AMD's graphics card market share has dropped by a third in one year

AMD RX 6000-series graphics card family with GPU
(Image credit: AMD)

Spare a thought for AMD. It's finally got itself a genuinely competitive new graphics card architecture, released to great critical acclaim, and yet due to circumstances largely beyond its control, it's almost completely unable to sell them. An unholy mix of pandemic supply chain issues and TSMC oversubscription has meant that in the last 12 months AMD's share of the graphics card market has dwindled to just 18 percent.

Cut the cord...

(Image credit: Steelseries)

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Compared with the end of 2019, its state at the end of 2020 represents a decline in its market share of exactly one third, according to the latest John Peddie Research report. That's the one that also effectively says you're an idiot if you buy a graphics card to mine Ethereum right now.

So yeah, and you thought you were pissed about how difficult it was for gamers to actually buy new graphics cards. AMD would love to sell them to you if it only could. 

The Radeon RX 6800 XT is a fantastic GPU, sits alongside the GeForce RTX 3080 in terms of straight game rendering performance, and nominally clocks in with a lower sticker price. And yet, if you take a quick look at the latest Steam Hardware Survey, AMD's finest doesn't even register as a percentage of a percent. Sure, the RTX 3080 only represents 0.74 percent of the cards in the survey, and the report itself is not a wholly accurate depiction of PC gaming hardware, but it's definitely an indicator.

We've heard reports from sources near to retail that some of the big online shops are lucky to even get one or two new cards a month. That's pretty dire.

It's not like Nvidia is flooding the market with abundant graphics silicon, but there does seem to at least be a better chance of getting a new GeForce card than a new Radeon one.

The Radeon RX 6700 XT is coming out this month, and promises to be another quality second-gen Navi card, albeit a surprisingly expensive one, but I don't think anyone really believes there are going to be significant numbers in retail come March 18.

Certainly Scott Herkelman's presentation during the Where Gaming Begins Episode 3 stream doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. The only measures AMD seems to be offering to combat the very real GPU purchase struggle is that it's allowing the sale of all third-party versions of its card from day one.

And that you might be able to buy one in a full system if you're not at the front of the discrete graphics card queue.

So, with AMD's continued inability to ship a decent volume of graphics cards, there's a good chance that its GPU market share could slip even further over the first quarter of this year too. And that seems like a brutally unfair situation for the red team given how good its graphics cards are this generation.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.