AMD’s RDNA 3 graphics cards were largely met with positive reviews when they launched last month. However, a short while back, a series of RMAs led to the discovery of a faulty vapor chamber that caused thermal throttling. The Radeon RX 7900 XTX recorded load temperatures as high as 110C under load. To make matters worse, AMD and its partners don’t seem to have ample warehouse stock to replace the defective units.
Igor from Igor’s Lab is one of the people who are waiting on a replacement for their $1,000 RDNA 3 flagship. Initially, he was assured that a replacement would be provided within two weeks, but when the specified period got over, he got the following response:
We understand that you want a replacement for your RX 7900 XTX. It is important to know that at the moment we are not able to replace your card as we do not have stock available in our warehouses. We can start the process as soon as the inventory is replenished, but right now we don’t have an estimated date for replenishment. If you prefer a refund instead, we can process that refund immediately, and we will provide you with a return label so you can send the card back to our warehouse.AMD Germany to Igor
AMD clearly states that its warehouses are empty, and users waiting for a Radeon RX 7900 XTX replacement will have to wait for an unspecified duration. Gamers on a clock can apply for a refund which will be disbursed immediately.
In an interview with PCWorld, Radeon Head Scott Herkelman stated that only a small number of GPUs are affected. Igor’s sources, however, claim that 9% to 11% of RMA cases have already been reported, and AIBs just don’t have enough units to replace them.
Igor’s Lab explains that the drawn-out manufacturing process of a graphics card makes quality testing and troubleshooting incredibly difficult. Most GPUs are tested with the PCB and memory at the AIB (or their partner) factories, while the heatsink is installed at a later stage. Quality testing for the Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics cards is mainly done at the earlier stages (without the aftermarket heatsink) using an in-house prototype. This is why quality testing never picked up the flawed reference heatsink.
Igor speculates that the Radeon RX 7900 XTX shipments and, in turn, availability will remain limited for the time being because of this manufacturing cockup. Channel inventory will likely remain lean till AMD filters out the defective units and moves them out of circulation.