AMD RX 6800 GPU launch could be another scramble for scarce stock

AMD Radeon RX 6800XT
(Image credit: AMD)

AMD’s RX 6800 (and 6800 XT) graphics cards go on sale tomorrow, November 18, but if the rumor mill is right, stock levels could be as poor as with Nvidia’s RTX 3000 launches, which would be a serious disappointment for PC gamers.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this, either – we’ll return to that – but this latest speculation comes from Hardware Unboxed (on YouTube), as spotted by Videocardz.

According to Hardware Unboxed: “[Availability] of these [RX 6800] cards will be a hot topic when they release. So technically they are being released on the 18th [November] … but I’m not really expecting you to buy one. I have spoken with quite a few retailers and stock seems pretty terrible, like RTX 3080 terrible. It will differ from region to region (I have only spoken to Australian retailers).”

That is, of course, not a great sign. Obviously we have to be cautious about chatter on the grapevine, but as mentioned above, we’ve already seen rumblings to this effect. 

Specifically, early indications from a Polish retailer and rumors from China, as well as a supposed representative of third-party graphics card maker Asus reportedly saying that the RX 6800 XT will likely sell out within minutes, much like Nvidia’s Ampere GPUs.

Custom cards

Speaking of third-party graphics cards, or custom AIB (add-in boards) as Hardware Unboxed refers to them, the video goes on to declare: “The actual proper custom AIB cards that most of you are probably going to be interested in, they won’t be releasing for another week. So 25th [November] they become available. Probably again in limited numbers. It won’t be until a few weeks before [we] start seeing strong availability.”

So again, that doesn’t sound too promising, although at least the final line gives us some hope. Theoretically, then, availability could perk up considerably around mid-December, which is more than can be said for RTX 3000 cards – with Nvidia already admitting that its Ampere stock picture won’t get better until next year at the earliest.

Naturally, all of this remains only rumors around AMD’s Big Navi GPUs, so we still need to underline the need for care about how much we buy into the veracity of this report.

If stock of RX 6800 GPUs does turn out to be as flaky as the rumor mill seems to believe, that’d be disappointing considering that there have been hints from AMD that the company wouldn’t run into the same problems Nvidia has suffered (or more to the point, would-be Nvidia customers have suffered).

Let’s hope that these rather negative Big Navi stock rumors prove to be off the mark, although the fact that a few of them have now popped up is rather worrying – with, of course, one of the central concerns aired online being the speculation that AMD’s production capacity is overstretched by the demands of the hardware going into Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles (on top of the Ryzen 5000 and Big Navi PC launches).

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).