Although it’s been an entire quarter since AMD’s Ryzen 5000 CPUs were launched (with over a million already sold), the failure rate for the Zen 3 parts is still pretty high. As per figures provided by PowerGPU (custom PC builder), the higher-end Ryzen 9 processors have a failure of as much as 16% which is quite unheard of. The failure rate even for the top-end chips usually stays in the single-digits.
Update: According to data provided by other retailers, it seems like this was an isolated event and the failure rate for the Zen 3 chips is well under the expected figures
Interestingly, for the lower-end Ryzen 5 5600X and the Ryzen 7 5800X, the failure rates are a very decent 2-4%. Considering that the Ryzen 9 parts are still quite limited in supply and most of the Zen 3 units sold till now were from the lower end of the stack, there’s a good chance that poor yields are another reason behind the shortages.
Although AMD’s foundry partner (TSMC) has been producing 7nm wafers for quite a while now, Zen 3 is still a new architecture with a larger chiplet size than the older Zen 2 parts. Regardless, failure rates as high as 16% are worrying as it means nearly two in every ten units shipped may be defective. Add the supply constraints to the equation and that makes owning a Ryzen 9 chip even harder.
It’s hard to tell whether it’s TSMC at fault here or AMD’s own engineering team, but it looks like, amid the limited inventory, someone has been taking liberties. These failure rates should improve along with the supply, but as of now be careful before buying a Ryzen 9 processor.