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Retailer's Statistics Claim Higher RMA Rate for AMD 5000 Series GPUs Than Nvidia's Turing

(Image credit: AMD)

EDIT 6:26am PT 8/3/2020: Corrected title and clarified details.

Original Article

When you're at the cusp of making a GPU purchase decision, it's easy to blindly stare at the performance figures and use that as the only metric. However, there are other factors that you have to consider, which include reliability. In that vein, Mindfactory recently published its RMA data for Nvidia Turing GPUs and AMD's 5000 series, and while it's discouraging news for AMD, Nvidia doesn't escape unfazed, either: The 2080 Ti had that highest RMA rate of any single family.

Mindfactory is one of the bigger hardware retailers in Germany, and they sell much the same hardware as we have in the U.S. The data it gathered comprises Nvidia cards from the 1660 Ti and above, with AMD's data includes the 5500 XT and above. The full list is available here.

In total, the data set covers 44,100 AMD cards sold and an impressive 76,280 Nvidia GPU, so it is clear that German buyers prefer Nvidia GPUs. From these figures, Nvidia has a total number of GPUs RMA'd of 1607 units, and AMD a total of 1452 units -- which translates to a 3.3% RMA rate for AMD and a 2.1% RMA rate for Nvidia cards. That means that the AMD cards sold through Mindfactory had a roughly 50 percent higher RMA rate.

However, it's also interesting to look across the product stack and see where the failures happen. Nvidia line is quite consistent throughout, but in AMD stack it's clear that the 5500 XT cards hardly fail at all, while the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT cards fail most with a 3.6% failure rate, which isn't great compared to the RTX 2070 Super's impressive 1 percent RMA rate. 

Jump to an RTX 2080 Ti though, and you're looking at  a painful 5.3% RMA rate. That's the worst RMA rate for any single family on the list. 

Of course, it's important to mention that these numbers alone still don't tell the whole story. Many Redditors rightly point out that AMD did have problems with the drivers early on with the RX 5700 series releases, which might explain why the RX 5500 XT has a lower RMA rate, as it came out later when AMD had more time to refine its drivers. Mindfactory is also not the largest retailer and serves primarily the European market, so it's possible the retailer simply received a batch of cards that suffered from a production issue, whereas other shipments may not. 

Meanwhile, it's also not specified why the different cards were RMA'd. For example, I have an RTX 2070 Super from Gigabyte in my system that has a broken fan bearing on its WindForce cooler that I still need to RMA, but this could just as well have happened on the AMD variant of the card as the coolers come out of the same factory -- but we can likely presume that those kinds of minor defects occur at similar rates between Nvidia and AMD cards.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do as a consumer is look at reviews, including customer reviews of the card you intend to buy -- a lot of negative feedback is a simple red flag to watch out for. If you're buying at the release of a new product when there aren't many customer reviews yet, well then you're probably aware that you're taking a higher risk to begin with. 

