How to get your hands on an RTX 3080 without paying a scalper

Graphics cards are hard to come by these days, but we've got the insider tips and tricks.

Gaming PC with RGB LED lights on a computer, assembled with hardware components

As you may have noticed, there is a major GPU shortage right now, and scalpers are capitalizing.


However, it is actually possible to nab the perfect GPU for your gaming rig, Bitcoin mining operation, or your future supercomputer, without having to sell a kidney.


Here's what you need to know:

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Re-stock bots

In times of need, don't be afraid to turn to non-human resources to help get you what you need. In this case, re-stock bots on Twitter are good starting points to let you know when GPUs are even available for the buying.


The downside here is of course that given the popularity of GPUs, there are already plenty of people following these bots. That doesn't mean they won't help in your hunting, but it is a starting point.


Discord groups

Sometimes bots just aren't enough to get you where you need to be. This is where Discord servers come in. If you've never been in one, it's basically just Slack for gamers. Don't worry, it's cool.


On Discord groups like StockRadar you'll be able to swap info with other GPU hunters and make use of Discord bots, which are way more advanced than Twitter bots. Make sure to read the rules and customize your notifications.


Other server options include StockDrops and TechStockBot which actually organizes GPUs by brand (helpful for those looking to get their hands on a specific card). Heads up: Each server has its own specific set of rules, so be ready to read the proverbial manual.


So maybe one of your many methods has actually presented you with the chance to buy one of these things. When the fateful moment comes, makes sure you have your browser or password manager's autofill details filled out and ready to go.

Simple steps like saving your passwords and logins for popular retailers as well as your payment information will give you an edge against other shoppers.


Google alerts

Finding rare products is all about casting a wide net, which means you'll have to leave no stone un-turned. Using Google Alerts to notify you when cards come back into stock (i.e. setting an alert for "RTX 3080 in stock") will keep your inbox updated.


Retailer alerts

Popular sites like Newegg and EVGA will notify you when out-of-stock items are replenished. EVGA switched to a queue-based notification system that will send you a link to an item once it's your turn to buy. This link will allow customers to purchase said product (in this case a graphics card) for eight hours.

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Newegg also has a notification system, though it's not tied to a queue and, and it doesn't hurt to canvass other mainstream retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, though as one might expect, all of the above are magnets for bots, which brings us to the next point...


If you can't beat em'...

Join 'em. Maybe it's time to cede the moral high ground and use a little automation software yourself.


If you're not the type that can code your own GPU-hoovering shop bot, you can go one of two routes. You can purchase a bot from creators like Bounce Alerts which is designed to rove online retailers in search of plunder to get the job done (these bots have already proven highly successful in doing so). Or you can turn to the crowd.

In response to a robust scalping movement, some generous souls have also decided to make, and sometimes release, their own bots for free on GitHub, though, you'll have to do some digging to find one that works for you. Reddit and Discord are probably good places to start asking around for bots to do your GPU bidding.


The bottom line

GPUs are just scarce right now. Between demand for Bitcoin mining rigs and PC gamers looking to further increase graphics performance to suit next-gen games, you've got some stark competition. While none of these tips will guarantee that you can secure a new card, the combination of them will vastly improve your chances. So, with a little bit of diligence and a lot of luck, you might just hack your way into the GPU(s) of your dreams.

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