DF Direct Weekly: is next-gen GPU pricing out of control?

Welcome to 2023 and the return of DF Direct Weekly! After a short while away – we missed per week, truly – the crew returns to debate the newest gaming and expertise information. The yr kicked off with the Shopper Electronics Present – CES – and on this week’s present, myself, John Linneman and Alex Battaglia focus on the keynotes from Nvidia, AMD and Sony, together with our first take a look at Gran Turismo 7 on PSVR2, whereas addressing the newest issues about thermal throttling on the RX 7900 XTX reference board in addition to new improvements coming this yr for OLED TVs.

There’s additionally time to mull over the backlash to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, which was maybe inevitable. Allowing for the acute reactions, I wished to weigh in with some extra detailed ideas about why I assumed the product was ‘OK’ versus the overall catastrophe that many suppose it’s. There is a sequence of things that outline how RTX 4070 Ti turned out because it did and clearly, questions stay concerning the outlook for the GPU market going ahead.

The arguments in opposition to the 4070 Ti are pretty easy: it is the costliest 70-class product Nvidia has ever delivered and its specs are paltry in comparison with prior 70-class merchandise. When it comes to relative efficiency, the 4070 Ti is broadly comparable with the top-end outcomes from the RTX 3000 era, when the RTX 3070 did the identical vs RTX 2080 Ti at $499. All of that is true and the outlook appears grim for PC graphics. On the face of it, Nvidia and AMD usually are not serving to issues primarily based on the costs of the merchandise seen up to now.

DF Direct Weekly #93 is hosted and perpetrated by Wealthy Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and John Linneman.
  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:01:25 Information 01: Sony at CES 2023: PS VR2 and Gran Turismo
  • 00:15:37 Information 02: Nvidia debuts RTX 4000 laptop computer GPUs, RTX video upscaling at CES
  • 00:50:27 Information 03: AMD broadcasts new CPUs, discrete RDNA 3 laptop computer GPUs throughout CES showcase
  • 01:01:02 Information 04: Upcoming OLED TVs get brightness increase
  • 01:06:42 DF Supporter Q1: Might modders add shader precompilation to a sport?
  • 01:09:09 DF Supporter Q2: Are path traced remakes of basic video games possible on consoles?
  • 01:11:22 DF Supporter Q3: Would DF produce a video overlaying ray tracing video games on Sequence S?
  • 01:12:39 DF Supporter This fall: What do you suppose DF has accomplished proper through the years to outlive – and to continue to grow?

That is a reasonably damning sequence of costs however whereas the case in opposition to the RTX 4080 is easy, the 4070 Ti is extra advanced. To start with, the dearth of a Founders Version card to peg costs at its $799/£799 is a disappointment – particularly taking into consideration how outsized the merchandise are typically and the way overpriced lots of the third social gathering boards are. Nonetheless, taking a look at Scan proper now, it is nonetheless potential to get the cardboard at its really helpful £799 – and I would nonetheless take it over the RTX 3080, which continues to promote at £700 or increased shopping for new. Extra reminiscence, DLSS3 and improved effectivity are value the additional cash.

The dearth of a game-changing gen-on-gen uptick in efficiency for the cash is a matter, but it surely’s not the primary time it is occurred: RTX 2080 launched with comparable efficiency to GTX 1080 Ti and no assist for its new options for a similar $699. GTX 980 was cheaper than the outgoing GTX 780 Ti however out-of-the-box efficiency wasn’t that significantly better. With RTX 4070 Ti, we’re taking a look at two elements right here: initially, not each era delivers a ‘slam dunk’ gen-on-gen and worth acquire in the identical manner that RTX 3000 did. Secondly, the financial outlook shouldn’t be nice usually – costs are rising in all places – whereas the scenario for semiconductors is particularly problematic.

Owing to the vacation break, we did not weblog about our end-of-year Direct, which you’ll be able to watch right here.

