Someone tried auctioning off an EVGA RTX 4090 prototype on eBay

An account claiming to represent EVGA put a preproduction RTX 4090 prototype up for auction on eBay yesterday, with the proceeds going to charity. It started a bidding war and shot up to five figures before the listing inexplicably disappeared after about 10 hours.

EVGA met with Gamers Nexus and JayzTwoCents quite a while ago to tell them that they were terminating their partnership with Nvidia. When the YouTubers shared the news afterward there was an outpouring of appreciation and support for the beleaguered AIB partner. About a month ago, EVGA sent two working preproduction samples of their FTW3 RTX 4090 to GN and JayzTwoCents for them to tear down and show us what we missed out on.

We thought that would be the last we’d see of the GPU that wasn’t meant to be. But, yesterday, it appeared in the background of an EVGA and Intel livestream that was raising money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Shortly after, the GPU was listed for auction on eBay with the proceeds also going to St. Jude. Before the listing disappeared this morning, the price had risen to $13,200 over 35 bids. With more than six days left to go, it was well on its way to becoming the most expensive GPU ever sold.

The eBay listing was fairly light on details. It had four images of the GPU and five lines of text that described it as a “next gen” prototype that came without a warranty, said it could only be shipped within the United States, and affirmed that the auction was for charity. The spec sheet said the card had 24 GB of GDDR6 and a PCIe 4.0 x16 connector.

There were some users on Twitter that were immediately suspicious. EVGA hadn’t advertised the auction anywhere, and it didn’t come from the eBay account that the company had used before. But the timing and the charity angle made sense, and JayzTwoCents tweeted an endorsement of the auction that if he meant to be sarcastic, didn’t come across that way.

Most confusingly of all, if the listing was a scam, it wasn’t one aimed at making money. It was part of eBay’s charity program, meaning that the money would go straight from the buyer to the verified charity. Maybe the listing was legitimate but EVGA took it down at the request of Nvidia, or maybe eBay found it suspicious and wanted to investigate itself.

My hope is that the listing returns and that the GPU is traded for a hefty donation to a good cause. If there was the option of shipping it to Australia, I would definitely have put down $13,300 on it myself.