The 5 Top Strategies for Buying a Graphics Card in 2021 (Without Getting Gouged). How to get a gpu at msrp

The graphics card can be the most important part of building a gaming PC as it will likely determine your computer’s maximum performance. However, the more you spend on your graphics card, the more you’ll have to spend on other parts to make sure you’re not limiting its potential.

At long last, Nvidia and AMD GPU street prices are beginning to drop

We’re not even out of the woods yet – we’re not even close – but it looks like Nvidia and AMD GPU prices may finally drop. Tom’s Hardware in the US and in Germany are charting on eBay and local retail prices respectively, and they both see the same thing: a significant drop for almost every new graphics card manufactured by Nvidia and AMD.

You want the Nvidia RTX 3080? Two months ago, it could have cost 400,773 on the street – more than two and a half times the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. As reported in November with our own chart, this was typical of the hottest graphics cards, and Tom’s Hardware shows that things got a bit worse in December. But in January, those prices dropped 11 percent to an average of 400,600.

The RTX 3080 isn’t alone: ​​most of all RTX 3000 and AMD Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards have dropped between about 5 and 10 percent, with the RX 6900 XT being the only exception that has increased in price.

Meet the Nvidia and AMD GPU hunters who turned battling bots into a full-time job

Keep in mind that Tom’s Hardware also shows that sales volumes dropped significantly on eBay, with some cards barely replaced at the beginning: just nine Radeon RX 6800 units changed hands in a week. It’s possible that prices are going down because some people give up not wanting to pay scalper fees.

Or maybe it has to do with the diver the cryptocurrency has done recently. It’ll be interesting to see if the recent decline will drastically lower GPU prices as they won’t be as valuable to miners now. Miners often sell large amounts of graphics cards when they can’t get them to work. This batch of eBay data is from last week, so it doesn’t have the full impact of cryptocurrencies yet.

But shows that the decline occurs not only when GPUs are sold on the aftermarket, but also at German retailers:

According to this chart, Nvidia and AMD GPU prices fell to 177 percent and 167 percent of the suggested retail price, respectively.

Chart by

In between those two reports, that seems like a good sign – even if you still pay more than double the MSRP for the RTX 3060 Ti right now.

While we haven’t seen any significant signs that supply has kept pace with demand (these GPUs are still extremely hard to find for anything other than exorbitant prices), Nvidia and AMD have repeatedly signaled that they expect supply to improve in the second half of the year. 2022.

On the front, PS5 and Xbox Series X are also seeing second-hand prices drop on eBay. I’ve been running several numbers on eBay over the past three months and both Sony and Microsoft’s flagship consoles have dropped $ 100, from an average price of $ 800 to an average of around $ 700. Here are the charts if you are curious.

average PS5 Selling Price on eBay, Last 90 Days Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Xbox Series X Average selling price on eBay, last 90 days. Screenshot: Sean Hollister / The Verge

Another advantage of the pre-made card is that you can choose the card you want. Newegg Shuffle mainly includes Nvidia cards, while EVGA sells only Nvidia cards. Thanks to the ready-made version, you can also choose one of the latest AMD RDNA 2 graphics cards.

Use Restock Notification Tools for Online Storefronts

You can’t buy a graphics card if you don’t know when it’s replenished, and some tools and channels can help you with that. It is easier for digital sellers to track inventory than in stationary stores, which we will get to in a moment. But actually, purchasing a new GPU using this method will require quite a bit of luck.

Of course, you can park on the product page of the graphics card at your favorite retailer and keep pressing F5 all day to refresh the browser. But it’s boring and ineffective. After all, each tab shows up on a separate page of the site, and you can’t keep track of, say, all the GeForce RTX 3070-based cards that a vendor has in their database all the time. These are some of the easiest ways to track an online retailer’s inventory without manually refreshing the website until you end up earning points (or snoring).

Discord and Telegram

Perhaps the easiest and least engaging way to monitor your online resources is to use Discord and Telegram. (For anyone who doesn’t know: Discord is basically Slack for gamers, and Telegram is a highly automated messaging service.) Fearless users of both services have set up various bots and communities with the goal of letting people know when a website seller finally has a card in stock graphic.

