There’s been a lot of talk recently about how difficult it is to get hold of a graphics card at the moment. It’s true that, at the moment, prices on a high-end graphics card are unreasonably high. That’s assuming your retail outlet of choice even has them in stock.
There are various reasons for this. Mining of cryptocurrencies has been blamed quite heavily, and there is some truth to that. A disproportionate amount of particularly high-end graphics cards are making their way into the hands of miners. However it is also compounded by the fact that demand has significantly increased in these COVID-19 times, and manufacturers just do not have the capacity to keep up with the demand right now. Scalpers pushing the price up even further on sites such as Ebay also does little to help the situation.
If you’re in the market for a new graphics card, you might be wondering how you could get your hands on something decent that doesn’t require you to remortgage your house. There are in fact a few options available to you, though some options do involve an element of risk. So here we present some of these options to you to try and guide you through to a more reasonable option.
Buying A New Graphics Card
With all that I’ve said above, you might be wondering why I have placed this option first. Depending on your situation, this might still be a good option.
You will still have a hard time finding stock of the top of the line NVidia cards, particularly the newest range of Nvidia 3000 series and AMD 6000 series cards. Even if you can get them, the prices are very highly inflated, sometimes costing several thousand dollars. The same can be said for many of the equivalent AMD cards. If you’re looking to upgrade to the latest top-on-the-line graphics card, you’re going to have a tough time of it until the situation improves. There’s really no getting around this.
There are still a few options if you’re looking to upgrade an older machine or will consider using a card that’s not the latest generation of cards.
At present, the NVIDIA 2000 series cards seem to have slightly better availability, as well as the 1600 series graphics cards such as the 1650 and 1660. While the prices are still inflated, it’s not nearly as bad as the NVIDIA 3000 and AMD 6000 series cards. At the time of writing, on some of the retailers I use, some of these cards are listed as in stock and cost under $AU1000.
They might be a bit of a compromise compared to the latest and greatest cards, but they still offer you a number options that are a bit more friendly on the credit card.
I would recommend though still being careful about using sites such as Ebay. Many of the cards that make their way here are being sold by scalpers. This is a behaviour that shouldn’t be encouraged where possible. If you do plan on buying from Ebay, we’d recommend ensuring a seller is backed by a known retailer to help discourage scalping.
Buying Refurbished Cards
There are some merchants that sell refurbished equipment. NewEgg, a company that operates in several countries, are known to offer this. JW Computers based out of Sydney also sell refurbished equipment.
There are a number of reasons why a part may be listed as refurbished. Parts may be returned as being incompatible with a particular system, but may be otherwise working. Parts may have also been used as demonstrations for customers, or may have packaging that’s somewhat damaged, but otherwise function perfectly fine.
In these cases, it is usual for these parts to be sold at a lower cost and still come with some form of warranty. It may be a shorter warranty period than what you would receive from a new part, but it is still a warranty.
These offer a great way to get some parts significantly cheaper than ordinary retail. If you are able to find a graphics card that is refurbished in this manner, you can essentially get a nearly new graphics card for in some cases significantly lower cost.
There are a few things to watch out for here though. You need to be able to establish why it is being listed as “Refurbished”. A reputable site such as NewEgg or JW Computers will usually be forthcoming in whether the item has been used just for customer demonstration or whether it is just “carton damage”. With sites such as Ebay, the definition of “Seller Refurbished” can sometimes be a bit looser, and with the site having a wider range of sellers, you’re basically relying on them accurately describing the item. Again, we’d suggest you pay attention to whi is selling the card. If it is backed by a retailer rather than an individual, or the reviews are looking particularly good, these will usually indicate a safer bet.
Buying Used Parts
Going for something that has been used and not listed as refurbished is probably the biggest gamble. The reason it is being sold as “used” can vary widely. It may just be sold off as part of an upgrade and is otherwise still functional. It may have been replaced due to it being faulty and the seller is looking to pass it onto any sucker that will buy it. Though given the current environment, it may also have lived a hard life of cryptocurrency mining.
If this is how the card has been used, then you can expect the card to have lived a hard life. This doesn’t guarantee a terrible deal, but it does increase the risk of a short life span.
For this reason we would only recommend this if the price was low enough that it was worth taking the gamble, as there is a risk that it might not pay off. This way, you don’t have a lot of money tied up if things go wrong. We’d recommend trying to gauge why it is being sold, and try and ascertain the level of trust that you can place in the seller’s honesty.
A Final Thought
Buying a card new at this point is a challenging, though not impossible, task. If you’re looking for a high-end card, your credit card will definitely not love you, assuming you can even find a card that’s in stock.
We hope this guide helps you towards a few options if you still want to get a new card. Though maybe we’ve opened your mind to considering a refurbished unit from a reputable seller to save yourself a few dollars.