Trying to figure out how to buy an Nvidia RTX 3080 is a bit of a nightmare right now. The demand for all of the green team's next-gen Ampere GPUs has been so high that it has far out-stripped supply. And so, months after launch, it's still all but impossible to buy a standalone card in either RTX 3070, RTX 3080, or RTX 3090 trim. Nvidia has even apologized after certain automated systems bought up all available cards. It was the bots. Damn them bots. We knew the robots would be coming for us eventually, and this is surely the beginning.
It's not a problem exclusive to Nvidia either, with AMD's RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 GPU launches delivering an arguably worse experience for the serious graphics card hunter. These barely even seemed to appear before they were gone again—no doubt exacerbated by all the miffed Nvidia fans, trying to move to the red team. And we have yet to spot any of the third-party cards for AMD's new GPUs, either.
GPUs aren't the only component affected. AMD's new Ryzen 5000 CPUs are still conspicuous by their absence from retail, it's practically impossible to bag a new PSU, and the best SSDs and RAM are the only components we can rely on to actually be in stock anywhere. Oh, and GTX 1050 Tis. You seem to be able to pay over the odds for those if you really want. Please don't.
So yes, this is a terrible time to try and buy a graphics card, but most especially if you're trying to buy a brand new, next-gen GPU like the RTX 3080. That doesn't mean it's impossible, however: you just might have to be a bit creative, or y'know, buy a whole PC.
How to bag an RTX 30-series graphics card before Christmas
Realistically, the only way you're going to get your hands on some Nvidia Ampere gaming power this side of the new year is by buying a pre-built gaming PC. Spending a couple of thousand dollars on a new system might seem like overkill, but at some point the upgrade dance will run its course and you'll find you're hitting more expensive bottlenecks.
You lack a decent SSD, for example, but your current setup doesn't support the latest drives, or your CPU is holding back your GPU and now you need a whole new chip and motherboard.
At some point you'll need to start a new build from scratch and, these days, whether you build it yourself or get a system builder to do it for you barely makes a difference in overall price, only in your choice of parts. But even that has gone by the wayside as there are now fewer GPU options than the great crypto mining wars of 2017.
The Alienware Aurora R11, and Ryzen-based R10 for that matter, are our picks for the best gaming PC right now, and the Intel-based version at least has already been updated to include the latest Nvidia graphics cards. And, what's more, there's an actual, honest-to-goodness Black Friday gaming PC deal on the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 Auroras too.
Alienware Aurora R11 | i7 10700KF | RTX 3070 |
$2,239.99 $2,195.19 at Dell.com (save $44.80)
It's an even more slight discount on the RTX 3070 version, but you still come away with the same 512GB NVMe SSD and 16GB of 3,200MHz dual-channel DDR4.View Deal
It might only be $50, but it's a discount on a shipping Ampere machine. And if you mess around with the configurator you can squeeze the price down a touch.
We've checked out the delivery times for a couple of different locations in the US and we're seeing Dell being able to drop an RTX 3080-powered gaming PC to our doors within two weeks. In some places on the West Coast you can get it delivered on December 3. That's next week.
You could have an RTX 3080 next week, people.
But Alienware isn't the only system builder offering RTX 3080 or RTX 3070-based gaming PCs, as iBuyPower has also got a bunch of Ampere rigs, at lower prices, that it promises will also be in your hands ahead of Christmas.
