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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 missing, but the pandemic has pushed everything to exaggerate. Sitting inside for several months at the end has led to an explosion of interest in gaming, and it has made new sophisticated hardware such as AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs and Nvidia RTX 3000 GPUs impossible to find. Newegg has a controversial solution: raffle tickets.

If you were looking for an Nvidia RTX 3080 right now, you would be able to buy one immediately. However, you will probably have to pay about double the retail price of a scalp on eBay or Amazon. This has been the case for several months as well. Sitting on your (probably old and shabby) PC and trying to buy a sought-after component is not a great way to apply quarantine, so Newegg is trying something new.

This week, the site briefly posted a page explaining the solution. It took the page down shortly after, but not before the wider internet got a look. The “Newegg Shuffle” event will allow interested customers to enter a lottery for selected parts during a three-hour window. Sometimes these will be multi-component bundles that include the highly sought after AMD and Nvidia hardware, and other times it will just be these components alone.

Newegg will draw, and those who win the lottery will be contacted via email to complete their purchases. The products will be sold to winners on a first-come, first-served basis, and you only have two hours to complete your purchase before Newegg goes to the next person on the list. With this system, you do not have to hope that you happen to be watching when new stocks appear and that you can beat everyone else to the checkout. Instead, hope that Newegg’s random number generator favors you.

There was some clear deterioration around the internet when Newegg’s site went live. The only package with an RTX 3080 had an Intel motherboard, and Intel processors are not exactly missing. Newegg later clarified that this was just a “test” to get feedback and improve the system. The retailer says that future Shuffle events will include individual items as well as combinations. However, we do not know when it will be. It may still be the best chance to get a detailed priced CPU or GPU in the foreseeable future.

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