What just happened? In what should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, retailers and manufacturers of AMD's Radeon RX 6800-series are warning of extremely limited stock levels at launch. The cards went on sale twenty minutes ago at the time of writing, but they already appear sold out at all online retail sites, though you might be able to score one at a Microcenter, which is selling them in-store only.
While this season's multitude of gaming product launches—the Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and RTX 3000 series—have all been marred by limited stock and scalper bots, AMD's Frank Azor said in September that the Radeon RX 6000 products would not suffer the same fate. He even accepted one Twitter user's $10 bet that it would be a paper launch.
It looks as if Azor might have to pull out his wallet. Both the RX 6800 and 6800 XT are marked as Out of Stock or absent from many online retailers' stores, including Newegg, Best Buy, Walmart, and AMD's own site.
For those willing to brave the pandemic and buy one of the cards from a brick-and-mortar store, Microcenter is selling the Radeon RX 6800 series at its physical outlets only—none are being sold online. People have been camping out at some locations since yesterday, probably because the company has warned that stock quantities will be "extremely limited at launch." However, it did say additional shipments of GPUs are expected later on launch day and subsequent days (thanks, Videocardz).
Something else that shouldn't surprise people is the number of cards already on eBay, the most expensive of which, so far, is $2,299. The Radeon RX 6800 XT has a $650 MSRP.
The release date for RX 6800-series custom cards is November 25, though you can expect them to disappear in seconds, too, as will doubtlessly be the case with the Radeon RX 6900 XT when it arrives on December 8.
We gave the Radeon RX 6800 XT a score of 90 in our review. Make sure to check out the full article, including all the benchmarks, right here.