Nvidia’s new flagship graphics card has only been available globally for one day, and already the card is retailing for $1000 more than the GPU’s “announced” MSRP.
The RTX 3080 Ti (and 3070 Ti) GPUs were formally unveiled earlier this week, with the former becoming the new “flagship” card for gaming. But with a lower memory buffer than the RTX 3090, that meant Nvidia didn’t have to charge the $2500-plus that RTX 3090 cards have commanded in Australia so far.
Unfortunately, in today’s GPU market, intentions don’t really matter. Nvidia confirmed to Kotaku Australia that the MSRP of the RTX 3080 Ti was $1,920 in Australia.
But is there any chance of buying the RTX 3080 Ti at that price? Of course not.
PC Case Gear, perhaps the largest online vendor for PC parts and components in Australia, is already completely out of stock. The cheapest model they have on offer is the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Eagle OC, which clocks in at a staggering $2659, several hundreds dollars more than the supposed MSRP.
Mwave, to their credit, has precisely one RTX 3080 Ti card that’s actually being sold for the MSRP. There’s a second model retailing for $2099, but after that, you’ll have to fork out $2699 or more — which means that most people will end up paying that price, because of how few entry-level cards are actually being sold.
Over at PLE Computers, in possibly the most depressing sign of how severe the silicon shortage is, the retailer has a notice: people who ordered RTX 3080 cards last year that still haven’t gotten their stock — those cards were first sold in September! — you can then “swap out” your order for an RTX 3080 Ti.
Imagine waiting several months for a GPU costing thousands of dollars that never arrives, only to be offered the chance to swap out your order for another product that’s just as likely to have supply issues.
PLE Computers, as they were with the original RTX 30-series launch, do at least have more entry-level offerings available. It’s not many, and stock issues will be a nightmare, but it’s nice to see some models priced only a few hundred dollars above MSRP as opposed to, well, all of them.
That said, if you want to really pay over the top, third-party manufacturers are more than happy to let you. Multiple Australian stores have RTX 3080 Ti cards retailing for $3499, which is just unfathomable for a card that’s providing mostly high single digit gains on the RTX 3080.
Why not just buy the RTX 3090 at that point? You can get those for way less.
It’s worth reiterating here — because many people forget — that these are the prices being charged by the third-party manufacturers for these cards. Nvidia sets the MSRP for their GPUs, so you’re never going to see an RTX 3080 Ti at launch for less than $1920.
Why the prices are so high is because companies like GIGABYTE, ASUS, ZOTAC, eVGA etc. are seeing the lack of supply and capitalising where they can, and Aussie retailers are simply having to pass those prices on. There were some rumours flying around around the original 30-series launch that Nvidia’s MSRP was unsustainable for third-party manufacturers, but we’ve well and truly jumped the shark on that by now. Literally everyone is making an absolute killing, and they’re doing so because … well, what else are you going to buy? Absolutely everything is sold out, Nvidia and AMD alike. If Intel magically managed to ship their discrete GPU sometime in 2021, that’d fly off the shelves too, just because people are desperate for products to buy.
There is a second narrative here in that the RTX 3080 was really massively underpriced. The RTX 3080 had an MSRP of $1139, which is an absolute steal looking at the market now and especially compared to the $1920 MSRP for the RTX 3080 Ti. But the timing of those older 30-series cards had to compete with the hot demand of next-gen consoles and the height of the global pandemic, as well as the prospect of serious competition from AMD’s GPU launches.
Now, everyone understands that it doesn’t matter — everything’s going to be sold out for months, regardless of how much it costs, because there’s no other option. So just like the endless PS5 and Xbox Series X madness, the only winning move is really not to play. Check out of 2021 and come back in a year when some sanity returns, or maybe in two years when TSMC and Samsung’s next-gen fabs are in full swing, and then maybe this endless nightmare will finally be over.