Who knew it would be so difficult to persuade huge firms to simply accept your money?
Purchasing a new graphics card has proven to be difficult for quite some time. And in 2022, it certainly isn’t simple, nor is it suitable for those with weak hearts or limited financial resources. The computer industry is being thrown into turmoil as a result of a shortage of fabrication capacity for cutting-edge silicon. The graphics card industry has been hurt the hardest by the consequent supply shortage.
As a result, what happened? To compete with bitcoin miners and scalpers in the rush to get the latest graphics cards as quickly as possible, the normal consumer would have to spend a lot of money. New cards, which are offered in limited quantities, are now sold out in a blink of an eye when they are first released. Soon after, some of those very same cards begin to appear on auction sites such as eBay or Craigslist, where they may be purchased for multiples of their manufacturer’s suggested retail cost (MSRPs). New cards run out of supply practically as soon as they are released online or placed on retail shop shelves, yet existing cards remain in stock for months.
Yes, there was a run on video cards in 2017-2018, driven by the first crypto-mining craze. But that was only the beginning. However, Apple has bowed to public pressure, and purchasing a card prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was as simple as placing a leisurely Amazon or Newegg order, or making a field trip to your local Best Buy or Micro Center: Credit cards are accepted at the door, however video cards are required at the departure. That is no longer the case!
Good news, though, is that getting the card you desire is not as difficult as it may seem. Despite these difficulties, some enthusiasts have been able to modify their systems to include the most up-to-date graphics technology available. The bad news is that it will take more time and effort than you anticipate, as well as a little more foresight and foresight—and perhaps even some quick action and covert maneuvers.
In this article, we’ll go through the five most effective tactics for purchasing a new graphics card in these difficult economic times for GPU customers, PC gamers, and content creators.
1. Use Restock Notification Tools for Online Storefronts to keep track on stock levels.
There is no way to purchase a graphics card if you don’t know when it will be restocked, and there are tools and channels that can assist you with this. In comparison to brick-and-mortar establishments, digital retailers have an easier time keeping track of their inventory levels. We’ll get to this point shortly. However, in order to actually purchase a new GPU using this strategy, a certain amount of luck will be required.
To be sure, you can park yourself on the product page of a specific graphics card at your preferred reseller and repeatedly hit the F5 key to force your browser to refresh throughout the day. However, this is time-consuming and ineffective. After all, each card is displayed on a separate page of a website, and not every vendor makes it simple to keep track of, say, all of the GeForce RTX 3070-based cards that a seller has in its database at any given point in time. These are some of the simplest methods for keeping track on an online retailer’s inventory without having to manually refresh a web page until you ultimately score a deal (or snore).
Discord and Telegram are two popular messaging apps.
The usage of Discord and Telegram to keep track of online inventory is perhaps the most straightforward and least time-consuming method. To refresh your memory, Discord is essentially Slack for gamers, and Telegram is a messaging app that can be automated to a high degree.) Users of both services have created a number of bots and groups dedicated to notifying people when a retailer’s website finally has graphics cards in stock, as well as other useful information.
There are a few advantages to using this method: it is basically passive, it is free, and it is completely legal. However, there are some disadvantages as well, the most significant of which being the fact that every other individual who uses these bots or joins these communities will also be looking for a new graphics card at the same time as you are. Who has shopped on Black Friday knows how fast neighbors can turn into deadly competitors when the most-wanted things are out of stock and the competition is fierce. For example, our reporter Michael Kan, who experimented with bots and tried his hardest to get an AMD Radeon card through traditional retailer-stalking, eventually came up aces owing to an alert from the Discord channel Fixits Fixits Fixits Drops & Tech.
YouTube and Twitch are two popular video-sharing websites.
A new type of streamer has emerged in response to the graphics card scarcity, known as the replenishment monitor. Several YouTube and Twitch channels have begun to watching various websites to check when new shipments of graphics processing units (GPUs) are received. In order to alert consumers who have left the channels running in the background that it is time to switch tabs and compete with other viewers through the checkout process, they play a sound when they do so. It’s time to play!
This method is rather unobtrusive—all you have to do is keep an ear out for the refill chime—but it is less successful than utilizing Discord or Telegram, which are both available for free. Those services can send you notifications on any device when a GPU has been refilled; however, the YouTube and Twitch channels are only relevant on the device that is being used to broadcast them. Anyone who has a metered internet connection should be mindful of the amount of data that will be consumed in order to stream these films around the clock.
Inventory Trackers Who Are Dedicated
Of course, you could always rely on the tried-and-true method of relying on old trusty rather than on these newfangled bots, servers, and streaming channels. That’s right, it’s time for email to take center stage.