This method has several advantages: it is mostly passive, free, and completely legal. But there are also some downsides, the most important of which is the fact that any other person who uses these bots or joins these communities will also be looking for a new graphics card. Anyone who shop on Black Friday knows how quickly neighbors can become deadly rivals when the most coveted items are missing. (Our reporter Michael Kan, who experimented with bots and tried his best to buy an AMD Radeon card via conventional retailer stalking, ended up getting aces with a Discord Fixitfixitfixit Drops & Tech warning.)

YouTube and Twitch

The lack of graphics cards has led to the emergence of a new category of streamers: the supplement monitor. Several channels on YouTube and Twitch have started monitoring different websites to see when they are getting a new supply of GPUs. When they do, they play a sound so people who leave the channels running in the background know it’s time to switch cards and race other viewers through the erase process. Continue playing!

This method is fairly unobtrusive – all you have to do is listen for the replenishment chime – but it’s also less effective than using Discord or Telegram. These services can notify you on any device about GPU restocking; YouTube and Twitch channels are only useful on the device used to stream them. Anyone with a connection to metering should also be careful about the data that will be used to stream these videos around the clock.

Dedicated Inventory Trackers

Of course, you can always turn to the old reliable one instead of relying on those newfangled bots and servers and streaming channels. That’s right – it’s time to flash your email.

Services like CamelCamelCamel can automatically send you emails when the price of your graphics card drops (which is a core feature of the service) or reappears. People have been using these services for years to track items they want to buy online.

Unfortunately, this could be the worst way to try to find out about your new GPU’s inventory. CamelCamelCamel in particular is limited to Amazon, where replenished graphics cards sell out almost instantly, and you need to set up alerts on a per-product basis rather than checking for any modern graphics card. Other services such as and may host more storefronts or aggregate multiple versions of a given GPU on a single page, but restriction to a specific product is still quite common.

Keep Track of Inventory at Local Retailers

Physical storefronts have several advantages over their digital counterparts when it comes to finding an available graphics card. The basic one is limited competition. Anyone can shop on Amazon; not everyone can visit the local microcenter. (Pro tip: Micro Center, if you live where the chain has stores, is better than most retailers when it comes to nailing your GPU in person.) Why compete with cryptocurrency miners, scalpers, bots, and anyone else looking to buy a new one graphics card online can you find the same product on the store shelf?

Here are some tips for purchasing a new graphics card from your local electronics store:

Sometimes it works “nice”. Be polite to the store staff. They are not responsible for the chip shortage, they do not decide to replenish graphics cards, and in many cases have limited opportunities to help people get the products they want. But they will be more likely to use what they have to move around if you are kind to them than if you are rude. Practice the golden rule.

Please call to ask on which days of the week certain products are usually refilled. Stores often receive new shipments of certain types of equipment or equipment according to a predictable schedule. (Or at least as predictable as possible in the face of today’s global sourcing problems.) Picking up the phone, politely requesting a restocking of graphics cards, and scheduling a visit to that schedule can maximize your chances of getting your new GPU as-is it is on the shelves.

Use online tools to monitor your in-store inventory. Retailers often say they have the product in stock at a local store on their websites, and even if they don’t, services like BrickSeek can often find this information for you. These methods aren’t foolproof – we don’t think of any store whose inventory systems offer the latest updates – but they can be useful.

At $ 649, the AMD Radeon 6800XT offers comparable performance to the RTX 3080 for $ 50 less, while the $ 579 AMD RX 6800 is parallel to the $ 599 RTX 3070ti. The $ 999 Radeon RX 6900XT surpasses the 150 500 RTX 3090 in some games, but AMD cards struggle with some of the newer features like ray tracing lighting and AI-based resolution scaling.

Method 2: Use a stock tracker

live tracking of your graphics card inventory.

If you want to get a new graphics card, you can use the inventory tracking tool. There are several inventory tracking tools available via YouTube Live Stream, Discord Servers, and Browser Extensions, but they all do the same thing: constantly check your graphics cards are available from retailers.

The fixitfixitfixit user has been broadcasting live on YouTube and Twitch for several months, and a Discord server is also connected to the broadcast. It tracks AMD and Nvidia graphics card inventory at Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, and Antonline, as well as at several other retailers (including Office Depot and B&H Photo).

In addition, there are inventory tracking extensions such as Distill and HotStock that can check for you. Both have free and paid tiers depending on how often you want to check your sites and how many products you want to monitor. However, it is possible that sellers prohibit you from using these tools. Users are reporting closure of accounts at Newegg and Best Buy thanks to anti-bot measures at these retailers.

