Gamers hoping to finally pick up a modern GPU for the crowning upgrade to their system have been dealt a fresh blow this week as retailers began listing preliminary prices for the upcoming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060. Although scheduled to launch on February 25th (a release date only recently confirmed), the card has been popping up for pre-order early complete with pricing in rare instances. Consumers of a nervous disposition should looks away now.
NVIDIA revealed the mainstream GeForce RTX 3060 GPU during CES 2021, complete with Q1 2021 release date and (crucially) $329/329 MSRP. While the GPU market was and continues to be choppy, the price was seen as respite for those seeking a great performing mainstream entry point into NVIDIA's RTX ecosystem (including DLSS 2.0 and hybrid real-time ray tracing). Unfortunately, retailers and AIBs appear to be struggling to meet that anticipated price.
Videocardz.net has highlighted a pair of European retailers who already have a limited selection of RTX 3060's listed for pre-order, and prices are a long way from MSRP. Proship.pl's cheapest was over the weekend priced at a whopping 499 (>50% higher than MSRP), while PCDIGA were pushing selected AIB variants over than 650, increasing by 100 week-on-week and matching the already inflated RTX 3060 Ti.
One point of reassurance is that the SKUs listed are towards the premium end (such as the 650 ASUS STRIX model), and hence the prices may not be reflective of the cheapest bare bones models. That will however be scant comfort if prices continue to creep upwards, and so long as other retailers are conspicuously silent.
In recent months the graphics card market has been plagued by unprecedented demand caused not only by a surge in PC gaming, but also a major spike in cryptocurrency valuation and hence mining. Pictures of crypto mining farms complete with racks of RTX 30-series cards (and even laptops) are not uncommon on tech-centric social media right now, and worldwide stock of the even the relatively less powerful RTX 3060 may be swallowed up by the farms with room to spare. Either way, a general lack of graphics card stock at any tier will push prices higher for any new release.
At this point it seems that, due either to poor stock or exceptional anticipated demand, acquiring an RTX 3060 at launch anything close to MSRP will be a matter of luck rather than expectation.