  • bigpinkdragon286
    Without knowing whether RMA issues stem from hardware or software, it's hard to decide if a product line is truly bad, or simply the support infrastructure for that product line is to blame for the current and recently historical hiccups, and end users are just unaware where the problem lies. In the case of the 2080 Ti, I believe the physical hardware is the culprit and as such, the product as a whole is definitely problematic. Granted, if the support never improves, the customer is pretty much SOL, but it's reasonably clear that AMD has better long term software support for their customers than NVIDIA, as AMD has brought new features, and performance where possible to aging graphics cards, while NVIDIA has brought the opposite in terms of worse support, leading to reasonably young, but otherwise aging cards to experience a lack of increased game performance, merely to encourage future sales of newer hardware. Even if AMD cards have a higher, and by the numbers, only slightly, RMA rate, I'm still against NVIDIA's less than equitable behavior the last few years, and will hedge my bets and continue to support AMD. I suspect we'll get more from both parties when AMD is back in a comfortable position to put the pressure on NVIDIA.
    Reply
  • AnimeMania
    I thought every article about the video card was telling people to overclock their RX 5700 to perform like a RX 5700 XT. That can't be good for the health of those cards. AMD must have decided that some cards should be RX 5700 for a good reason.
    Reply
  • ThatMouse
    This is only one retailer and they don't seem to sell ASUS or EVGA for some reason. I would not make my buying decisions on this small sample.
    Reply
  • tedrocks
    What the title of this post should be is “Powercolor GPUs are RMA’d at twice the rate of all other brands.” Loads of comments here are anecdotally blaming AMD’s drivers, but looking at the figures in the Google doc it’s specifically Powercolor (and XFX) having <Mod Edit> awful RMA rates which is letting the AMD figures down.
    Over the same amount of sales, Powercolor cards have more than twice the RMA rates of Sapphire cards (5.8% vs. 2.6%). 227 of all 321 returned RX 5700 cards and 430 of all 1050 returned RX 5700XT cards are Powercolor branded. If you subtract all Powercolor sales and RMAs from the figures the overall average return rate for AMD cards drops to 3.7%.
    Once you start looking at the less-cheapskate brands like MSI, Gigabyte and Sapphire the RMA rates are roughly the same as Nvidia’s. You get what you pay for.

    This is posted in the original thread on reddit. I wish it talked about this above... it's extremely misleading. hardware/comments/i2avjcView: https://www.reddit.com/r/hardware/comments/i2avjc/new_mindfactory_data_shows_amds_5700_series_cards/
    Reply
  • Integr8d
    EVGA 2080 Ti (Black and presumably other models) have a 0.5mm gap between the GPU die and the heat spreader. They rely solely on the thermal paste to conduct all of the heat. Been fully documented. But the tech sites don’t want to interrupt their advertising dollar$.
    Reply
  • GregoryDude
    I wonder how much of it is user error. I RMA'd 2x 2080 Ti cards before I finally got the third one to work. Full disclosure it was all my fault, I have a seasonic 1200W PSU, which should be plenty. I was connecting the card off of one rail, which later (after 2x RMAs) I figured out that each 8-pin should be off of it's own rail. I was about to RMA the 3rd card until I figured that out and ever since then I never got a single crash or a black/grey screens etc.

    Lesson for the day - if you're getting the best and most powerful, make sure you know what you're doing, otherwise the RMAs will increase.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    tedrocks said:
    What the title of this post should be is “Powercolor GPUs are RMA’d at twice the rate of all other brands.” Loads of comments here are anecdotally blaming AMD’s drivers, but looking at the figures in the Google doc it’s specifically Powercolor (and XFX) having <Mod Edit> awful RMA rates which is letting the AMD figures down.
    Over the same amount of sales, Powercolor cards have more than twice the RMA rates of Sapphire cards (5.8% vs. 2.6%). 227 of all 321 returned RX 5700 cards and 430 of all 1050 returned RX 5700XT cards are Powercolor branded. If you subtract all Powercolor sales and RMAs from the figures the overall average return rate for AMD cards drops to 3.7%.
    Once you start looking at the less-cheapskate brands like MSI, Gigabyte and Sapphire the RMA rates are roughly the same as Nvidia’s. You get what you pay for.

    This is posted in the original thread on reddit. I wish it talked about this above... it's extremely misleading. hardware/comments/i2avjcView: https://www.reddit.com/r/hardware/comments/i2avjc/new_mindfactory_data_shows_amds_5700_series_cards/

    Pretty much. I have been an avid believer in certain brands for GPUs for quite a while. Typically I stick with Sapphire for AMD and EVGA for nVidia or Asus for both as they tend to make higher quality products. They do tend to cost more though for their top tier parts but as said you get what you pay for in most everything.
    Reply
  • NightHawkRMX
    I bet these RMA are not due to the actual GPU but rather the TERRIBLE card designs. Here are some of the offenders:

