Over the past few years, there has been one major issue affecting gamers around the world. Graphics cards have been extremely expensive, with stock shortages taking them out of the affordability realm of most PC gamers. That is if you’re actually able to get hold of one.
In this context, cheap integrated GPUs like the Intel Iris have become a popular choice. Instead of hoping to get dedicated graphics cards at high prices, gamers have had to compromise. Now, in 2022, with prices going up around the US and the world, should even serious gamers settle for this kind of compromise?
It would make sense to do so, for more reasons than the affordability of the GPU itself. When you get a laptop with an integrated GPU, you save on insurance as well. Laptop accidental damage insurance may already form part of your renters insurance plan. You won’t have to worry about paying a relatively high monthly fee to insure a graphics card worth thousands of dollars.
However, although the state of the world looks bleak, with the prices of almost everything rising, the decision to get an integrated GPU like the Intel Iris is not so simple. Here are some of the reasons why.
Why have GPU prices been so high?
The reason GPU prices have been so high is not due to them using expensive materials or labor. At least, the inherent value of these things is not particularly high. Rather, we have been struggling with supply issues. There is always a huge demand for graphics cards, but over the past few years, supply has been extremely limited.
This did not start with the pandemic, but it was exacerbated to a huge degree because of it. Supply chain issues impacted just about every industry, and the PC gaming industry was not at the top of the list of priorities in the beginning months.
Supply chain issues are temporary, which means that a lack of supply will not last forever. Since prices in this industry are directly correlated to supply and demand, an increase in supply would drive prices down significantly. And that’s where recent news comes in.
Graphics cards are hitting shelves
There is not yet an abundance of graphics cards available, but there is far more supply than there has been in years. Rather than struggling to find your GPU of choice anywhere, you are likely to find it in multiple stores in your region. Because of this, prices are already going down.
That being said, GPUs in stores are still priced way above MSRPs (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). But this cannot last for much longer. The reality is that supply and demand changes will impact pricing eventually. Stores will no longer be able to justify such high pricing even to those who have the cash. Over time, it won’t even be beneficial for them to do so, with better profits to be made from selling at scale.
This is interesting in the context of today’s inflation rates. Goods are becoming more expensive in general, but in the realm of graphics cards, the impact of increased supply far outweighs inflationary factors.
With this in mind, should you go for an integrated GPU in 2022 or wait for prices to come down?
The right place at the right time
If you desperately need a graphics card at the moment (as well as a new PC), you will have little choice but to go for an integrated GPU if you cannot afford a dedicated graphics card. However, if you are able to wait it out, prices are likely to go down over the next few months.
Getting a PC with an integrated GPU like the Intel Iris right now means being stuck with it for the foreseeable future. Continuing to use an aging graphics card at least gives you the ability to upgrade once graphics cards become more affordable.
The price of graphics cards in 2022 is something that PC gamers around the world are watching closely. With an increase in supply, we can expect a sharp drop in prices, to the extent that good graphics cards become accessible to the masses once again. If you can, hold off on buying a graphics card as long as possible.