How much scalpers make selling hard-to-get PC hardware and consoles

Maybe you can’t buy the hottest new PC hardware yourself, but scalpers are ready to sell it to you for a tidy profit. 

These numbers come to us courtesy of Dev blogger Michael Driscoll. Driscoll, an Oracle Data Engineer at USG Corp. by day, applies his data skillsets in his off-hours to the scalping market for PC hardware and consoles. By Driscoll’s analysis, scalpers have sold at least $82 million in Ryzen 5000 CPUs, RTX 30-series cards, RX 6000 GPUs, and Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles. Most of it is still selling at stupid levels above the list price, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

For example, some 322 Ryzen 9 5950X CPUs have sold at a median price of $1,275.  Those impossible-to-get GeForce RTX 3080 cards with a list price of $699? Well, 7,222 of the 3080’s sold at a median price of $1,315.

Driscoll wrote custom scripts to scrape eBay results. As part of his research, he focused only on sold items to determine the median price, rather than inflated bids. To try to troll scalpers, some have bid up prices of the hardware with no intent to buy. Because Driscoll’s research excludes $60,000 bids for GPUs, and only includes actual completed sales, it’s likely a far better gauge of the scalping market on eBay right now.

Driscoll hates scalpers just as much as anyone. “I don’t personally mind the person who flipped their console because they had one,” Driscoll told PCWorld. “I mind the scalping which is someone buying out Best Buy’s entire stock or has a bot just buying them right away to flip dozens or hundreds online.”


Here’s how many Ryzen 5000 chips have been scalped on eBay according to data from data engineer Michael Driscoll

Ryzen 7 5800X isn’t a great buy for scalpers either

Driscoll’s analysis indicates AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X is starting to get to the point where there may just be no money in it for “casual scalpers.” The 8-core CPU has an MSRP of $449, but the median price of sold chips is $589. In the past week, that price has rapidly dropped to $545, which is below the price where Driscoll thinks casual scalpers decide to bail.

Driscoll defines a “casual scalper” as someone who perhaps bought the hardware at full retail and has decided to sell it at a profit. He assumes this type of scalper pays taxes and shipping, so the watermark to quit is far higher.

Sophisticated scalpers, however, use bots and generally have made a business out of trying to buy as much as possible on Day 1 to sell quickly at a profit. The sophisticated scalpers are likely still making money, Driscoll said.

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