Despite its uninspiring performance advantage over its older siblings, we expect NVIDIA’s new RTX 3080 Ti to launch to insane demand tomorrow morning. Making use of the same GPU found in the RTX 3080, the newer variant does manage to bridge the performance gap between the RTX 3090 and the rest of NVIDIA’s current product stack. The $1199 USD price tag for a Founders Edition card is a tough pill to swallow, even amidst the rampant scalping that has befallen the entire consumer GPU market over the last year.
Still, if you are determined to ride the RTX 3080 Ti wave on launch day, you’ll need to be prepared and have a plan. The first step of that plan should be to know where you can buy the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition cards. In this case, the answer is both simple and a bit disheartening.
Where to buy an NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti
Continuing a plan established in the wake of the rocky launch of the RTX 3000 series GPUs last year, NVIDIA is no longer selling their Founders Edition GPUs directly to customers. Instead, all North American sales are being handled by retailer Best Buy. While we do know that custom 3080 Ti cards from partner OEMs are on the way, there are no firm release dates or pricing information at this time. What we do know is that some lucky PC gamers will be able to get Founders Edition cards tomorrow at Best Buy.
The bad news is that these Founders Edition cards will only be available to in-store customers and only at select Best Buy locations. Best Buy has posted a buyer’s guide for the RTX 3080 TI Founders Edition cards that list all the participating stores. Prospective buyers will need to line up outside a participating store and wait until 7:30 a.m. local time when store employees will start handing out redemption tickets for the cards to those in line.
Customers who get one of these tickets from store staff will be guaranteed an RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition card upon the normal store opening at 9:00 a.m. local time. There will be an enforced limit of one card per customer.
While there is no firm release date or pricing info for custom variants of the RTX 3080 Ti, cards should start arriving at the usual retail outlets in the coming weeks. Online outlets such as Amazon and NewEgg will get these cards, though the times they make them available for purchase will be erratic. Best Buy also offers drops of new GPUs through their online store from time to time, but there has never been a set schedule for when this may occur. Potential buyers who live near MicroCenter retail stores may get a chance to purchase some of these custom cards in person, but again, no dates or times are official as of now.
If you need a rundown on the specs and details of the RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3070 Ti, be sure to check out our coverage from the NVIDIA Keynote Address from Computex 2021 where the cards were officially announced.