Services such as CamelCamelCamel can send you automatic emails when the price of a graphics card reduces (which is the major function of the service) or when the graphics card becomes available again. People have been using these services to track down products they want to purchase online for many years.
Unfortunately, this may be the most ineffective approach of attempting to secure an in-stock notification on a new graphics card. When it comes to buying graphics cards, CamelCamelCamel is restricted to Amazon, where restocked graphics cards sell out almost rapidly, and where you must set up alerts for specific goods rather than checking for any current graphics card in general. The availability of various versions of a given GPU on a single page may be supported by other platforms such as HotStock.io and NowInStock.net, although the restriction to a certain product is still rather prevalent on many of them.
2. Maintain an inventory of merchandise at local retailers.
A few advantages exist between physical shops and their digital versions when it comes to choosing a graphics card that is currently in stock. The first and most important is less competition. Everyone has access to Amazon; but, not everyone has access to your local Micro Center. (Pro tip: If you reside in an area where Micro Center has storefronts, Micro Center is a better option than most vendors for getting a GPU installed in person.) Where is the point of competing with bitcoin miners, scalpers, bots, and everyone else who is looking to buy a new graphics card online if you can get the same thing off the shelf at your local retailer?
For those considering purchasing a new graphics card from a local electronics store, the following are some pointers:
- “Nice” can be effective in some situations. Be courteous to the personnel at the store. They are not responsible for the chip scarcity, they are not in charge of determining when graphics cards will be restocked, and, in many circumstances, they are constrained in their abilities to assist individuals in obtaining the products they desire. However, if you are courteous to them, they will be more inclined to make use of the little wiggle space they have available to them than if you are unpleasant to them. Follow the golden rule to the letter.
- Contact the company to find out when days of the week specific products are frequently restocked. Stores frequently receive new shipments of a single type of item or piece of equipment on a predictable delivery schedule. (Or, at the very least, as predictable as it is possible given the current global supply constraints.) Making the call, politely inquiring when graphics cards will be refilled, and scheduling your visit around that timetable can increase your chances of getting a new GPU as soon as it reaches the shelves, if you do it early enough.
- Inventory control in-store can be accomplished through the use of online solutions. Retailers will frequently state on their websites whether or not they have a product in stock at a nearby shop, and even if they do not, services such as BrickSeek may frequently locate that information for you. These methods aren’t foolproof—we can’t think of any stores whose inventory systems provide up-to-the-minute updates—but they can be beneficial in some situations.
3. Participate in the lottery and hope to strike it rich with the Newegg Shuffle.
Newegg decided to address the graphics card issue by borrowing a page from the playbook of the sneaker industry: raffles, which the company has dubbed the Newegg Shuffle in honor of the Newegg Shuffle. You might be under the impression that this implies you can enter for a chance to win a new graphics card, but it’s not quite that simple. Instead, you enter for a chance to win a new graphics card, much like sneakerheads hope to snag the latest releases at retail rather than having to pay resale rates for the identical items.
This method is determined by chance, but so are the other methods on this list, to a certain extent. Newegg is simply being more forthcoming about it. Additionally, whether or not recent Newegg Shuffles contained video cards has been a game of chance as well. Now, it’s all down to chance: you have to hope that you’re fortunate enough to be selected to participate in a Newegg Shuffle providing graphics cards, and then you have to hope that you’re fortunate enough to win one of the prizes. May the chances continue to be in your favor at all times.
4. Purchase a pre-built computer and resell the remaining components.
Even system manufacturers are having difficulty obtaining new graphics processing units (GPUs) for their PCs, but most have a more consistent source of new GPUs than the average user. Much of that gear will be included in a pre-built system from which you could (at the very least theoretically) remove the graphics card before reselling the other components to recuperate your costs.
Problem is, even amid a global chip shortage, finding customers for components removed from a pre-built system is not as simple as it appears…especially when one of those components is not the most highly sought-after. As a result of the fact that many pre-built systems are comprised of dated hardware, or at the very least middle-of-the-line components that do not compete with the latest and greatest offerings, potential buyers may prefer to wait for new hardware to become available rather than settling for parts that they do not even want for themselves.
Also keep in mind that, depending on the system and the CPU that is installed, the PC may not be able to function properly without a graphics card. If you have a desktop CPU with an integrated graphics processor (IGP), you can use it to run a display and operate the system even if the video card has been disconnected from the system. Other systems, however (particularly those based on the majority of AMD’s Ryzen processors), may be reliant on the video card for even the most basic graphics output, such as a screenshot. Some Intel CPUs, like the Core i7-11700KF, have an IGP that has been disabled; in most cases, these chips’ model names end in the letter “F” (for example, “Core i7-11700KF”), and thus require a video card to be installed in the PC in order to send a signal to your monitor. This is notably frequent in prebuilt desktops from major manufacturers, where employing a “F” chip allows the system manufacturer to save a few dollars.