iBuyPower Ampere Gaming PC | RTX 3080 | Intel i9 |
$2,449 $2,299.99 at iBuyPower (save $150)
Buying an RTX 3080 is nigh-on impossible right now, so a pre-built system is absolutely the way to go for that sweet, sweet Ampere graphics. This iBuyPower machine has a pretty hefty discount at the moment, netting you a 10-core CPU, 32GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD into the bargain.View Deal
iBuyPower Gaming PC | RTX 3070 | Intel i7 |
$1,749 $1,629.99 at iBuyPower (save $120)
You can bag a deal on an RTX 3070 this Black Friday it seems... you just have to buy a full system wrapped around it. That's some fancy wrapping paper, including 16GB RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD, and the 8-core, 16-thread 10th Gen Intel Core i7. The system is expected to ship on the 10th December too.View Deal
Origin PC is also in the race to get you a new Nvidia GPU before Christmas, but it's not going to be an RTX 3080. OriginPC is estimating that it will be around 29 - 31 business days right now before it can ship you an RTX 3080 machine, but only 6 - 8 days for either an RTX 3070, or the RTX 3090 big boi.
Origin PC deals | Pick up to 3 free gifts on select systems
Origin hasn't yet listed any specific system deals, but it has launched its Black Friday bundles. The bonuses take the form of either a $50 VISA card, a 500GB Seagate SSD, a Corsair Void Pro wireless headset, a Corsair K55 and Harpoon keyboard/mouse setup, a Corsair Dark Core Pro mouse, or an Elgato Mini Dock.View Deal
There was a time earlier this week when you could have bagged a Corsair RTX 30-series machine this side of the new year, but unfortunately the Corsair Vengeance i7200, which ships with an RTX 3080 inside it, seems to be out of stock for now. Looks like even Corsair has run out of Ampere GPUs.
But the Vengeance i7200 is a super powerful machine, but then it's also super expensive. Inside is the 10-core, 20-thread Core i9 10850K, 32GB of 3,200MHz RAM (of course there is, it's Corsair), a 1TB NVMe SSD, a 2TB HDD, and that all-important RTX 3080.
Corsair Vengeance i7200 | Intel i9 | RTX 3080 | $2,799.99 at Corsair.com
Sadly you're no longer able to get the system in your hands by Christmas, but what a system it is. You can see why Corsair ain't getting on no deals with this machine; it's packed full of tech. A 10-core CPU, 32GB DDR4-3200, 1TB NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD, and an Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card.View Deal
Maingear is offering a healthy $300 discount on its RTX 3070-powered VYBE Gaming PCs as a Black Friday offer at the moment, though isn't able to guarantee that you'll be getting the system by Christmas I'm afraid.
VYBE RTX 3070 AMD Ryzen 5600X build |
$1,899 $1,599 at Maingear (save $300)
It's proving to be especially difficult to find RTX 3070 cards and Ryzen 5600X CPUs at the moment, but this prebuilt gaming PC has both installed and ready to go. Saving $300 and not having to spend any time building sounds like a dream to me.View Deal
How to buy an RTX 3080, RTX 3090, or RTX 3070 as an upgrade
Black Friday 2020 deals: the place to go for the all the best Black Friday bargains.
If you're only looking to upgrade your current PC, and don't want, or can't afford, to take the plunge on a whole new machine it's tempting to say you're almost entirely out of luck. We've spoken to Nvidia representatives who assure us that stock is regularly going out to the retailers and that all it takes is a little persistence to track an Ampere card down.
I think they might be right, were it not for the fact that there are a whole load of pre-orders still waiting to be fulfilled and that a whole load of stock will be going their way instead of suddenly appearing on the various retailer sites waiting to be snapped up.
The Nvidia.com store is a good place to start if you want a one-stop-shop to check on availability. But if you're after Founders Edition cards, we've got some bad news, as it's stopped selling them direct, so you'll have to take a trip to Best Buy anyway. But they're all sold out, so that barely matters today.
- Nvidia Store - Eventually Founders Edition and retailer links
- Amazon - Third-party overclocked cards
- Walmart - Third-party and overclocked cards
- B&H Photo - Third-party and overclocked cards
- Best Buy - Founders Edition, third-party, and overclocked cards
- Newegg - Third-party and overclocked cards
Still, keeping an eye out at these retailers for third-party versions of Nvidia's finest ever graphics cards may still yield reward. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but sometime. Probably after Christmas and well into the new year, sadly.