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The Nvidia RTX 3080 is still hard to find, so maybe it’s time to just get a prebuilt gaming PC

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
(Image credit: Future)

Recently, you may have noticed that it’s a bit difficult to buy one of the best graphics cards or processors. A combination of the re-emergence of cryptocurrency, a global semiconductor shortage and the fact that everyone is stuck at home playing the best PC games, means that everyone is trying to get their hands on a shiny new Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. And, it doesn’t look like it’ll be easier to get a new GPU any time soon. 

However, if you really want to get your hands on the latest graphics tech, there is still an option – and, no, I’m not going to suggest supporting the “misunderstood” scalpers

The best gaming PCs, that is, prebuilt gaming rigs, haven’t seen a major price increase, and are probably the best way to get a new rig right now, especially if you were planning on building a whole new machine yourself anyway.  

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

(Image credit: Nvidia)

What about building it yourself? 

Most of the time, I’m a huge proponent of building your own PC, if that’s something you’re comfortable doing. Not only is it fun, but it makes it easier to troubleshoot any problems that arise in the future. But no matter how much fun I have messing around with PC hardware, it’s not for everyone, even in the best of times. 

One of the biggest arguments I see thrown around the PC gaming community is that it’s cheaper to build a new gaming PC than it is to buy one pre-built. And, really, that makes sense. Go on PC Part Picker and select the parts you want to build, and at MSRP, it absolutely is cheaper to build it yourself. 

But PC components aren’t really going for MSRP prices right now are they? 

While you might be one of the lucky people to pick up an RTX 3080 within seconds of a restock being announced via Newegg’s Twitter account, scalpers are kind of controlling the market right now. On StockX, one of the biggest aftermarket retailers, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition is selling for $1,645 (about £1,190, AU$2,121) at the time of writing.

That’s nearly three times the $699 (£649, about AU$950) price that Nvidia launched the graphics card for back in September 2020. Hell, when I reviewed the card at launch, one of the biggest things I praised the graphics card for was its affordability, especially compared to the RTX 2080 Ti

I know that the level of performance that the RTX 3080 offers is tempting, and I can tell you from experience that it is a true generational leap. But there is no universe where it’s worth dropping almost two grand for just a graphics card. 

Alienware Aurora R11

(Image credit: Future)

So, just buy a new gaming PC 

If you’re willing to drop that much cash to upgrade your gaming situation, you might as well get a full system upgrade. Right now, you can find gaming PCs equipped with the RTX 3080 for not much more than the current market value of that card.

Alienware PCs have a reputation for being really expensive, but you can get an Alienware Aurora R11 right now for $2,587 that’s packed with a 10th-generation Intel Core processor and an RTX 3080. At iBuyPower, you can get basically the same specs as the Alienware for $2,227, with a chassis that’s less of a pain to upgrade later. 

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Alienware Aurora R11: $2,587 at Dell
The Alienware Aurora R11 is one of the best gaming PCs on the market right now, with one of the most striking designs we've seen in a mass-produced rig. And, you can get it with an Nvidia RTX 3080 and a Core i7 processor for just $2,587. 

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iBuyPower Snowblind: $2,227 at iBuyPower
iBuyPower is a boutique PC builder that provides rigs at a much cheaper price than the Maingears and Origins of the world. And, right now you can get their Snowblind PC packed with an RTX 3080 – though you'll have to select the GPU in the configurator. 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of PC manufacturers out there that have PCs with Nvidia RTX 3000 graphics cards in stock. And, yeah, it totally sucks that you have to buy a whole gaming PC just to get your hands on the latest graphics card – I totally feel that. 

There’s nothing better than picking up a new graphics card and simply slotting it into your PC to be able to play the latest PC games, without having to worry about setting up a whole new system. 

I have so many friends and family members who are constantly coming to me and asking when they’re going to be able to buy an RTX 3000 or Radeon RX 6000 graphics card – or even an AMD Ryzen 5000 processor – but the truth is, I know as much as they do. With how fast all these components keep selling out, it’s anyone’s guess as to when they’ll be in stock. 

I can’t wait until I can tell them, and all of you, that it’s finally time to head on over to Newegg to casually get yourself a GPU upgrade. But the reality of the situation, right now, is that the market is a total mess, and I don’t know when it’s going to get better. And, if you’re still out there in the trenches, refreshing your browser over and over for the chance to get a new GPU, I’m sending you my good vibes. Hopefully you can get one soon.

Jackie Thomas

Jackie Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's US computing editor. She is fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but she just happens to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop her a line on Twitter or through email.