How Nvidia Tricked Everyone into Buying a $1,600 GPU | digital trends

Nvidia’s RTX 4090 is very powerful, but at first glance, it’s hard not to call it overrated. Spending over $1,600 on a graphics card is a lot, especially if you consider that you could build a full gaming PC for the same amount of money.

Of course, the flagship RTX 4090 seems like a steal until you look at the $1200 RTX 4080. Did Nvidia really manage to trick us into believing that a $1,600 GPU is a great deal?

The RTX 4090 from Nvidia is a beast at a frightening price

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

When Nvidia first launched its flagship Ada Lovelace, the RTX 4090, and the reviews started pouring in, it was clear that the GPU was a real beast. It’s easy The best graphics card at the moment, and dare I say it will remain so until Nvidia eventually drops the RTX 4090 Ti, or perhaps until it revives the Titan.

The RTX 4090 blows other graphics cards out of the water, no questions asked. Based on our testing, it’s 68% faster than the 3090 Ti in 4K gaming, it unlocks DLSS 3, and despite previous warnings and wild speculation, it’s fairly power efficient. For today’s standards, it’s almost too good; So much so that it’s begging for a new AAA game to take full advantage of it.

It also costs $1,600 for the Founders Edition, but you’ll find several versions of the card on sale for $2,000 to $2,500.

Nvidia’s choice to price the RTX 4090 the way it was wasn’t the most popular decision it’s ever made. After two years of GPU shortages, most of us are tired of having to pay insane prices for our computers. To see Nvidia not only continue this trend, but also outright tell its customers that cheaper GPUs are a thing of the past, was disheartening.

However, the RTX 4090 sold out and came back at scalper prices, with some eBay sales on launch day reaching $5,000. There was one sale for $9,999, but it’s hard to believe this is a legitimate purchase.

RTX 4080 doesn’t make much sense

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 sits on a pink deck.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The insanity of these prices has some of us already looking forward to (an overpriced one too) RTX 4080, set with MSRP (recommended price) of $1,200. Unfortunately, once the card arrived, the taste for excitement grew with a big pile of disappointment.

Comparing the RTX 4090 to the RTX 4080 reveals a flaw in Nvidia’s pricing plan for this generation — the numbers don’t add up.

If you look at the RTX 4080 alone, regardless of the price, it’s a really good graphics card. It outperforms every previous generation GPU, including the RTX 3090 Ti, by a significant amount.

RTX 4080 sales show us what gamers really think.

It’s also about 30% slower than the RTX 4090 while only 25% cheaper, and that’s where things get complicated, because at MSRP, the RTX 4090 is a much better deal than the 4080 – even if it’s more expensive.

It delivers much better performance per dollar, which has not been the case historically. The flagship was aimed at enthusiasts who weren’t trying to get the best deal; They just wanted the best performance. Take one step from the top and the good deals begin, where the performance is still great but the price is a little less ridiculous.

This wasn’t true in this generation, and RTX 4080 sales show us what Nvidia customers think about it.

Hard luck, speculator

Installing MSI RTX 4080 Supreme X in PC.

Every time a new GPU drops in, speculators can be counted on buying it in bulk and then putting it up on eBay for a whopping price. This was often the only way to get a graphics card during GPU shortages, when mainstream users faced a lot of competition from scalpers and crypto miners during short periods of time when GPUs were already available.

Of course, speculators have tried their luck with the new Ada cards as well, and while they’ve been successful with the 4090, their success with the 4080 seems to be average at best so far. We only really have sales data from eBay, but let’s see how those numbers compare.

Since the launch of the RTX 4090 on October 12, a total of 3,050 units have been sold through the US version of eBay, with an average price of $2,328.

Hardly worth reselling these cards now.

Around the time of the RTX 4080’s launch (November 16), sales of the 4090 started to pick up and have been on a steady, albeit slow, rise ever since. Prices are now close to what they were at launch.

The RTX 4080 doesn’t do well. Only 281 units have been sold since November 16, with an average price of $1,496. For speculators, that means sales are enough to beat the break-even point when you factor in freight and fees. These cards are hardly worth reselling at the moment, and with only 281 GPUs sold in 3 weeks, demand is scarce. The average selling price has also been gradually declining since its launch.

Nvidia’s flagship RTX 4090 can be found at many online retailers, such as And the , but all cards priced close to MSRP were sold out. while, Or near it, there are a lot of cards . Some models are just $50 shy of reaching the recommended list price of the 4090—by default, without any scalper tax.

It seems that people would prefer to buy an RTX 4090 instead.

Some retailers won’t even refund the RTX 4080

Three RTX 4080s sitting side by side.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

After looking at the eBay sales numbers for both GPUs, I can tell you one thing – the RTX 4090 doesn’t seem to have slowed down just because the RTX 4080 was released. On the contrary, it benefited from the release.

While the RTX 4080 seems to be selling at a snail’s pace and speculators are desperate to get rid of it, the 4090 is thriving, and it’s still an issue at MSRP. Given the huge gap in performance between the two, the 4090 remains a better deal if caught at the recommended price of $1,600, however expensive that may be.

Nvidia customers seem to understand this if you look at the large number of 4080s that speculators can’t seem to make a profit on. Newegg Indeed Make 4080s unrecoverableapparently because many speculators wanted to get rid of their cards.

NVIDIA 4080 Ship Units:

30,000 yen

NVIDIA 4090 Ship Units:


Total RTX 40 units shipped:


NVIDIA’s 4090 was pretty much sold out at launch.

Retailers still have the 4080 in stock. 😶‍🌫️😶‍🌫️

– Hassan Mojtaba (@ hms1193) November 19, 2022

I almost feel sorry for these speculators, but I’m not that good. Talk about miscalculated risks.

Wccftech’s Hassan Mujtaba claims that the 4080 initially shipped in much smaller numbers than the 4090 – 30,000 units versus 130,000. If this is true, and the 4080 is still at MSRP, then the community has really spoken – people want not just decent RTX 4080s, but questionable prices. You might as well get an RTX 4090 if you’re spending that kind of money, assuming your budget can stretch it.

Did Nvidia play themselves, or were we played?

RTX 4090 sitting at a table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

In short – the RTX 4080 seems to have outperformed the 4090. It has suddenly made an expensive GPU seem a lot more desirable than it should ever have been.

Now, the question is, was this Nvidia’s plan all along, or did they simply overestimate the enthusiasm people would have for the 4080?

Given the fact that Nvidia plans to strategically cut MSRP from the RTX 4080 soon, and probably never intended for the 4080 to be a crutch for 4090 sales.

Nvidia also has some serious competition on the horizon. AMD will soon release the next generation Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT, both of which are supposed to compete with the RTX 4080, but are more affordable – $999 and $899, respectively.

With the upcoming price cut, the RTX 4080 may become a more worthwhile competitor. Right now, if you can snag the 4090 for $1,600, it’s a better deal—but only if you can cash in on it. If you are a casual gamer, save your money and get the 4080 without worrying about benchmarks and comparisons.

Personally, I’m still waiting for the 7900 XTX, and based on the performance per dollar of the RTX 4080, I really have no regrets.

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