How Nvidia tricked everyone into buying a $1,600 GPU

Nvidia’s RTX 4090 is extremely powerful, but it’s hard not to think it’s expensive at first glance. Spending more than $1,600 on a graphics card is too much, especially if you think you can build an entire gaming PC for the same amount of money.

Of course, the flagship RTX 4090 just sounds like a rip off until you look at the $1,200 RTX 4080. Did Nvidia really manage to fool us that a $1,600 GPU is a great thing?

Nvidia’s RTX 4090 is a beast with a terrible price

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

When Nvidia first released the Ada Lovelace flagship RTX 4090 and reviews started pouring in, it was clear that the GPU was a real beast. easily it’s the best graphics card right now and I’d say it will stay that way until Nvidia finally releases an RTX 4090 Ti or maybe even resurrect the Titan.

The RTX 4090 takes other graphics cards out of the water with no questions asked. According to our testing, it’s 68% faster than the 3090 Ti in 4K games, unlocks DLSS 3, and saves quite a bit of power, despite previous warnings and wild speculation. Almost too good for today’s standards; so much so that it’s begging for a new AAA game to come out and take full advantage of it.

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

As with Nvidia’s RTX 4090, the pricing choice wasn’t the most popular decision it’s ever made. After several years of GPU shortages, most of us are tired of having to pay insane prices for our computer hardware. It was discouraging to see Nvidia not only continuing this trend, but also telling customers directly that cheaper GPUs are a thing of the past.

Still, the RTX 4090 sold out and came back with scalp prices, with some eBay sales hitting $5,000 on launch day. There was a single sale for $9,999, but it’s hard to believe this was a legitimate purchase.

RTX 4080 doesn’t make much sense

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 rests on a pink surface.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The madness of these prices has caused some of us to look forward to the (also overpriced) prices. The RTX 4080 has an MSRP (suggested price) of $1,200. Unfortunately, when the card arrived, the taste of excitement was tarnished by a huge pile of disappointment.

Comparing the RTX 4090 to the RTX 4080 reveals a flaw in Nvidia’s pricing plan for this generation – the numbers just don’t match.

If you just look at the RTX 4080, it’s a really good graphics card regardless of the price. It outperforms all GPUs in the previous generation, including the RTX 3090 Ti.

The sales of the RTX 4080 show us what gamers really think.

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

It offers far better performance per dollar, which has not been the case historically. Flagships were aimed at enthusiasts who weren’t trying to get the best deal; they just wanted the best performance. Take a step down from the top and good deals begin where the performance is still great but the price is less ridiculous.

That hasn’t been true this generation, and sales of the RTX 4080 show us what Nvidia’s customers think about it.

Hard luck, scalp

MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X installed on a PC.

Whenever a new GPU drops, scalers can be relied upon to buy it in bulk and then throw it into a massive price hike on eBay. This was the only way to get a graphics card during the GPU shortage, when regular users faced a lot of competition from scrapers and crypto miners during the short time periods when GPUs were actually out of stock.

Of course, scalp scrapers have tried their luck with the new Ada cards as well, and while they’ve had success with the 4090, their success with the 4080 so far seems modest at best. 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 over the US version of the RTX 4090. eBay averages $2,328.

It’s not worth reselling these cards right now.

Around the time of the RTX 4080’s release (November 16), sales of the 4090 began to rise and have been growing steadily, albeit slowly, since then. Prices are now close to those at launch.

The RTX 4080 isn’t in very good shape. Only 281 units have been sold since November 16, with an average price of $1,496. For scalpers, that means sales are enough to break even when you consider shipping and fees. Currently these cards are not worth reselling and demand is low as only 281 GPUs were sold in 3 weeks. The average selling price has also been trending gradually lower since launch.

Nvidia’s flagship RTX 4090 can be found at various online retailers such as: and , but cards priced close to MSRP are all sold out. Meanwhile, at or near and there are plenty of cards . Some models hesitate to hit the recommended list price of the 4090 by just $50 – by default, without any scalp taxes.

It almost feels like people would prefer to buy the RTX 4090 instead.

Some vendors won’t even return the RTX 4080

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

Looking at the eBay sales figures 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, he took advantage of the eviction.

While the RTX 4080 seems to be selling at a snail’s pace and scalp experts are desperate to get rid of it, the 4090 is growing and still a prey at MSRP. Given the huge performance gap between the two, the 4090 remains a better deal if it catches up at the recommended $1,600 price, no matter how expensive it is.

If you look at the large number of 4080s that scalpers fail to profit from, it seems that Nvidia’s customers are aware of this. Newegg actually Made 4080s non-refundableapparently because she wanted to get rid of too many scalp cards.

NVIDIA 4080 shipping units:


NVIDIA 4090 shipping units:


Total RTX 40 shipping units:


NVIDIA’s 4090 was pretty much sold out when it was released.

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

— Hasan Mücteba (@hms1193) 19 November 2022

I almost feel sorry for these scalpers but I’m not that helpful. Talk about miscalculated risk.

Hassan Mujtaba of Wccftech claims that the 4080 was originally shipped in much smaller quantities than the 4090 – 30,000 versus 130,000. If that’s true and the 4080 is still hovering at MSRP, then the community has really spoken – people don’t want these reasonable, but questionably priced RTX 4080s. If you’re spending that much money, you can get an RTX 4090, assuming the budget can stretch to ten.

Did Nvidia play it itself or did we play it?

The RTX 4090 is sitting on a table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

In short – the RTX 4080 seems to have done the 4090 a favor. It made an overpriced GPU suddenly look a lot more attractive than it should have been.

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

considering the fact While Nvidia plans to strategically cut the MSRP of the RTX 4080 soon, it may never have intended the 4080 to serve as a crutch for the sales of the 4090.

Nvidia also has some serious competition on the horizon. AMD will soon launch the next-generation Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT, both of which are expected to rival the RTX 4080, at more reasonable prices at $999 and $899 respectively.

With the upcoming price cut, the RTX 4080 could become a more worthy contender. For now, that’s a better deal if you manage to spot the 4090 for $1,600 – but only if you can use 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 judging by the RTX 4080’s performance per dollar, I really have no regrets.

Editors’ Suggestions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *