Newegg Debuts Lottery System to Sell Scarce CPUs and GPUs

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It’s not uncommon for the latest computer hardware to be in short supply, but the pandemic has pushed everything into overdrive. Being stuck inside for months on end has led to an explosion of interest in gaming, and that has made new high-end hardware like the AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs and Nvidia RTX 3000 GPUs nigh impossible to find. Newegg has a controversial solution: raffles. 

If you were to go hunting for an Nvidia RTX 3080 right now, you’d be able to buy one immediately. However, you’d probably have to pay about double the retail price to a scalper on eBay or Amazon. It’s been like this for months, too. Sitting at your (presumably old and busted) PC trying to buy an in-demand component isn’t a great way to spend your quarantine, so Newegg is trying something new. 

This week, the site briefly put up a page that explains its solution. It took the page down shortly thereafter but not before the wider internet got a peek. The “Newegg Shuffle” event will allow interested customers to join a lottery for select parts during a three-hour window. Sometimes these will be bundles of several components that include the highly sought-after AMD and Nvidia hardware, and other times it will be just those components on their own.

Newegg will do a drawing, and those who win the lottery will be contacted via email to complete their purchases. Products will be sold to winners on a first-come, first-served basis, and you will have just two hours to complete your purchase before Newegg goes to the next person on the list. With this system, you won’t have to hope you happen to be watching when new stock pops up and that you can beat everyone else to the checkout. Instead, you’ll have to hope that Newegg’s random number generator favors you. 

There was some clear aggravation around the internet when Newegg’s page went live. The only bundle with an RTX 3080 had an Intel motherboard, and Intel CPUs aren’t exactly in short supply. Newegg later clarified this was just a “test” to get feedback and improve the system. The retailer says that future Shuffle events will include single items in addition to combos. However, we don’t know when that will be. It still might be your best chance to get a retail-priced CPU or GPU for the foreseeable future.

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