The Continuing GPU Shortage

I purchased a gaming laptop in 2019 (17″ MSI Ge75 Raider / RTX2070 / i7-8750) for a decent price. At the time I was debating a full blown PC, knowing that the 30X0 series was due in short order, and that it was likely to be a generational change (like the 20X0 series prior). I had done the math – I could not beat the price of the laptop and had little interest in just swapping out a GPU in a year. One key bit here is that I have 2 kids, so hand-me-down laptops, in particular gaming ones, can last for a very long time, rather than just having PC hand me downs which are a real PITA to manage.

Still, one I have an itch it’s darn hard to scratch it. The 30X0 series was announced and for a bunch of reasons, including the pandemic, there’s been a massive shortage of components for a year now. I can’t blame the companies for the shortage – supply chain issues are crazy complex today. I can blame them for not doing anything about the scalpers/bots. Best Buy in Canada won’t let you order any of them online, and you can only get 1 in-store. The last batch had people waiting 20+ hours for it. Now, can they flip those cards for 1 day’s wait? For sure. But 1 card is a much easier thing to swallow than the bot rampage of multiple cards.

I can buy a card now, but I’d be paying scalper markups. A $1000 MSRP is easily double right now. It’s already hard enough justifying the lower price to play Minecraft in 4k. There are maybe a half dozen games a year where a dedicated PC rig would actually matter. Control is the last one I can think of where it actually would have mattered, and I’d be stretching if I said it mattered for Outriders. The Ascent would be one I guess.

So the base kit would be something like ($CDN)

  • ATX mid tower – 85
  • IAO cooler + fans – 150
  • 750w 80+ gold PS – 90
  • 1Tb Samsung 970 – 190
  • 2x 8G DDR4 3600 – 110
  • B560 ATX board w/ WiFi- 280
  • i7 11700 – 500

That’s around $1400 and I don’t have a 2nd drive (so maybe another $200), and it doesn’t go all out on RGB or color coordination. I’d need an OS ($20 OEM), plus a keyboard mouse ($150) and finally a decent monitor ($300). So let’s say that brings it up to $1900.

Video cards should be (small rant here but Amazon sucks something fierce to search cards):

  • 3060 – 700
  • 3070 – 1000
  • 3080 – 1400
  • 3090 – 3000

The 3090 makes no sense to me, so it’s really a choice between the 3070/3080. So the total rig goes between $2900 and $3300 – add another $1000 if I want to buy from scalpers. I can get a 17″ laptop, with similar specs and a 3070 for $2500. Well, stock levels seem to be there now.

It would certainly be cool to build a rig, and share that experience with my daughters. Maybe in another year when this stuff sorts itself out… or I win some lottery of luck.

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