Nvidia vs AMD: GPU Price and Performance change in recent years

Remember the time when you could buy an absolute monster of a GPU like 1080Ti for 700$? Now, you pay more than $700 for a mid-tier class of GPU like RTX 4070Ti.

There is no denying that the performance has increased a lot over the years but so has the price. RTX 4090 goes for about $1600 which is insane if you think cards like 980Ti were priced at $650 at launch.

With all the clever marketing, companies show us the performance increase, often inflated with gimmicks like DLSS 3, to confuse us and we often forget how price increases relative to the performance.

Nvidia’s latest generation of GPU, the Ada architecture, RTX 40 Series has opened the eyes of many to how the price increase is becoming absurd each generation.

Let’s go back a few years and look at the price increase and the relative performance uplift with each generation of graphics cards and figure out if we are paying more for the relative performance increase.

Moore’s Law

According to Moore’s Law, as the number of transistors on a silicon chip typically doubles every two years, the computer’s performance and capabilities will keep rising while their costs are falling. 

American engineer Gordon Moore made the forecast in 1965.

It has long been believed that Moore’s law predicts that CPU performance will double every 18 to 24 months, which is inaccurate. Moore’s law foresaw a doubling of transistor counts as opposed to raw performance increases.

Moore’s law is highly debatable but all the signs point towards Moore’s Law not being a thing anymore. The advancements in CPU and GPU space are no longer able to keep up with Gordon Moore’s predictions.

Since it is highly debatable whether Moore’s law is dead or not, we will shift our focus to the “value” aspect and generational improvement in value.

We will go back several years to figure out how well the performance and price have scaled over multiple generations.

How to read this data?

The graph shows the percentage increase in performance relative to the previous generation. It also shows the price trend and percentage increase in price relative to the previous generation.

Performance increase and price increase alone don’t show the generational value but when put together, you get a very clear idea of how performance has scaled with the price increase.

Note: The launch price is being considered for simplicity and fairness for all generations.

Nvidia Top End Class (-90 class) value over the years

YearSeriesGPUPricePrice IncreasePerformance increase
2009GTX 20 seriesGTX 285$400
2010GT 480 seriesGT 480$50025%30%
2011GTX 500 seriesGTX 590$70040%70%
2012GTX 600 seriesGTX 690$100042%42%
2013GTX 700 seriesGTX 780Ti$700-42%0%
2015GeForce 900 seriesGTX 980 Ti$650-7%28%
2016GeForce 10 series GTX 1080Ti$7007%67%
2018RTX 20 seriesRTX 2080 Ti$120071%28%
2020RTX 30 seriesRTX 3090$150025%30%
2022RTX 40 seriesRTX 4090$16006.6%56%

For example, RTX 4090 gets a $100 bump from the previous generation, RTX 3090 but also gives a 56% performance increase. A 6.6% price increase, gives you a 56% performance improvement over the previous generation which is a good positive trend.

In the case of RTX 2080Ti, it gets a $500 price bump compared to GTX 1080Ti and a 28% performance increase. All good right? No. RTX 2080Ti is a terrible card generationally because it gets only a 28% performance improvement for a 71% price increase.

That’s a negative trend with respect to generational value.

In the case of GTX 480 and RTX 3090, both get a 25% price increase compared to their previous generation but only offer a 30% performance improvement. While this is a positive trend, it is not a good one. Many would consider this a bad generational improvement.

Also read: RTX 4080 performance and review

For high-end class Nvidia GPU, the generational improvement was excellent from 2013 to 2016 which ended with GTX 1080Ti, which is still considered one of the best cards ever made.

There are also cases where there is no performance increase but the price has dropped significantly. GTX 780Ti gets a $300 price reduction compared to GTX 690 but the performance remains virtually the same.

One could argue that there is no real value in this since there is no performance increase. While some may say that there is a significant reduction in price. This depends on how you perceive it. If anything, it just shows how terrible the previous generation GTX 690 is.

