When Nvidia unveiled the GTX 1080 and 1070 back in early May, it was immediately apparent that both GPUs would be substantially faster than the GTX 970 and 980 they replaced. Nvidia chose to stagger its retail launch windows for both cards; the GTX 1080 went on sale in late May, while the GTX 1070 formally went on sale five days ago, on June 10.
When Nvidia announced its new GPUs, it also created a new price structure for both of them. The GTX 1080 and 1070 are both available (at least theoretically) in a standard configuration and a higher-clocked “Founders Edition.” For the GTX 1080, the baseline MSRP is $599 and $699 respectively, while the GTX 1070 is supposed to be priced at $379 and $449 respectively. We say “supposed to be” because both GPUs are currently commanding substantial premiums — when you can find them in stock at all.
We normally prefer to source price comparison information from NewEgg, but the site is completely out of either the GTX 1080 or 1070 as of this writing. Amazon has multiple listings for both GPUs, but the prices are significantly higher than Nvidia’s suggested MSRP. The GTX 1070 FE is running between $525 and $609 for a Founder’s Edition (17% – 35% above MSRP) while the Founder’s Edition GTX 1080 is mostly listed for between $800 – $900. We say mostly because one Zotac Founder’s Edition GTX 1080 is supposedly available for the list price of $700, but the order is listed as requiring additional processing time. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, someone is trying to score a cool $2000 for an EVGA GTX 1080 FTW ACX 3.0.
It should go without saying that this is an absolutely terrible deal.
Whether we’re writing about AMD, Intel, or Nvidia, there are two words none of them like to see in print: Paper launch. The term refers to the much-derided practice of announcing products as being on the market when actually buying them is somewhere between difficult and impossible.
It’s not uncommon for high-end graphics cards to suffer short-term availability issues for the first few weeks after launch. AMD’s Fury X was tough to find after its initial debut, and the GTX 1080 and 1070 will (probably) be available in volume in the not-too-distant future. The current price spikes indicate that someone — either the OEMs or the resellers themselves — are taking advantage of limited early availability to do a little profit-taking. Nvidia hasn’t changed its recommended MSRPs, and it probably hasn’t changed the price it charges companies like EVGA, Zotac, and Gigabyte, either.
That said, it’s a little surprising not to see the GTX 1070 available in high volume straight out of the gate. The GTX 1080’s limited availability is to be expected when a new architecture debuts on a new process node, but the entire point of the GTX 1070 is to give Nvidia a way to recover GPUs that don’t quite pass muster as GTX 1080 parts.
Even if you plan on upgrading to Nvidia’s latest and greatest, we recommend waiting a few more weeks to see how prices evolve. If the cards aren’t seriously supply constrained, we’ll see prices falling down to Nvidia’s recommended levels, at least for the baseline models. If they stay elevated and the GPUs don’t materialize in greater volume, it’ll point to potential problems with yields on TSMC’s 16nm process.
Now read: How to buy the right video card for your gaming PC