It's a bit hard to decipher exactly how much performance increase you're getting per dollar just by looking at the Speed Rankings, so in the next graph, we'll show you how price/performance has changed over time, and it may just blow your mind! Prepare yourself for an onslaught of data, in the form of our historical video card Price-Performance curves.
Dozens of GPUs are plotted on the graph, based on release date and original retail price. We calculate the performance per dollar rating of each card by simply dividing its Speed Rating by the original retail price (not sale prices, prices after rebate, prices with a cryptocurrency mining tax, or late-stage prices), multiplied by 100.
In our opinion, the 2020-21 GPU launch will go down in history as offering some of the greatest gen-on-gen performance uplifts in history, while simultaneously disappointing gamers the world over due to limited supply. The RTX 3080 certainly broke new ground on the high end, but the award for the very best price/performance value of any GPU ever released goes to the RTX 3060 Ti at $400.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some data can't be seen in the graphs but may be important, namely features. There are so many we could list, but we'll just highlight a few:
- Nvidia's RTX ray tracing hardware and DLSS upsampling technologies provides image quality enhancements that AMD currently can't match.
- VRAM, which AMD is generally more generous with, absolutely makes a difference when it comes to future-proofing, no matter what anyone else says is "enough" today.
- Energy efficiency, which has generally been an Nvidia strength, is currently an area where AMD excels.
In other words, there's a lot more in play than just straight-line performance. Just like with sports cars, there's much more than 0-60mph times to consider when comparing models, and so it is with framerates.
As always, we like to make some predictions for the coming year, but with so few GPUs available for purchase to retail gamers, we think there's not much to say other than we hope you can actually buy some of the GPUs listed in this article sometime in the next year! In terms of new releases, we see no reasons for either AMD or Nvidia to make great efforts here. Their current GPUs are excellent, and they are selling as many as they can manufacture. We anticipate that by mid-2022, GPUs offering 30% greater performance for the same price may be available. We certainly do not anticipate that there will ever be another launch like RTX 3000 and RX 6000, which offered up over twice the performance per dollar of previous-gen cards, in the case of the RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT. Simply put, prices were just too low for supply to sustain the barrage of demand!