To get some thought of these points, take a look at the prices of the brand new course of nodes up in opposition to the 7nm node used for current-gen consoles – we’re taking a look at a 60 percent increase per wafer for 5nm and its set to get worse with 3nm, the place the wafer worth doubles over 7nm. This is the reason Xbox Sequence S exists, as per our legacy 2020 interview with system architect Andrew Goossen, Microsoft noticed no actual solution to cost-reduce Xbox Sequence X over time, so produced a decrease energy console as an alternative. And even with current 7nm/6nm consoles, Sony elevated costs and Microsoft continues to lose cash on each machine it makes – however no less than the Xbox crew furnished us with explanations that specify why they made Sequence S within the first place. Neither AMD nor Nvidia have spent a lot time explaining why their merchandise are rising in worth, despite the fact that they supply their chips from the identical producer – TSMC.

Factoring in elevated prices throughout the board – and particularly on the core semiconductor stage – 4070 Ti arrives as a ‘facet step’ of types, a alternative RTX 3080 if you’ll. Prices have elevated then, however what about Nvidia’s revenue margin? It is the perceived ‘greed issue’ that appals many. Undoubtedly, there will probably be a wholesome margin within the combine, as a result of the RTX 4070 Ti was initially the RTX 4080 12GB with a base worth of $899. Nvidia lopped off $100 and presumably compensated third-party board producers for disposing of their packaging and creating alternative packing containers – which may’t have been low cost. Even so, it is also laborious to consider that the agency nonetheless is not making respectable cash on the product. Ought to Nvidia have reduce even additional into its revenue margin?

That is the purpose the place the market – avid gamers – have the ultimate say and that is the one issue prone to deliver a couple of rethink on GPU costs. If the worth is not there, the product is not going to promote and graphics producers will probably be compelled to chop its margins and supply the cardboard at a reduction. It is stunning to me that just about per week on from launch, it is potential to purchase a RTX 4070 Ti at its base worth, suggesting that demand is not as excessive as anticipated. Nonetheless, it is extra stunning to me that over two years on from its debut, it is unattainable to purchase a model new RTX 3080 at its £649 UK launch worth. A part of this will probably be right down to foreign money fluctuations in opposition to the US greenback, besides – remarkably – £699 is the UK base worth for an RTX 3080 whereas used costs stay sturdy. Will we see cheaper RTX 4070 Ti playing cards? It appears unlikely within the brief time period – I would anticipate to see some motion on the RTX 4080, the place its worth proposition did not make sense in opposition to RTX 4090 and makes even much less sense in opposition to the RTX 4070 Ti.

A single efficiency snapshot, exhibiting A Plague Story Requiem analysed on PS5 and at actual PS5-equivalent settings on RTX 4070 Ti, RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 Ti. Yesterday’s £699 GPUs in opposition to as we speak’s £799 GPU, with some added console curiosity.

Issues could change if game-changing competitors emerges – and who is aware of that AMD’s RX 7800 XT will ship – however the stark actuality proper now could be that for those who purchased a GTX 1080 Ti or RTX 2080 again within the day at £699, there are solely two actual alternate options to contemplate in the identical worth ballpark: RTX 4070 Ti and RX 7900 XT. Given the selection between the 2, the options, RT efficiency and notionally lower cost of the Nvidia card swing it for me, however these much less all for AI options or ray tracing could desire the AMD various, which is usually quicker in rasterisation and has much more reminiscence.

Proper now, the unlucky actuality is that each will price you greater than £699 (although 2017’s £699 is over £850 as we speak, inflation adjusted) however on the plus facet, you are still getting a night-and-day enchancment to efficiency (4070 Ti is something from 2x to 2.7x quicker than 1080 Ti primarily based on numerous rasterisation benchmarks), effectivity and options. At this time’s xx70-class product is dearer than any we have seen earlier than, however I would be inclined to consider that buyers go for the very best efficiency for his or her funds greater than the identify/classification of any given product.

One last thought: all the new GPUs we have seen up to now have been aimed on the high-end fanatic gamer. We have nonetheless but to see the place costs will land for AMD and Nvidia’s choices within the cheaper worth ranges. The query is, in fact, the extent to which gen-on-gen worth jumps will proceed as we breach the $500/£500 barrier. Proper now, a RTX 3060 12GB begins at £330 – which is affordable worth – and that is the goal to beat, if not for the inevitable 4060 then undoubtedly the 4050.