprised to discover how much old cards are worth on eBay.