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Looking to buy a GPU on Black Friday? Read this before you do.

ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 3070 Ti
ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 3070 Ti (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Promotional periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great for the bottom line of retailers and companies, but it's often viewed as a waste since many people buy things they don't necessarily need and feed into the consumerism machine. We pride ourselves here in recommending deals that we'd buy ourselves and on stuff you'd actually want to buy, like the best Black Friday PC parts deals.

This is why we've not published any GPU "deals". You may have spotted a few listed on retailers (or classified sites like eBay) that mask themselves as discounts but are still considerably above the MSRP of the card released by NVIDIA or AMD. We've chosen to not include any of these in our Black Friday and Cyber Monday coverage.

That doesn't mean it's impossible to buy a GPU, it just requires a little more cash upfront and some time. The best way right now to buy even the best graphics card is to actually purchase a pre-built PC. That's right, even if you already have a desktop PC, we're recommending you buy a completely new machine.

Want a GPU? Buy a pre-built PC.

Hp Omen 30l

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

This isn't an early April Fool's joke. You should absolutely buy a pre-built desktop PC for a graphics card. We've been closely monitoring the best Black Friday pre-built gaming PC deals with this in mind. Let's take the incredibly powerful (and expensive) NVIDIA RTX 3080 as an example here.

You need to be smart when buying a GPU and think outside the box.

Looking at retailer pages and classified listings, you can expect to pay in the region of between $1,500 and $2,000, if you're lucky. That's for a GPU with an MSRP of just $700! I've seen some bidding wars go comfortably into the $2,000 bracket. You could spend $2,070 on the HP Omen 30L, which is a fantastic gaming PC by the way, and score yourself an RTX 3080 GPU.

But what about the rest of the HP Omen 30L PC? That's the best part. Sure, you've laid down $2,000 for the PC, the same as the GPU itself, but you've now got a machine without a GPU that can be resold. You can put your old GPU inside it and sell it on or just as parts, it's up to you. Even recouping $1,000 from this would bring down your total cost of the GPU to $1,070.

This is still more than the $700 MSRP, but you're getting much closer and aren't wasting money on scalpers. You need to be smart when buying a GPU and think outside the box. When asking yourself how to buy an NVIDIA RTX 30-series GPU on Black Friday, think about ways to minimize the amount you have to pay on top of the MSRP.

What should you look to pay?

How much you should look to spend on a GPU depends largely on which graphics card you desire. Once you've got the MSRP, try searching for listings for the card or pre-built PCs with the GPU installed and (for the latter) work out just how much you could feasibly ask for the rest of the PC parts. Try and get as close to the MSRP as possible.

Here's a list of all the MSRP prices either set or for cards released by the manufacturer.

CategoryMSRP ($)MSRP (£)
AMD RX 6900 XT$999~£899
AMD RX 6800 XT$649~£599
AMD RX 6800$579~£529
AMD RX 6700 XT$479~£429
AMD RX 6600 XT$379~£329
AMD RX 6600$329~£299
NVIDIA RTX 3090$1,499£1,399
NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti$1,199£1,049
NVIDIA RTX 3080$699£649
NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti$599£529
NVIDIA RTX 3070$499£469
NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti$399£349
NVIDIA RTX 3060$329£299

If you don't want to buy a pre-built PC?

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

If you don't feel comfortable buying a pre-built PC for a graphics card or find it a waste of time and money, there's not really much else you can do aside from bookmark retailer pages and hope for the best. Stock is being replenished but the demand is so great that you'll need to be fast before it's gone.

You also need to question whether you actually need a new GPU, to begin with. Are you sticking with the same monitor? You may be okay to hold off until the supply issue is remedied slightly. If you're moving from 1440p to 4K (and we've got the best Black Friday gaming monitor deals, by the way), the chances are you'll need a new GPU if you don't have at least an RTX 2080.

But if you already have an RTX 2060 and are sticking to 1440p, I'd suggest remaining where you are for now. I haven't bought a GPU this Black Friday or Cyber Monday and neither should you.

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.