Friday March 10, 2017

Some Perspective: Zarathustra's Nvidia Price History

Every single time a brand new high end NVIDIA GPU is launched, we always have the same responses. Some people think it is too expensive while others think it is well worth the price considering the performance. What is, and isn't worth it to you, is obviously a very subjective matter, and as such we are not here to tell you what to think. It is however beneficial to have a common set of data to go back to when we have these discussions. And you know how HardOCP likes data! For about 7 years now, we have been compiling pricing data in the NVIDIA price history chart seen below, taking into account inflation, that way we are making an "apples to apples" comparison of older GPUs and new GPUs.

Our method is simple; pick NVIDIA's top end GPU introduction price for each era and estimate inflation using the Bureau of Labor and Statistics published values for the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) based on the launch date of each GPU. The end period used is January 2017, as these are the most recent published figures. (I doubt there has been much inflation since then.) Once done, we figure out the price in 2017 dollars for every card at launch, and chart those on a graph. The astute reader will notice that Titan cards are absent from this comparison. This was a conscious decision, as Titan cards appear to be in a "halo class" of their own, and the pricing doesn't seem to obey the normal laws of physics (err, normal pricing trends) resulting in the analysis looking odd. We also made the conscious decision to start in 2000, as that seemed like a nice round year to start things at.

Without further ado, let's look at the data:

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As we can see from this chart, current pricing for the 1080 Ti is pretty much inline with where NVIDIA has typically been. When adjusted for inflation the 1080 Ti almost exactly matches the price of the GeForce 2 Ultra from back in 2000. We have some notable fluctuation over the years, which mostly seems to coincide with when NVIDIA had true competition in the market place. When NVIDIA were on top, and the competition had nothing, the prices went up, as we can see with the 8800 Ultra. Other times, during periods of higher competition in the market, pricing was lower. You could argue that the 1080 Ti is actually under-priced for the market climate. Argue whichever way you want about the appropriateness of NVIDIA's pricing, but this information does show a trend much in line with the relative market position of the brand.