Also read: Best graphics card to buy in India

Overall the high-end class of Nvidia GPUs have recorded at least a 28% performance increase each generation independent of the price increase with the only exception of GTX 780Ti. 

While there has been significant performance improvement, the price has also skyrocketed. Comparing GTX 1080Ti to RTX 4090, the price has more than doubled for 215% performance improvement.

Nividia mid-range ( -70 Class) generational value

YearSeriesGPUPricePrice IncreasePerformance increase
2009GeForce 200 seriesGTX 275$250
2010GeForce 400 seriesGTX 470$35040%25%
2011GeForce 500 seriesGTX 570$3500%37%
2012GeForce 600 seriesGTX 670$40014%29%
2013GeForce 700 seriesGTX 770$4000%12%
2015GeForce 900 seriesGTX 970$330-21%43%
2016GeForce 10 series GTX 1070$45036%47%
2018RTX 20 seriesRTX 2070$60033%37%
2020RTX 30 seriesRTX 3070$500-20%50%

For the mid-range, Nvidia GPUs have not scaled in performance that well relative to the price increase. For example, the  GTX 470 gets only a 25% performance increase for 40% more price.

RTX 3070, GTX 970 and GTX 570 are the only three cards which managed to reduce the price and increase performance significantly compared to the previous generation.

While the value aspect doesn’t go into a negative trend (GTX 470 is the only exception), it cannot be considered an encouraging trend.

For the mid-range GPUs, the trend is interesting since it provides a performance uplift with each generation similar to high-end, if not higher. Although the price increase has remained fairly stable except for RTX 20 series and GTX 400 series. Overall, the generational value increase of mid-range Nvidia GPU is only average.

Read more: Mid-Range RTX 40 graphics are not looking too hot

Nividia low-tier ( -50 Class) generational value -50 Class

YearSeriesGPUPricePrice IncreasePerformance increase
2009GeForce 200 seriesGTX 250$150
2010GeForce 400 seriesGTX 450$130-15%3%
2011GeForce 500 seriesGTX 550 Ti$15015%19%
2012GeForce 600 seriesGTX 650$110-36%1%
2013GeForce 700 seriesGTX 750$1209%29%
2015GeForce 900 seriesGTX 950$16033%59%
2016GeForce 10 series GTX 1050$110-45%6%
2018GTX 16 series GTX 1650$15036%56%
2020RTX 30 seriesRTX 3050$25066%75%

For the lower class of GPU, the price is more important than the performance uplift each generation. It becomes pointless if the price is too high to be considered a lower-tier card even if the performance is good. 

The price has to stay consistent each generation even if the performance gain isn’t that high. The prices have remained stable under $150 with the only exception being the RTX 3050 which isn’t a great value card anyways and is very evident.

The trend of value increment is always positive but not always great. Overall, for the lower-end cards, Nvidia has stayed pretty consistent with the price even though the performance increase isn’t very dramatic.

GTX 1650 and GTX 950 are the only exceptions where it got more than a 50% performance increase albeit with a 33% price increase.


AMD’s High-End generational value

YearSeriesGPUPricePrice IncreasePerformance increase
2008Radeon HD 4000 seriesRadeon HD 4890$250
2010Radeon HD 5000 seriesRadeon HD 5870$38052%47%
2011Radeon HD 6000 seriesRadeon HD 6970$370-2%19%
2012Radeon HD 7000 seriesRadeon HD 7970$50035%44%
2013Radeon 200 seriesRadeon R9 290X$55010%50%
2015Radeon 300 seriesRadeon R9 Fury X$65018%31%
2016Radeon 400 seriesRadeon RX 480$240-170%-19%
2018Radeon 500 seriesRadeon RX 590$28017%15%
2017RX Vega seriesRX Vega 64$50078%41%
2020Radeon RX 5000 seriesRX 5700XT$400-25%21%
2021Radeon RX 6000 seriesRX 6900XT$1000150%101%
2022Radeon RX 7000 seriesRX 7900XTX$10000%39%

AMD’s case is curious because its high-end cards are fairly low-priced compared to Nvidia’s. But the competition here is not between Nvidia and AMD but it is about generational improvement.

