The new Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card was released on Thursday, June 3 — and it sold out immediately. In the blink of an eye, the GPU was gone from all the online retailers that put it up for sale on Thursday morning. Instead of selling the card online, Best Buy chose to offer it in-store. This resulted in dozens of people trying to be the first in line to buy it — and for some, that meant waiting for over 24 hours.
On Best Buy’s website, the message was clear — the card was not going to be offered online and customers were asked to visit the store in person. RTX 3080 Ti had a limit of one card per customer and was priced at $1,199. Compared to fighting against bots and scalpers, visiting Best Buy in person seems like a good idea that gives people a fair chance to score one of the new cards. Unfortunately, it’s not all as easy as it sounds.
As getting one of the new GPUs online was next to impossible during previous releases, many people decided to camp outside Best Buy in order to try to buy the RTX 3080 Ti before it sells out. Lines began forming outside of a Best Buy in Los Angeles as early as Wednesday afternoon. Many of the people present came fully equipped to spend the night. Some of them brought folding chairs, blankets, and thermal mugs filled with hot drinks.
The line only grew in size as time went on and dozens of new people joined the queue. Best Buy employees disclosed that the store was only supposed to receive 64 units of the card. Even at the time, this meant that a large portion of those in the queue had a slim chance of buying the RTX 3080 Ti. Despite the grim news, most refused to give up.
By Thursday morning, the line had grown massive. Over 200 people waited outside, with minimal social distancing, in a long queue that wrapped around the building. Desperate to get the new card, some offered to pay as much as $2,500 for others to pass them their spot. The store did indeed only have 64 units in stock, and they sold out in the blink of an eye. Dozens of people were left disappointed and bitter, with no chance of laying their hands on the new GPU.
Attempting to buy the card online was equally disappointing. Much like previous releases of the best graphics cards, the GPUs were sold out mere seconds after being put up for sale. They were briefly seen in Nvidia’s own store, Newegg, B&H Photo, Amazon, and other retailers.
This situation perfectly sums up the GPU shortage and the impact it has on the graphics card market. Unfortunately, it seems that the struggle may continue for the rest of 2021 as manufacturers continue trying to meet the current demand.