Pre-built computers are also often prohibitively expensive, particularly if they include recent graphics cards. Even if you are successful in finding buyers for some of the hardware that you effectively removed from the graphics card you actually wanted to purchase, you will almost certainly end up spending significantly more than you would have if you had simply waited for the card to come back into stock and purchased it at MSRP, or a price that was close to it. Purchase a pre-built system for this purpose only if you’re prepared to make that trade, or if you require a sufficient number of the other components to make the deal worthwhile.
5. Submit to the bot and accept your role as a contributing factor to the problem (Just This Once)
We are hesitant to put forward this final choice. It implies that you (and, by extension, we) are a contributing factor to the problem. But, anyway, here’s what happened: In theory, you can either employ a bot to purchase a graphics card or purchase the card you want from a scalper, who may have obtained the card from an internet vendor who used a bot to complete the transaction. In either case, we don’t recommend it since (a) it only makes things worse for other people and (b) there’s no assurance that you’ll get what you want, even if you shell out a lot of money.
The Route of the Rent-a-Bot
We bought a graphics card with the help of a bot last year, as part of the craze. It didn’t go as planned.
A more involved procedure than you might anticipate, requiring several hundred dollars in initial investment and even more money to keep it operating would have required an even higher expenditure to keep it up and running. Additionally, depending on the restrictions of the various online stores and the strength of the bot creator’s anti-tracking systems, our accounts may have been removed from their sites altogether.
Despite all of this, the experiment was a complete disaster. Finally, we were able to purchase a graphics card as a result of a notification received from a Discord server community. Not a single thing was done by the bot. The average person, on the other hand, will most likely be unable to configure the bot correctly or afford the costs associated with running the bot until it finally achieves its goal, which is why miners and scalpers have been able to purchase such large quantities of graphics processing units (GPUs).
Buying From a Scalper is a risky business.
In 2022, purchasing a new graphics card from a scalper would most likely be the most convenient manner of obtaining one. Unfortunately, it also has a high risk of harm.
What happens if the listing turns out to be a scam? What happens if the graphics card does not function properly? What if it’s been used and appears to be functional, but it’s actually going to be substantially more prone to failure since it’s been pushed to its limits by cryptocurrency mining? Video cards do not have odometers like automobiles, nor do they have firmware like some solid-state drives (SSDs) to track their cumulative usage statistics. Platforms such as eBay provide certain protections for purchasers, but the majority of the time, anyone who chooses to purchase from a scalper is putting themselves at risk of being scammed.
Important to keep in mind is that a number of these issues also affect legitimate (or at least appear to be legitimate) customers on these marketplaces. Although it is unlikely that someone will charge for an outrageous amount of money for a new graphics card, it is possible that they will sell a card that does not perform at its peak or is on the verge of failing. It is possible that the second owner of a used car selling it to a potential third owner does not know the entire history of the vehicle. These issues can be difficult to detect at the time of purchase as well, especially if you weren’t planned on bringing your system with you to put the card through its paces before purchasing it.
So, what do you recommend I do?
By now, it’s likely that you’ve concluded that there isn’t a single good option to get a graphics card in 2022. And it turns out that perception is fairly accurate. Using any of these ways will involve a certain amount of luck, some level of time commitment, and a willingness to work more than most people would expect in order to acquire new hardware. The most convenient approach to get a graphics card, at least for the time being, would be to hold off until availability improves in the indefinite future. Indeed, the r/pcmasterrace subreddit is currently recommending the following two-step approach under the topic “Comprehensive instruction on how to buy a graphics card in 2022.”
Otherwise, our recommendation is to mix as many of these strategies as you are comfortable with, with the exception of the last one. The ability to maintain track of both online inventory and inventory in local locations is now easier than ever. Why not join a couple of Discord servers and make some new friends at your local electronics store? Perhaps it is worthwhile to investigate pre-built solutions, even if they are not especially cost-effective in the long run. It’s possible that the additional cost of the system will be equivalent to what you would have paid a scalper for the card alone (if you require some of the other components). And, hey, at the very least, taking part in the Newegg Shuffle is completely free.
“Take my money!” has never been more difficult to say than it is right now, but we believe that employing a combination of several of these tactics at the same time is the best course of action. If you can maintain your patience for an extended period of time, we are convinced that you will be able to obtain the card you desire at a price that you are ready to pay.