In context: The Ryzen 9 3900X arrived last July, making a splash for being the first 12-core desktop processor aimed at consumers for $499. However, the chip was gone just as quickly as it arrived and has proven to be very elusive since, leading to significant price gouging. It remains to be seen if pricing and inventory stabilizes in November, when AMD is set to launch the Ryzen 9 3950X.
Nearly three months removed from AMD's launch of the well-received Ryzen 3000 family of processors, supply issues surrounding the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X still remain. AMD launched the high-end Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X on July 7th, and stock was depleted almost immediately, leading consumers to either out of stock notices or being greeted with grossly inflated prices.
In the time since, the availability of the Ryzen 7 3700X has improved. However, the same can't be said for the Ryzen 9 3900X, despite AMD's commitment to get more stock into retail channels. Over at Newegg, the Ryzen 9 3900X is currently going for as much as $800. At Amazon, prices aren't faring much better, with prices anywhere from $722 to well over $800 at time of writing.
A recent thread on Reddit also shows that Microcenter has increased the price of the Ryzen 9 3900X to $570, a healthy $71 premium over the $499 MSRP. In that same thread, many users expressed speculation that AMD had secretly increased the MSRP for the Ryzen 9 3900X. However, when Tom's Hardware reached out to AMD for comment, AMD quickly dismissed the idea, stating the MSRP remains unchanged.
AMD certainly can't control demand, and there's only so much they can do to augment supply, as the chips are manufactured by TSMC -- and TSMC is very busy these days with its 7nm process. Recent reports indicate that TSMC has tripled its lead time for 7nm chips from 2 months to 6 months. TSMC is currently grappling with 7nm orders from AMD for both Ryzen and Navi, as well as Apple's A13 SoC powering the new iPhone 11 family.
AMD sort of confirmed a shortage when it announced a delay for the Ryzen 9 3950X, stating the 16-core chip would debut alongside next-gen Threadripper in November, allowing AMD to focus on current supply issues.