Help me Intel, you are our only hope
Back in May, I talked about a future where Nvidia and AMD both stop offering budget GPUs, and you’ll need about $300 to buy a new graphics card. With Nvidia, this is already true since the company has not released a new GPU cheaper than $200 since its GTX 16 series, which was already the RTX 20 model. I always thought that AMD would stick to the lower end of the market since its only competitor was Intel and because AMD has been one of the best card makers.
But the general manager at Radeon, Scott Herkelman, recently confirmed that the RX 7700 XT and 7800 XT will be the last additions to the RX 7000 series, and now everything has changed. With AMD’s cheapest GPU in the RX 7000 series starting at $270, there is only one player in the market that can keep the GPU segment alive: Intel. The company’s upcoming Battlemage GPUs will be a tough time for low-income gamers and whether a PC home will be available for low-income users to use again.
The low end GPU market was pretty good
Because it’s been a long time since the GPU market has seen real action, most of you probably don’t remember what it’s like. I think the GPU shortage that started in 2020 made many of us forget what the current graphics card market looks like. Although budget GPUs have existed since the first GPUs came out, one of the most popular must be Nvidia’s GTX 750 Ti from 2014. It only cost $150, used the high-performance Maxwell architecture, and was very popular. It could also fit low-end, low-end OEM desktops that didn’t have a 6- or 8-pin power plug since it consumed less power.
The GTX 10 and RX 400 series in 2016 brought more options to the table. The GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti cost $110 and $140, respectively, and the RX 460 went for $110 like the 1050. These cards also used very little power, and many of them can work without a power plug while providing good performance for the price. . AMD also introduced the $80 RX 550 in 2017, and even though the price was worse compared to the 460 and 560 (which was the refreshed 460), it was a good option.
Things started to move around 2018. The GTX 16 series was cheap enough, with the 1650 for $150, but it didn’t have all the features of the RTX 20 series and didn’t move the budget segment forward. The RX 5000 series, meanwhile, started at $170 and the RX 5500 XT, which was more expensive than usual. But the big change started with the RTX 30 and RX 6000 series; Nvidia completely abandoned the budget market, and AMD only offered two low-end GPUs for laptops in early 2022.
At the time of writing, Nvidia’s cheapest RTX 40 card is the 4060 at $300, and AMD’s cheapest RX 7000 GPU is the 7600 at $270. Nvidia’s rumored RTX 4050 appears to be around $250, based on its claims. No matter how you look at it, it’s a far cry from the $110 GPUs we had seven years ago, and now the cost of making a low-end PC from new sources is very high.
Why it’s important to get new budget GPUs
New budget GPUs may not be as important to people buying new hardware as they are more likely to buy used. I’ve seen a lot of people point out that if you want a good $100 GPU, you can just buy a used one, and even though that’s the case these days, it’s a bit of a stretch to believe that it will be true in the market when new cards start. about $300.
Used cards cost less than new ones, not only because they have been used but also because the new ones are taking advantage of the used market. Obviously, you can’t sell a used GPU for the same price as a new one if the new one is good in every way. No one is going to buy that. But if the cheapest GPUs start around $300, it will take longer than usual for those cards to filter down to $100. For more information, the RTX 3060 was launched in early 2021 at $330, and today the cheapest 3060s on eBay cost around $230, so there is still a long way to go.
Then you also have to consider that it takes a long time for new cards to come out, and even when the cards do come out, they’re not much better than the old ones. There is much less pressure on the used discount card market than ever before.
Intel is our last hope for the budget segment
With AMD confirming its decline from the end and Nvidia probably not coming back, it’s up to Intel to keep budget graphics cards alive. The company has already offered a $100 GPU in the form of the Arc A380, but its upcoming Battlemage series should offer something under the $200 mark at least to keep the entry price low enough. If Intel follows the lead of Nvidia and AMD, it may be over for everyone on a budget.
And while I expect Intel’s Battlemage cards to be some of the best we’ve ever seen, Intel doesn’t need to make anything more amazing. Offering anything good for less than $200 would be great, and closer to the $100 mark, even better. This would ensure that players on a budget would have some options instead of none at all, which would be enough for this trend to become available.
I’ve seen a lot of people say that the death of low-end GPUs isn’t a big deal, but $100 GPUs are possible to make. It used to be the norm years ago, and helped make PC gaming affordable and accessible to everyone. I’d hate to see PC gaming become financially free, and I’m firmly rooting for Intel to prevent that from happening.