If you want to use this method, we recommend following your Twitter share tracking account. This way, you don’t have to constantly monitor the live stream or risk your account being blocked. Accounts like @stock_drops and @LeBlarstOfTimes send tweets when new cards are released. Keep an eye on these and similar accounts, and be sure to turn on tweet notifications. If you do, all you have to do is check when you get the notification.

Method 3: Buy a pre-built or a gaming laptop

Omen 30L desktop computer in front of the window.

If you need more than a graphics card or even a full system, you’re in luck. You can buy a ready-made gaming system or laptop at a reasonable price. Keep in mind that off-the-shelf systems are more expensive than buying individual components, so the final price reflects the high cost of graphics cards at the moment.

There are many options for pre-built desktops. HP, Dell, Origin PC, and Falcon Northwest top the list of the best gaming desktops, but there are dozens of manufacturers with tons of unique options. The benefit of using a pre-built computer is that you can customize your build beyond what you are comfortable doing. There are options like the HP Omen 30L that include pre-made parts that are easy to upgrade, and machines like the Maingear Rush that include a custom water-cooling loop.

Another advantage of the pre-made card is that you can choose the card you want. Newegg Shuffle mainly includes Nvidia cards, while EVGA sells only Nvidia cards. Thanks to the ready-made version, you can also choose one of the latest AMD RDNA 2 graphics cards.

If you don’t need additional parts, you can buy ready-made, replace the graphics card and resell it as a unit. Or, you can unfold and sell everything individually. While getting rid of the extra parts is a hassle if you only need your graphics card, taking this route can save you some money depending on your system configuration.

The second option is a gaming laptop. The GPU price crisis really only affected full-size graphics cards. Popular gaming laptops with the latest mobile cards like the Razer Blade 14 are still priced in line with the rest of the laptop market. The obvious downside to this tour is that you can’t pull out the graphics card and put it in another computer, as well as the normal heat and noise issues that occur with most gaming laptops.

For example, in the past six months, the RTX 3070 peaked at around 150,230 new ones on eBay and hit 150,100 at its lowest. Over the same period, the RTX 3060 cost between $ 690- $ 750, so it’s largely consistent. The biggest changes took place with the RTX 3090.

Where to buy an Nvidia or AMD graphics card

Recommended Nvidia or AMD graphics card retailers are Microcenter, Best Buy, Newegg, and Amazon (Nvidia, AMD). Unfortunately, stocks remain sold out in most stores, but refills appear from time to time. AMD also sells the units in its own online store, and Nvidia has a tool to check inventory with other vendors.

If you are hunting for an Nvidia or AMD graphics card, we recommend that you check these landing pages regularly:

The manufacturer EVGA also offers a virtual waiting list on its website so you can contact us by email when stocks are available. However, the EVGA waiting list is long, and the RTX 3080 and RTX 3060ti are particularly sought after.

How to shop for a graphics card

New graphics cards are currently extremely difficult to buy due to an international chip shortage that started in 2020. Sellers charge much more than the retail price on eBay and Amazon, and even older cards sell at a higher than-market price. Given the current market situation, it may be more profitable to buy a pre-built gaming computer or laptop than to buy a graphics card separately and build your own.

Prices for the same cards can vary by manufacturer, and upgrades such as additional cooling fans or RGB lighting add to the cost. The graphics cards shipped were also affected by the U.S tariff increase in early 2021, leading manufacturers raised prices $ 70 to $ 300 more than the RTX 30 and AMD 6000 series cards that were originally sold in fall 2020.

Unfortunately, there has been one major hurdle since 2020 that has made it much harder to build a new PC – a global shortage of silicon chips that has impacted the inventory of one key component – graphics cards in particular. It changed the normal rules of the game.

Why Is There A GPU shortage? When Will The GPU Shortage End?

Cryptocurrency Miners

Not to mention the obvious, the shortage of graphics cards is due to the demand exceeding the supply, and one of the main reasons why demand is so high is cryptocurrency mining .

Hungry miners buy mid-to-high-end GPUs as soon as they become available, quickly emptying supplies and increasing prices by up to 2x MSRP. Mining can often be torture for the GPU, running at full capacity 24/7, which often causes those GPUs to burn out much faster than on a normal gaming PC. Mining for cryptocurrencies has been going on for several years, but in 2020, the demand from guardians reached critical levels, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as people saw alternative sources of income and were attracted by the rising price of Bitcoin.

