Nvidia RTX 3090 will be crazy expensive and hard to buy — here’s why

The rumored Zotac RTX 3090 card
(Image credit: @SfdxShow/Twitter)

The very powerful and very expensive Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is set to go on sale today at 9 a.m. ET (6 a.m PT and 2 p.m. BST). Despite costing $1,499, it’s expected to sell very quickly, much like the GeForce RTX 3080. So much so that Nvidia has preemptively apologized for a “limited supply” of the RTX 3090. 

In a blog post, Nvidia stressed that the GeForce RTX 3090 is primarily aimed at creative professionals and researchers, as well as hardcore gamers who want to play at 8K resolutions. So it isn’t a graphics card that will be made in high volumes. 

“Since we built GeForce RTX 3090 for a unique group of users, like the Titan RTX before it, we want to apologize upfront that this will be in limited supply on launch day,” Nvidia said. “We know this is frustrating, and we’re working with our partners to increase the supply in the weeks to come.” 

Nvidia noted that the RTX 3090 is only 10 to 15 percent faster for 4K gaming than the RTX 3080, which means it is basically pointing gamers towards the $699 RTX 3080.

That’s all well and good, but the RTX 3080 is very difficult to find given it sold extremely quickly when it launched last week. Furthermore, the RTX 3080 is being sold on eBay for some ridiculous prices that put it close to the RTX 3090. 

As such, despite Nvidia noting that the RTX 3090 isn’t for your average garden variety PC gamer, we suspect a lot of people might rush to the RTX 3090 after failing to get a RTX 3080.

Massive price tags for third-party RTX 3090

Speaking of which, the prices for third-party takes on the RTX 3090 have leaked, and some are hugely expensive. Flagged by our colleagues at Tom’s Hardware, a Reddit post detailed how the EVGA’s RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming and the Asus ROG Strix RTX 3090 OC Edition graphics card hit the steep price of $1,800. 

In the U.K. it’s the same situation, with the aforementioned Asus RTX 3090 going for a wallet-emptying £1,649.99. For that amount of money, you can get one of our picks for the best gaming PCs

Given these prices, we have a sneaking suspicion that the RTX 3090 will be snapped up very quickly and sold on at even higher prices by scalpers  looking to make a quick buck. Nvidia has said it’s learnt lessons from the troubled launch of the RTX 3080, so it has safeguards in place to prevent people trying to exploit the limited supply of its high-end GPUs. 

We've only got a few hours before we see just how quickly the RTX 3090 will sell. No doubt AMD will be watching from the sidelines, as it has its Big Navi and Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards set to be revealed in full on October 28.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.