The AMD Radeon RX 6800 launch has been pretty rocky. The new GPU slate of SKUs from the red team has debuted earlier this month, and it’s going to be a rough time trying to get one. AMD has gotten a lot of flak over all of this. If you had hopes of getting a shiny new RDNA 2 graphics card during the Thanksgiving shopping blitz, you better go ahead and give up now. There are literally no cards to be found at major retailers and e-tailers.
Both graphics card manufacturers and some stores have gone to Twitter to confirm that AIB cards and the direct AMD models either are not in stock at all, or have already sold out. And of course, scalping scumbags are making things worse. “Prices sky high and availability zero for custom cards,” one user succinctly pointed out. “Nice paper launch AMD, you did even worse than NVIDIA.”
AMD’s Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions & Marketing Frank Azor even made a simple reference, all but admitting that the AMD Radeon RX 6800 launch is very much a “paper launch”. The kicker here is that this was more than a month ago. Paper launches are a catch-all term for those manufacturers that rush to say a product is on the market, but one that stocks of said product are extremely limited.
The big cause here is that there is a major bottleneck of silicon production for all of AMD’s products. AMD is pumping out Ryzen CPUs across many SKUs, as well as APUs for the new video games consoles—the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X—all while also having to try and compete with team green on a new GPU launch. High-end silicon is not easy to produce, and chip fabs are moving as fast as they can to catch up.
These silicon shortages have caused huge backorder delays for many AMD products. it’s likely that despite getting tens of thousands of orders for new CPUs and GPUs, the retailers may only have a few hundred of each SKU to hand out.
In terms of performance the Radeon RX 6800 the offering is OK. The new GPU has comparable performance to a lower-end NVIDIA GPU like the RTX 3070, but it has a very big problem. At $579, the RX 6800 finds itself in a strange position in terms of the competition. The newer NVIDIA GPUs like the 3070 are just a better deal. it’s a very impressive card for just $499.
So what should you do if you want to build a new system? Don’t try right now. The prices are a nightmare right now thanks to these shortages. So 2020 might be the worst time to build a new PC. Try waiting until after the holidays at a minimum. Prices and stocks should hopefully level out closer to April 2021.