The RTX 3090 launched yesterday, while going through the unveiling and the release, like other RTX 3000 GPU’s all in the month of September. From those, we have seen two launches so far: the top-end RTX 3080, and the “over-the-top” RTX 3090, and we say that because NVIDIA did call it a “Titan-class” card. However, despite the positioning by marketing and the price were no deterrent for a great deal of potential buyers looking to get one of the very first editions of the card from NVIDIA directly, as NVIDIA does sell the Founders’ Edition card directly on their website.
3090’s Launch: Déjà vu to 3080
But NVIDIA’s launches have been nothing short of a headache for people hunting a card. The 3080 launch showed NVIDIA’s stock running out in less than enough time for people to even load the page to place an order. People took it to Twitter to let NVIDIA know about these problems, and also to eBay as well, to find out that there already are listings for the card from people with a legitimate order placed receipt as proof. All listings were massively inflated in price, and some people also fell victim to being scammed out of their money by these sellers.
It was clear with the 3080 launch that scalpers were rampant, and a lot of the sold cards were getting nabbed by scalpers using bots to make the purchases right when orders opened, eventually flipping them for, in some cases, double the MSRP of the card. NVIDIA promptly responded to clarify that they had done “everything humanly possible, including manually reviewing orders, to get these cards in the hands of legitimate customers,” and apologising their customers for their inconvenience. The respite there is that NVIDIA has been resupplying all vendors with new stock to keep up with demand regularly, making sure that people indeed get the GPUs they aim to buy.
3090 launched with short supply and but similar bots
However, the 3090 launch did not bring anything different in terms of the experience of ordering the card for buyers. The $1500 card still was out of stock presumably even before you could buy the thing for some. And sure enough, eBay listings were there again, really just mocking users with the need for the GPU, and for scamming the naive who would make the purchase there for their money. Yet again, “the bots won”, and NVIDIA said about the launch event: “We want to apologize upfront that this will be in limited supply on launch day. We know this is frustrating, and we’re working with our partners to increase the supply in the weeks to come”.
PCMag themselves detailed their experience with attempting to make a purchase of the 3090, and they had the NVIDIA website stall completely once they were able to get it to show an “Add To Cart” option.
The combination of short supply and bots being able to snag all units available before a legitimate order can be placed has led to a visible amount of backlash, with users taking to Twitter to report their problem to NVIDIA, and for help in resolving the problems they all face. Very few actual users have got their orders confirmed, as scalpers make money off of their purchases in this mess.
These series of incidents has led to requests and comments from major technology press outlets and figureheads at NVIDIA to make them resolve their issues with detecting bots on their store checkout, but that was after the 3080 launch, and the 3090 launch showed that nothing changed, and the same problems persist. This problem is on its way to be repeated during the 3070 launch as well, and with that being a cheaper card, it may even happen to a worse extent.
It is problems like these that make a product launch of something this highly-anticipated and promising go bad. Combine that with the divided opinions with which the 3090 has been reviewed, from being labelled an “8K gaming GPU” and delivering 30 frames per second in several titles without DLSS (hence, actual 8K), to being equal to a Titan RTX GPU from the previous generation in actual “Titan” workloads, such as productivity tasks, the RTX 3090 is not a slam-dunk of a product from NVIDIA which loses even more points by being unobtainium at launch. The 3080 is a much easier recommendation, but it again saw the same issues and did not get in the hands of potential consumers at launch, at least at MSRP.