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Hundreds camped at Best Buy stores for restocked RTX 30-series graphics cards

Best Buy restocked a considerable supply of Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-Series graphics cards. The cards were put for sale on Tuesday, June 20, in select stores all over the country, prompting thousands of people to camp outside the stores overnight. Although some locations still have a few of the most expensive models up for grabs, the majority of the GPUs sold out almost immediately.

The retailer announced the release of RTX 30-Series graphics cards recently in a blog post. The cards were only available in brick-and-mortar stores, with none of the stock making it into the online version of Best Buy. Sales were limited to one card per customer and were conducted through a ticket system. Although the stores opened at 8 a.m. local time, Best Buy employees were handing out tickets for the Nvidia GPUs starting from 7:30 a.m. The number of tickets was equivalent to the number of graphics cards in stock. Those with a ticket were asked to come inside the store immediately after opening in order to purchase a GPU — grabbing a ticket and then coming back later was not allowed.

⚠️ 🏷 Best Buy line for RTX GPUs in NYC stretches around the block. 200+ people. And it’s going pretty much how you’d expect. PURE CHOAS! THIS is why restocks are online (which, yes, is also chaos). People waiting since 12pm yesterday (20 hours). Tons of shouting from both sides.

— Matt Swider (tracking PS5 / Xbox / GPU restock) (@mattswider) July 20, 2021

Best Buy did not disclose ahead of time which models of Nvidia’s GPUs it was going to stock. Owning a ticket allowed the customer to pick one card regardless of the model, so no one knew which card they’d be able to get until they made it inside. The stock varied by location, but most stores had a combination of Founders Editions of RTX 3060, RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090, as well as the RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 Ti, and RTX 3080 Ti.

The supply of these graphics cards is limited at best and non-existent at the worst, so it’s no surprise that the Best Buy sale electrified aspiring PC builders. Most locations had a line that began forming overnight or even in the early morning of the previous day. Over 200 people stood outside of some of the stores, and some of them walked away with nothing, as the supplies were limited.

While most of the stores sold out immediately, with the tickets being handed to those who waited during the night, some locations had a larger stock to distribute. Several Best Buy stores still had a few remaining RTX 3090 cards a few hours after opening. However, it’s mostly safe to assume that even those have sold out by now and that most locations are completely out of stock.

Promotional photo of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card.

During the recent releases of Nvidia’s latest GPUs, the RTX 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti, Best Buy tried out two different sales models. The RTX 3070 Ti was only sold online and sold out in seconds after being delayed by several hours, while the 3080 Ti was only offered in person. This also caused hundreds of people to camp outside in order to get their hands on one of those graphics cards.

Snagging one of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-Series GPUs at its recommended price is no easy feat. Although some of these cards will come back onto the market overpriced by scalpers, this sale still allowed hundreds of legitimate cards to be sold at reasonable prices. With the supplies slowly normalizing, we can only hope that this will be the first of several chances of getting a new GPU in the upcoming months.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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