We're less than two short weeks away from Black Friday graphics card deals and, like many years beforehand, people have begun to ask themselves whether there will even be any deals to consider on the day. For those of you hoping to find some of the best graphics cards for gaming (such as RTX 3070 stock or RTX 3080 stock) at record-low prices this year, you're in for disappointment. Unfortunately, it's no easier for AMD users as the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT and RX 6700 XT (among others in the line) have seen their prices soar, too.
While we're expecting that some GPUs will see price cuts next Friday, it's highly unlikely that there will be any discounts on the RTX 30 series or AMD Radeon RX 6000 line to take advantage of. This is somewhat due to the elusive nature that the latest video cards, from both AMD and Nvidia, have endured since their respective release dates over a year ago.
That's definitely a piece of the puzzle, sure, but if we cast our minds back to previous Black Friday sales then we can see that the latest graphics cards on the market are rarely ever discounted after release. While the semiconductor shortage (and ongoing global pandemic in general) has definitely played a part in making these video cards rarer than gold dust, we can confidently say that, if this was any other year without such factors at play, things wouldn't be much different in terms of heavy discounts on the newest GPUs.
With this in mind, we strongly recommend turning your attention to the Black Friday gaming PC deals, where we're already seeing some of the lowest prices of the year on RTX 30 series-enabled prebuilt machines. It's a similar story with Black Friday gaming laptop deals for a more accessible entryway to experiencing RTX functionality for less this year. Below we're taking a look at the price history of what we've seen on previous Black Friday sales to discern the kind of graphics card deals we're expecting (or not expecting) to see on the day.
Which graphics card deals will there be on Black Friday?
If we look back at last year's Black Friday sales, we can gather a fairly good depiction of what to expect as the Winter sales events crawl ever closer. As touched upon above, we're all but certain that RTX 30 series discounts just aren't on the cards this year, much the same as the year before it.
In 2020, we saw very minor discounts on the GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660 Super (in their various forms) from online retailers such as Adorama and Amazon. While decent graphics cards in their own right, the latter utilizing a respectable 6GB GDDR6 VRAM and a solid 14 Gbps bandwidth, these aren't really the most in-demand video cards on the market all factors considered. This is also taking into account that the most extensive discount we could verify amounted to $17 off the asking price.
Things were a little more hopeful on the AMD front, but it was hardly worth celebrating either. We saw slight discounts on the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT and RX 5600 XT from both Adorama and Newegg, too, but this ranged in savings of around $15 or so. Also of note, an Asus-made AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT Evo was available for $420, the company's equivalent of an RTX 2070 made for hitting 60FPS at 1440p.
If we apply this information to the upcoming Black Friday deals, then, we can see that the majority of the spotlight is going to be on entry-level graphics card discounts on the day. Considering that the GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 are still two incredibly popular video cards, which can even be evidenced by the Steam hardware survey from last month, it's looking likely that these GPUs will receive at least minor savings over the weekend sales period.
It's also possible that the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT and AMD RX 5600 XT will see smaller discounts this year as well, which would put them at an aggressive price point given how desolate the graphics card market is at the moment. Both GPUs were brought out to fill a gap in the market for those looking for no-frills video cards that would excel at lower resolutions instead of pushing the latest technologies (such as RTX 3090 stock does) meaning that these models are prime candidates for discounts on the day.
Which graphics card deals will there be on Black Friday?
In terms of which graphics card deals that we're going to see on Black Friday, it's far more likely that online retailers will focus on the entry-level models from AMD and Nvidia as opposed to the enthusiast-level video cards that have been in demand for over a year now. We have witnessed discounts on Nvidia's GTX 1050, 1650, and GTX 1660, as well as AMD's budget GPUs, such as the RX 550, and RX 560, and aforementioned RX 5500 XT and RX 5600 XT in previous Winter sales events.
Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but there's a pretty solid chance that some of these graphics cards will have their current prices reduced on Black Friday simply because they're far more widely available, and cheaper to begin with, than the current line of AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. Many models were discounted last year, right when the latest models hit the market, so there's a chance that the savings will be deeper this time around now that the flagship lines have had over a year of availability.
Below you will find what we're currently expecting from the three biggest online retailers as we approach graphics card deals this Black Friday. We believe that Amazon and Newegg are your best chances at finding cheap deals on budget graphics cards. Best Buy's storied history of RTX 30 series restocks could also prove ample evidence to suggest that stock drops could happen again here.
The world's largest online retailer historically had some of the better deals on entry-level graphics cards over the past couple of years, especially on the AMD front, so one to watch if you're forging a Full HD or 1440p build this year.
Historically Best Buy has held some of the better graphics card deals over the Black Friday period, especially when it comes to entry-level and mid-tier GPUs. There are currently few options available on its website, but it's definitely one to keep an eye on in the next week or so in case anything changes.
Newegg has delivered some of the longer-lasting graphics card deals over the Black Friday period if the past two years are anything to go by. The discounts are mostly reserved for AMD Radeon RX 5000 previous-generation GPUs, but these are still more than capable cards for gaming.
Should I wait for Black Friday to buy a graphics card?
If you've got your heart set on anything above entry-level for PC gaming then our honest advice is no. However, if you've been in the market to pick up a GTX 1600 GPU, or AMD equivalent, as part of a budget build or backup gaming computer then we recommend waiting it out to see what arises on the day.
As previously mentioned, we haven't seen deep discounts on any RTX cards over the past few years at all, and last year was more barren than most. If you manage to find the fabled RTX 30 series video card of your choice at its respective MSRP early then definitely don't wait for Black Friday.
At the same time, the AMD Radeon RX 6000 line appears to be in stock a little more often. AMD graphics cards are, generally, fought over less aggressively, so while we're not expecting a huge restock or discounts on the day, it's entirely plausible that previous generation Radeon GPUs will make an appearance.
Are budget graphics card deals worth it on Black Friday?
Budget graphics cards are far from anyone's first picks when putting together a fully-fledged gaming PC, but for the casual gamer, they are sure to be enough to hold their own under certain circumstances. For instance, it's very possible for the GTX 1050 (4GB) to hit 60 FPS in a wide variety of (still) fairly demanding games such as Battlefield 1, putting it essentially at the same power level as the GTX 960.
Similarly, the AMD Radeon RX 560 hovers around the 60 FPS mark in titles such as Rainbow Six: Siege, Hitman, and Prey (2017) at high settings in Full HD. And if you're interested in older competitive online shooters, this card will achieve over 100 FPS in Overwatch and over 200 FPS in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. These are extremely well optimized older titles, of course, but they still enjoy a healthy player base to this day.
If we turn our attention to the GTX 1660, however, then things become far more interesting. It's a graphics card that's been featured heavily in some cheaper gaming laptops and prebuilt configurations, but it holds its own with some of the more demanding titles on the market right now. For instance, it can hit 60 FPS in Grand Theft Auto V in Full HD with very high graphics settings. Similarly, it can do 60+ FPS on Forza Horizons 4 at max settings, too. You won't be able to take advantage of Nvidia DLSS or ray tracing, but you'll get some more-than-respectable frame rates if you're strict with the visual fidelity sliders here and there.