It’s time to bust out that tiny violin you’ve been saving for special occasions. It turns out the poor reception of the $1,200 RTX 4080 has resulted in some collateral damage: Scalpers are now stuck with loads of GPUs. It’s apparently so bad that Newegg has stopped offering refunds for the cards, causing some scalpers to graciously offer the cards for MSRP, according to Moore’s Law is Dead (via Videocardz). It seems the holiday spirit is still alive and well after all.
This is an unprecedented situation, as previously high-end GPUs were always impossible to find. That’s still the case for the RTX 4090, which requires a stock checker and some luck to purchase. Demand for that GPU seemingly convinced Nvidia it could price the RTX 4080 in the stratosphere, and people would still buy it. That has not come to pass, making it the first high-end GPU in years to be rejected by gamers. One of the biggest hurdles people are facing is the RTX 4080’s pricing for partner cards, which at around $1,400 puts it within spitting distance of the $1,599 RTX 4090. Though the 4080 is indeed a powerful GPU, the 4090 is significantly more potent. So it makes no sense at any price beyond its $1,199 MSRP, which really only applies to the Founders Edition.
Still, nobody knew whether there would be high demand when the RTX 4080 launched. As is tradition, scalpers bought them in droves hoping to flip them on eBay for a quick profit. However, it seems nobody wants to pay scalper prices, and now they are stuck with the cards. It’s reportedly caused many scalpers to try to return the cards to e-tailers like Newegg, but Newegg has now halted refunds on this model of GPU. It will allow replacements, but nobody can get a refund. Yes, it’s a bit of delightful schadenfreude for the gaming community as a whole.
In addition to scalpers not being able to return their cards, there are still plenty of them available online. This begs the question: why would anyone pay a scalper price when they can pay the same price, or lower, at Amazon or Newegg for a new GPU? The situation is likely also impacted by Nvidia’s decision to not release the more affordable $899 RTX 4080 12GB. That GPU will be relaunched as the RTX 4070 Ti, but not until January. That means the RTX 4080 will likely languish on store shelves until Nvidia lowers the price.
What’s amazing about this situation is that it’s even happening in the first place. It was predicted that RTX 4080 cards would be impossible to find as launch inventory was reportedly very small. Nvidia wanted there to be a handful of GPUs available for those who wanted them, but it also wanted the high prices to convince people to buy an Ampere GPU.
For now all that’s left to do is sit back, and have a hearty laugh at their misfortune. We can also hope this sends a strong message to Nvidia. People don’t seem to mind paying out the nose for a flagship GPU that delivers incredible performance. But the RTX 4080 was $500 more than the RTX 3080 it’s replacing, and people think that’s unacceptable. Now we will wait to see how Nvidia prices its next GPU, the RTX 4070 Ti. If it learns from this debacle, it’ll hopefully price it close to the $599 launch price of the RTX 3070 Ti. The launch of AMD’s RDNA3 cards on December 13th at $999 and $899 will factor into Nvidia’s decision as well.