Sky-high AMD Ryzen 9 5950X prices provide an unsettlingly discouraging snapshot for PC builders of the effects of the 2021 global chip shortage
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Those looking to snag a 16-core, 32-thread AMD Ryzen 9 5950X for a reasonable price will already be aware of how difficult a task that has become. The 2021 global chip shortage, caused by a combination of the coronavirus pandemic, companies shifting to a work from home strategy, and previously unpredictable rocketing demand, has led to much-wanted PC parts, especially high-end units like the Ryzen 9 5950X CPU and GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, being sold at greatly inflated prices.
A recent Reddit post by a redditor called locutusuk68 has triggered quite a discussion on the popular social website on this processor-pricing theme, with an accompanying screenshot revealing how the UK retailer Overclockers is currently selling the top-end Zen 3 processor for a staggering £959.99 (US$1,316/AUD$1,726).
The MSRP for the Ryzen 9 5950X from AMD is US$799, while PC builders in the UK may have expected to pay in the region of £750 (US$1,028/AUD$1,349) for the chip. In fact, one of the country’s largest electronics retailers, Currys, has the 16-core part listed for that fair price along with a price match guarantee. Of course, it’s out of stock.
Shopping around does not really deliver much relief, because those stores that look like they might offer reasonable deals may either be unfamiliar (Box - £849.99) or have incredibly limited stock (CCL - £899). A listing on eBay for multiple units of the Ryzen 9 5950X has a “buy it now” offer at £1,085.49 (US$1,488/AUD$1,952) per part, while a retailer called OnBuy takes the biscuit with a price tag of £1,099.95 (US$1,508/AUD$1,978).
In fact, just for added shock value, there is even a mention of AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X being priced at an insane £1,480.72 (US$2,030/AUD$2,662). Of course, this same discouraging picture for desktop DIYers exists in other markets: Best Buy also has a price match guarantee for the Zen 3 part at US$799 but is sold out, and if you take a look at Amazon there is sometimes stock listed as available – but in some cases you have to be willing to part with US$1,288.99.
However, retailers that are reliant on low unit sales are just utilizing an age-old business tactic of price hiking when demand exceeds supply. An accusatory finger can be pointed at Team Red, but did AMD really reckon on a million Ryzen 5000 unit sales within a few weeks of release? Supply is apparently ramping up, so arguably the best thing desktop PC builders can do right now is hold on. Eventually supply will catch up with demand and prices will fall…or Zen 4 might even be around by the time that happens.