Following Nvidia’s advice to retailers in the cause of supporting gamers trying to find a decently priced graphics card, some retail outlets have been making concrete moves to ensure GPUs aren’t being snapped up by cryptocurrency miners – including Micro Center over in the US.
Nvidia advised limiting sales of any individual model of graphics card to two per customer at a maximum (i.e. preventing bulk buying by miners), and Micro Center is doing this, as Tom’s Hardware reports, as well as offering discounts for those buying bundles of components in-store.
In other words, system builders buying other components as well as their graphics card will receive substantial discounts on the bundle, hopefully getting the GPU for close to the actual recommended retail price (or at least well below the current average asking price).
Note that there is quite a lot of anecdotal chatter on Reddit about this, with some folks suggesting you need to be buying an entire system (i.e. power supply, hard drive and so forth – the whole caboodle) to benefit from the discounting on the GPU, although there is apparently some wiggle room.
Others are saying you’re fine with a bundle of the core elements (CPU, motherboard, memory). And others still reckon they’ve got a discounted graphics card simply by telling the staff that it’s for gaming – although this may be a mistake on the employee’s part. And obviously, anyone could say: “Sure, this GPU is for gaming…”
Although you might be a bit less convincing if you’re trying to buy four of the things while claiming that.
At any rate, Micro Center is clearly trying to take action in favor of gamers, in one form or another, and it’s not the only retailer. Head north to Canada, and Memory Express has stopped fulfilling online orders for graphics cards, again only selling to customers in-store, with GPUs apparently reserved for DIY system builders (there’s no mention of discounts here, though).
Newegg has also reportedly bundled monitors or external GPU enclosures with graphics cards that have discounts applied, although these deals have apparently disappeared at the moment (and some of them weren’t overly appealing, by all accounts).
Those deals may return, though, and it's a fair bet that other retailers will probably be getting on this bundle bandwagon – it seems likely that both Nvidia and AMD are talking to outlets behind-the-scenes to help ease the current GPU situation in whatever way they can.
And that’s certainly good news for those who want to build a new PC, but have been put off by the massively hiked prices of graphics cards thanks to the current cryptocurrency mining craze (triggered by the skyrocketing value of these virtual coins of late).
The best news, of course, would be an increase in production and supply of graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, but speeding up the assembly lines is not a trivial matter, and won’t be happening any time soon.
- These are the best graphics cards of 2018
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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).