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.
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 (opens in new tab). That's the one that also effectively says you're an idiot if you buy a graphics card to mine Ethereum (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) is a fantastic GPU, sits alongside the GeForce RTX 3080 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), AMD's finest doesn't even register as a percentage of a percent. Sure, the RTX 3080 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.