    Poor cooling both memory and GPU. Noisy blower-style cooler.
    IwczmQNHVfoView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwczmQNHVfo


    Poor cooling for both memory and GPU causing loud fan speeds and a lot of noise. Even worse than Evoke. 3NmExnu-j2sView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NmExnu-j2s

    I have this card in non-xt form and it is miserable. At stock under a GPU stress test I saw memory at 102c and GPU hot spot at 109c with fans at near max. This was in Furmark but MSI kombustor saw similar results. The older games I play yielded lower temps than the previous scenario, though the card was still loud. I did remove my front and side panel of my case, ramp up all 6 case fans, and undervolt the card to 925mv. Now the GPU is not too loud, but the case fans are. I am disappointed to say the least. Repasting with noctua paste didnt help.

    Issues with thermal pads causing issues with memory cooling.
    PdC8konCqMMView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdC8konCqMM
    MSI has revised the card since
    yE_i9wn7hgkView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE_i9wn7hgk

    IwczmQNHVfoView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwczmQNHVfoBoth the GPU and memory run very hot, sometimes hotter than the reference model. Loud aswell.
    Luckily XFX fixed this simple issue and offers replacements for owners of the old ones.

    The worst in my opinion, mostly because of how the situation was handled:

    Asus TUF X3 RX5700xt: Has insufficient memory cooling and apparently has high rates of failure due to memory overheating. The issue was so bad ASUS had to retract the card from the market
    OJU8jKIYtS4View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJU8jKIYtS4
    Before retracting the card from the market, Asus blamed AMD for giving them the incorrect mounting pressure. This same mounting pressure is used on cards like the sapphire pulse RX5700XT, Powercolor Red devil, Sapphire nitro rx5700xt, ect. These cards have ZERO cooling issues, indicating the issue was with ASUS cooler design. This was handled much worse than MSI and XFX which actually fixed the issues.


    Meanwhile, the RX5500xt is a low-end card so I do not know of any cooling issues.
    Reply
  • Awev
    I remember when I worked retail, about 23 years ago. Apex introduced a DVD player, and about two thirds of them got returned. A 67 percent return rate is sky high, and you wonder how the product ever got release.

    The DVD player had a great price at the time, $30 MSRP, on sale on regular basis for $19.95, and special events like Black Friday, you could get it for something like $10 to $15. You could even get one for free at your bank, just open a new account, say a Christmas savings account for next year, and wham - a new free DVD player.

    When the player was first released I got it on sale, plus an employee discount, that summer. I tried playing Batman, and another movie or two on it, and realized it could not decode everything - I think it could only read a single layer of a dual layer disk. I returned it. That Christmas I had a lady exchanged the one she purchased, and I mentioned that two out of three got returned. She stated that she got three free from her bank, and two of them did not work, yet she did not see that her statement just supported what I said, she though it was still a great product.

    A few years ago I purchased a Gigabyte MB and Ryzen 5 2600 CPU. Gigabyte was advertising their motherboard as Ryzen 2000 ready, so I purchased it at the same time as the chip. This was a few months after everything was introduced, and all of the hype had settled, and I got this through Amazon. Needless to say you had to do your own BIOS update, and I was not going to purchase a Ryzen # 1#00 just to update the BIOS myself - I was purchasing a Ryzen 2000 READY motherboard. Amazon was good about taking it back, and I ended up driving 30 minutes to get an Asus RoG MB from Best Buy.

    I have looked at a couple graphics cards on Amazon - was thinking of getting a good on deal either a 5700XT or 2070 Super, before the latest and greatest are released. The 5700XT had a number of bad reviews - seems that AMD still did not have the bugs ironed out of their drivers even months after release. And with the new nVidia cards on the way the 2070 Super is hard to find in-stock.

    Seems as if some companies are in such a hurry to release something that they end up shooting themselves in their own foot.
    Reply
  • Chung Leong
    To what extent, I wonder, are these results due to selection bias? People careless with their money are going to be careless with their video cards.
    Reply