We know that the supply chain issues have made all sorts of products hard to come by, at this point ranging from cards and trucks to food and drink. The product category that has been the hardest hit, it would seem, is the video card industry. Every card from every manufacturer, representing both the AMD and NVIDIA side of the industry, is sold out across the board. However, some inventory is available and can be found in the wild. Here are some of the ways to find a video card this holiday season.
The way that is most likely to return a positive result, though far from the most direct, is to purchase a PC with the card you want in it. It's a bit like buying a car to get new tires, but unfortunately, right now it is the fastest and easiest way to get to your goal.
If you are intending to build a PC from scratch, then this might be a good option. Many of the PCs that are available on the market with the high-end graphics cards in them also have options for other quality components. That means that you could put together a PC in the specs you want, or close to it, for about the price you could expect to find the components today. The benefit, in this case, is that you get the components you need and you don't have to do any real work. The downside, of course, is that the price is going to be inflated since it's a built PC.
If you are upgrading an existing PC, this isn't going to be as great of an option. Essentially, you would be looking to do something similar to when a portable hard drive is less expensive than an internal one. The term is "shucking" where you treat the hard drive like corn and remove the husk for the insides. The benefit here is that you do still get the graphics card. The problem, though, is obvious - it's going to be far more expensive. But, you could always put your old card in it and try to sell it on the Facebook Marketplace and recover some of your costs.
There are some services that you can use to get inventory. Newegg has their Product Shuffle lottery service. This service gives you a better chance of getting a card, but the price is going to be inflated, but lower than buying a whole PC. You're not guaranteed to get one, though, so it's a literal gamble. The best way is to get HotStock, which will alert you when inventory becomes available at different retailers.
You can always go to places like eBay and give in to the scalpers. The biggest problem here is that it will continue to encourage the scalpers to keep doing this, making the problem worse for a longer period of time. But, it's also generally more expensive (or really close to the same price) than buying a whole PC.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.