A hot potato: Scalpers are one of several reasons why the price and availability of graphics cards are comparable to gold right now, but several retailers are introducing measures to try and curb the practice of reselling.
A Micro Center in Dallas made headlines earlier this month after someone captured chaotic scenes of customers rushing to grab restocked Nvidia cards. The incident illustrated the unprecedented demand and desperation for products we’re experiencing right now, which has resulted in scalpers selling GPUs on eBay for two to four times their MSRP.
Many retailers are attempting to stop resellers by implementing restrictions. Reddit user cubiclewarrior50 (via Kotaku) took a photo of a notice at their local Micro Center showing the graphics card-buying rules.
“In order to assure that more customers have the opportunity to purchase video cards, Micro Center is restricting video card sales to 1 per customer every 30 days,” the sign reads.
Image credit: cubiclewarrior50
In order to enforce this policy, purchases must be completed using a driver’s license or government-issued ID. Several commentators say their local stores have the same or similar rules in place.
There are ways to circumvent such restrictions, of course, including getting friends/family members to buy extra cards for resale, but it does make the whole process of bulk buying and reselling more difficult.
In the UK, members of parliament proposed a bill that would “prohibit the automated purchase and resale of games consoles and computer components; and for connected purposes,” though it may not lead to any solid action.
There has been some recent good news for gamers looking to upgrade their PCs. ASRock says card prices are falling as a result of China’s crackdown on cryptomining, which has seen less demand for GPUs in the country. That's encouraging, seeing as 700,000 graphics cards that shipped in Q1 ended up in the hands of miners.
Our monthly look at GPU availability and pricing shows the average eBay selling price of Ampere/RDNA 2 cards fell -8% from May to June, while the Nvidia RTX 2000-series was down -14% during the same period.