After almost two years of writing articles about the chip shortage, scalper pricing, and supply chain issues, there’s finally a ray of sunshine in another otherwise gloomy forecast. AMD has lowered the pricing on its top-shelf 5000-series GPUs across the board. You should see the new pricing reflected any any e-tailer including Amazon, Newegg, Microcenter, etc. Overall the company is slashing prices for six of its high-to-midrange consumer GPUs, then slapping its palm on the hood of your motherboard and saying, “I think this looks good on you.”
According to a summary posted by Tom’s Hardware, the company’s flagship 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 5950X gets the biggest cut, going from $799 to $599, with the 12-core, 24-thread 5900X CPU getting a $101 discount, going from $549 to $448. The fan favorite Ryzen 7 5800X with its now-standard eight core, 16-thread configuration is also $100 less expensive, going from $449 to $349. As we move down the product stack the discounts become a bit less aggressive as the profit margins aren’t as high, so the next chip on the chopping block — the six-core, 12-thread Ryzen 5 5600X gets just $65 off, with the remaining two chips (5700G and 5600G) receiving a similar discount.
This is a relatively surprising move from AMD given how popular its CPUs have been (and still are), but stepping back a bit it actually makes quite a bit of sense, and the timing seems right too. Right now the company is being forced to play defense against Intel’s all-new Alder Lake CPUs, which has reclaimed the “fastest CPU” crown from AMD in both desktop and mobile. Of course, AMD’s Zen 3 chips are two years old, and Alder Lake is brand new, having launched at the end of 2021. Unlike the GPU battle between Nvidia and AMD, Intel and AMD are not in sync right now, so Intel was able to gain an advantage by launching its CPUs roughly a year ahead of AMD’s anticipated Zen 4 CPUs, which will be coming later in 2022.
It’s also the company’s only viable option to sell more CPUs right now, as according to one estimate Intel has already begun chipping into its desktop market share; a trend which began towards the end of 2021, which coincides with Alder Lake’s launch. Of course, AMD isn’t completely out of ammunition. It’s expected to start fighting back against Alder Lake very soon with the release of its first Zen 3 CPU with added V-Cache, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. However, that’s just one CPU so it’s not going to be able to put up much of a fight against Intel’s entire desktop lineup. On the mobile front analysts have been predicting a similar outcome as on the desktop side, with Intel besting AMD’s effort this time around, allowing it to retake some of the market share it has lost to AMD. In our own analysis, AMD seemed to prioritize efficiency over raw horsepower, which obviously has its benefits, especially in a mobile chip. This also allows Intel to crow about its chips being the fastest.
It’s been a terrible time to build a PC for two years, thanks to the shortage of parts, scalper pricing, and ongoing GPU shortages. That situation, at least, is starting to improve. Also, Intel will be launching its Arc discrete GPUs in Q2 sometime, so these are all good signs. Combine a possible softening of the GPU market with better CPU prices from AMD and better options from Intel, and there might be a comeback of sorts for DIY builders… eventually.
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