It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. That is if you are hoping to build a high-performance gaming PC. Some of the best PC components have either just been released or will release in the very near future. However, it is nearly impossible to get them.
AMD announced its new line of hardware. The company claims that the new line of video cards will compete directly with their NVIDIA equivalents, with the Radeon RX 6800 being comparable to the RTX 3070, the Radeon RX 6800 XT being comparable to the RTX 3080, and the Radeon RX 6900 XT being comparable with the RTX 3090. But, of course, in grand AMD tradition, the prices are far below those of NVIDIA. Tom's Hardware has not had the opportunity to test these cards out, though, so the comparisons are currently based on AMD's info.
The company also officially took the wraps off of its next-generation Ryzen chips: AMD Ryzen 5000 series, based on the new Zen 3 architecture. The prices will range from $299 for the Ryzen 5 model (no more Ryzen 3) to $799 for the Ryzen 9 model. AMD is touting higher clock speeds, more instructions per clock, 7nm architecture (closer together, more transistors per inch). Most interesting is the synergy between the new Radeon GPU and the new Ryzen CPU. This will provide fast access to one another's memory and will give a 13% speed bump over Intel chip or previous AMD chip. Again, this is based on the company's claims, not independent verification.
But you cannot get the NVIDIA cards, and we fear the same thing will be the case with the AMD models. Within minutes of becoming available, they're gone - sold to scalpers. An $800 card is then sold for $1500 on eBay. The issues have even made the 2080 way overpriced because of the lack of 3080 inventory issues. Because of this, it is possibly the worst time to build a high-end PC because of these inventory issues. AMD is trying to take steps to avoid scalpers and bots, but legitimate demand could possibly produce the same results.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.