Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU is teaching scalpers a well-deserved lesson

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 on a wooden desk in front of a white panel
(Image credit: Future)

Nvidia’s RTX 4080 GPU is freshly on the scene, and we’ve seen stock shortages in the early days of the graphics card – but the good news is that scalpers trying to capitalize on reselling these cards appear to be mostly falling flat on their faces.

As Tom’s Hardware reports, looking at sales data for RTX 4080 GPUs on eBay in the US in the past week, they’re barely shifting at all, so price gouging chancers hoping to make a quick profit on them are no doubt starting to panic – and maybe rethinking their money-making gambit which is currently crashing and burning.

In fact, RTX 4090 graphics cards are way outselling the RTX 4080 on eBay, according to Tom’s stats, with 3.4 of the former being sold to every unit of the RTX 4080 shifted. In other words, getting on for quadruple the amount of RTX 4090 graphics cards are being sold compared to its lesser Lovelace sibling.

Tom’s notes that on average just eight RTX 4080 GPUs are being sold per day on eBay US, and that’s a massive way off what was seen with the RTX 4090; when the flagship launched, at peak it was selling 64 cards daily on the auction site.

Analysis: Reflecting broader feelings on the disappointing RTX 4080

This reflects the broad sentiment out there regarding the RTX 4080 as a badly positioned graphics card – nearly as pricey as the RTX 4090 in some cases, and yet not offering anything like the same performance levels.

While the RTX 4090 was a profit-spinner for scalpers (sadly) – reselling at 54% over MSRP in its launch week on eBay – the RTX 4080 is only commanding a 30% premium over MSRP right now (and it’s not really selling much at that level either, as observed above). The RTX 4090 remains at 38% over MSRP currently, still stronger than the newer 4080, and prices of the Lovelace flagship have even risen just a little on eBay following the RTX 4080 launch.

This spells out a couple of things pretty clearly – the disappointing and poorly received RTX 4080 is certainly helping to push RTX 4090 sales, both of new graphics cards off the shelves (as we’ve seen with stats elsewhere, the flagship has sold over four times as many units as the RTX 4080, roughly), and on eBay.

It’s also a clear lesson for scalpers that just because a shiny new graphics card comes out, it isn’t necessarily going to be a resale goldmine, or even make much of a profit at all. Right now with RTX 4080 models, scalpers are doubtless going to be nervously looking at shifting stock and taking a slight loss, perhaps, rather than a bigger loss down the line.

Times appear to be changing, then, in terms of GPU price gouging for new stock now feeling a bit like playing with fire – at least with the RTX 4080. And with any luck, these warning signals may make scalpers think twice about getting involved in reselling AMD’s incoming RDNA 3 graphics cards, which might be cheaper than Nvidia’s Lovelace models, but will still be expensive beasts. That does rather depend on how initial stock levels work out, mind you, and how much volume AMD and its card making partners can muster – because if GPUs turn out to be thin on the ground, that’s obviously a ripe recipe for scalping.

Let’s hope that some lessons have been learned here, though, and at least some folks who are apparently getting their fingers burnt trying to flip an RTX 4080 for a profit may not want to put themselves through this risk or hassle in the future.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).