Disruptions to Manufacturing

However, the demand from miners is not the only reason. The coronavirus disrupted the manufacturing process in general, and thus the supply of silicon chips, and events such as the winter storm that struck Texas in February 2021 causing factory closures as well as US sanctions against China did not help. This has affected the supply of many electronic products in addition to graphics cards, including cell phones and televisions, and has even affected car production. However, many of these supply problems, especially in China, were resolved by the end of 2020, so what’s the rest?

Demand During The Pandemic

A huge, often underrated, reason for the silicon and GPU shortage was the dramatic increase in the number of active computer users and gamers in 2020. The huge portion of the world’s population stuck at home during the COVID lockdown has led to an increase in demand for computer hardware from those looking to upgrade their existing platforms or build new machines for both work and play. The demand for silicon chips for all devices has generally increased, not least for personal computers, due to the widespread demand for more electronic devices to enable people to work from home and to overcome the various telecommunications challenges caused by the pandemic in general.

When Will The GPU Shortage End?

Overall, the GPU shortage in 2021 looks no better than in 2020 for most of the year. Nvidia has indicated that they believe the shortages could persist into at least the fourth quarter of 2021, if not 2022, and this is a similar story for AMD customers.

Solution 1: Buy Used, Last-Gen GPUs

One possible solution is to purchase a used GPU of comparable power to what you are looking for, either from the previous generation of the same manufacturer or from a competitor. This works best in the mid-range, where higher-end GPUs will be thicker counterparts.

The alternative GPUs in the market you are using, listed below, should provide a rough equivalent (give or take ~ 10 percent more or less) to these GPUs on your system. Try to buy as late as possible to avoid GPU end-of-life and to get better support for the latest games.

It should be noted that even these cards will be more expensive than usual as people use inflated prices to earn more selling in the secondary market. Even so, it’s definitely worth a look at ebay or Craigslist to see if you can find some good deals. EBay will have higher prices but will have better buyer protection. There is also a Hardware Replacement Subreddit.

Here are some useful replacements for Nvidia and AMD GPUs:

  • Replacement for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060: RTX 2070, RTX 2060 Super, GTX 1660 Ti / RX 5700
  • Replacement for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti / AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT: RTX 2080, RTX 2080 Super, GTX 1080 Ti / RX 5700 XT
  • Replacement for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 / AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT, RX 6800: RTX 2080 Ti
  • Replacement for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 / AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT: Nvidia Titan RTX
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 / AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT replacement

The EVGA queue system is more forgiving. Instead of a lottery, EVGA allows users to buy cards on a first come, first served basis as stocks become available. Unlike Newegg Shuffle and many other methods of purchasing a graphics card, EVGA sells its cards at a list price. Yes, you can buy the RTX 3080 for $ 699.

Keep Calm and Carry On

That’s it for this month’s GPU pricing update. The news is a bit better than we expected due to the holiday shopping season, but that didn’t materialize to the level we thought. GPUs are still ridiculously expensive, although prices for most graphics cards have dropped slightly this month. The exception to this rule were the current generation Nvidia GeForce 30 GPUs, which seem to take on the burden of increased demand and do so without major changes in prices.

We can now tell you when was the best time to buy a GPU in 2021, in retrospect of course. Those of you who bought a new graphics card in July got the “best” offer of the year. It was a brief period where cryptocurrencies plummeted after a big spike, and miners reacted by selling some of their hardware. Conversely, if you bought in May during the cryptocurrency boom, you got one of the worst deals of the year with the opening several months of 2021.

What will happen in 2022 is a great unknown. Demand from regular customers tends to be lower in Q1, but miners are hardly part of this group. More GPUs should hit the market in the coming months, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly have affordable graphics cards again.

DDR5 memory prices are also worrying. From what we have been told from several OEMs, the delivery is actually good for DDR5 memory and more reliable than the DDR4 shipment – it just makes most of that memory going to OEMs and not to retail channels. We suspect that DDR5 prices will return to normal faster than GPUs, as will other components such as CPUs and motherboards that are currently being sold at normal prices.

However, this is entirely dependent on when EVGA has new stocks available. Instead of a general lottery, you have to choose each individual model you want to buy and be ready to buy when your name comes up.

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