For the high-end class of cards, AMD Radeon price fluctuations are all over the place but never exceed the 1000$ mark even with the latest generation. Whereas, Nvidia’s -90 class GPUs have crossed even the $1500 mark.

For some generations, the value increase is drastic while some see a dip in the value but for the most part, AMD has managed to improve the value with each generation. 2017-2018 is particularly bad with Radeon RX 590 and RX Vega 64, giving very little performance gain for the price increase.

Overall, AMD has been doing well in improving its high-end value starting with its RDNA architecture. While the latest RX 7900XTX isn’t a great value card, it is providing better value than its predecessors.

AMD’s Mid-Range Generational Value

YearSeriesGPUPricePrice IncreasePerformance increase
2008Radeon HD 4000 seriesRadeon HD 4670$80
2010Radeon HD 5000 seriesRadeon HD 5670$10025%31%
2011Radeon HD 6000 seriesRadeon HD 6670$1000%15%
2012Radeon HD 7000 seriesRadeon HD 7750$11010%45%
2013Radeon 200 seriesRadeon R7 260X$14027%40%
2015Radeon 300 seriesRadeon R7 360$110-27%-20%
2016Radeon 400 seriesRadeon RX 460$14027%43%
2018Radeon 500 seriesRadeon RX 560$100-40%2%
2019RX Vega SeriesRX Vega 54$400300%222%
2020Radeon RX 5000 seriesRX 5600XT$280-42%8%
2021Radeon RX 6000 seriesRX 6600XT$38036%37%

For AMD’s mid-range cards, most generational value improvement is positive but not very encouraging very similar to Nvidia’s mid-range. RX 5600XT is a great example of a mid-range card that has good generational value and is priced very well. 

As you can see here, RX 6600XT doesn’t look like a very compelling card since it gives only a 37% performance increase for a 36% price increase. But we know for a fact that currently, RX 6600XT is the best value mid-range card when taken street price.

Also read: Best value budget PC build with RX 6600XT

This goes to show how launch prices affect the value of the GPUs and how the perception of value can change when the price is corrected. 

It needs to be seen whether the value gets better with the RX 7000 series mid-range cards.

Is GPU value getting better or worse?

Considering the last 2 generations, there has been significant improvement in performance but the price has also skyrocketed, especially with Nvidia’s top-class GPU. There is no denying that there is no performance increase but the price has become too high even for a card like RTX 4090.

GPUs in the top and mid-tier are definitely getting better in value, especially after the end of the GTX 10 series. The trend is similar for Nvidia’s mid-range cards but the lower-tier cards do not reflect the same.

Lower-tier cards are decreasing in value as evident from the last 2 generations. It seems unlikely that the RTX 4050 will be any less than $250 given that other cards in the series have increased in price substantially compared to the last generation.

This is very similar to AMD’s case as well. AMD’s mid-range -60 and -70 class GPUs are really good in terms of value compared to their previous few generations. Although the lower-end (sub $20000 / sub-$150) range has been completely neglected by both AMD and Nvidia.

Lower-tier cards just don’t seem worth it in the last couple of generations and this is very evident since the most popular budget cards are GTX 1650 and GTX 1060 which are more than 4 years old now. These cards have no worthy replacement.

Final Thoughts

The ideal scenario would be at least a 50% increase each generation without any price increase. Or the new generation trumping its next class from the previous generation. For example, the RTX 4060 should perform better than the RTX 3070 for the same price as the RTX 3060.

GPUs are certainly getting better in value over generations, especially after Nvidia’s RT and AMD’s RDNA architecture. Intel’s first generation of Arc GPUs wasn’t great but it’s a good start and their next-generation Battlemage could certainly improve.

AMD and Nvidia are both ignoring the lower-tier GPU segment and Intel can fill that gap to gain a foothold. With three GPU makers, it will be interesting to see how the GPU market shapes up in the coming years.

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