AMD RX 6500 XT is on sale – but good luck finding the GPU

AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT graphics card showing ports
(Image credit: Future)

AMD’s RX 6500 XT graphics card may be on sale now, but you’ll struggle to find the GPU at retailers, as stock seems very scarce indeed.

Those hoping to be able to get hold of the new wallet-friendly option are going to be disappointed in most cases, by the look of things. And while there might be at least some more positive news on the pricing front in the US market – we’ll come back to that point, and the discussion of how good this budget GPU is anyway – if the card isn’t available to purchase, then that’s obviously a moot point.

As Tom’s Hardware points out, US availability looked very shaky on launch day, and only had one RX 6500 XT model in stock, namely Gigabyte’s Gaming OC, but that reportedly kept going in and out of stock.

That was yesterday, but the situation today is that this particular Gigabyte graphics card is out of stock (due to “high demand” of course), although another 6500 XT model is now available: the PowerColor ITX Gaming.

Looking at Micro Center, no Radeon RX 6500 XT GPUs are available to buy online, but there is some stock in bricks-and-mortar stores – in very limited amounts (for example, the Gigabyte Eagle is on shelves in two stores, both of those in Ohio, at the time of writing). So it all looks pretty ropey all-round, really.

On the other hand, in the UK, things are a touch better, with Overclockers UK managing to have 10+ units of two 6500 XT models (from PowerColor, again, and Sapphire). That’s something, but Scan UK and eBuyer both have no stock, and has just one third-party seller flogging a GPU (at a severely ramped-up price, we might add).

Analysis: Small consolation on the pricing front

Certainly in the US, the situation is pretty dire, and we’d expect AMD to do better with all eyes on a big budget launch like this. We know that stock problems are very much still plaguing the tech industry, and especially GPUs, and this is a clear indication that nothing at all has changed as we enter a new year.

We do at least have retailer pricing now, and despite some 6500 XT models suffering from major price inflation, there are cards at the US MSRP of $200. Indeed, looking at Newegg, there are four models at this price – which is good news, compared to the European pre-release pricing we’ve seen, at least – with three selling for around $270 (with a few prices ranging above those, up to a hefty $360). Not that you can buy any of them except for the aforementioned PowerColor ITX (which is one of the trio priced at $270).

In the UK, the cards which are on sale at Overclockers come in at £225 and £240, so again, that’s not as bad as the rumor mill suggested, although that said, some other (out of stock) models weigh in much heavier at £279 and an eye-watering £330 at the top-end (for the Asus TUF).

Overall, then, there’s some small consolation in that some of the models out there have stuck to the recommended price (in the US), even if you can’t actually buy any of those GPUs (at least not yet).

The other fly in the ointment here is the actual quality of the RX 6500 XT as a budget performer, with the GPU receiving a great deal of flak from reviewers. It simply isn’t a very powerful card, as we point out in our review, and isn’t any better than its predecessor (the 5500 XT, which is actually faster in some games, unbelievably).

That said, the 6500 XT can make a solid job of 1080p gaming at medium settings (with more detail in less taxing games, of course), but overall – particularly given these availability issues at launch – it feels like the new card is a flimsy and ineffectual effort, not what we need in the budget GPU sector.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).