It's been a week since AMD launched the Radeon RX 6500 XT, its latest attempt at a budget GPU. Unfortunately, the RX 6500 XT was a big disappointment on the performance front due to AMD making some critical sacrifices on specifications, partially in an attempt to dissuade miners. Despite this, the card was tough to find from the usual retail channels at launch, and prices were inflated by as much as 50 percent or more compared to its $199 MSRP.
Today, the situation has changed significantly on the availability front, while pricing has improved slightly. A quick trip to Microcenter shows that the electronics retailer's brick and mortar locations have RX 6500 XT cards in stock from Gigabyte, PowerColor, Sapphire, and ASRock. While the retailer did offer a couple of the cards at MSRP last week, the cheapest one available now is the Sapphire Radeon RX 6500 XT Pulse, priced at $239.99. The other cards range from $259.99 to $299.99. One thing to note about MicroCenter is that it won't ship any of the cards; you'll have to purchase in-store.
Newegg has 10 SKUs listed, but only five are in stock. Not surprisingly, the three SKUs priced at $199.99 are among those sold out. The available cards range from $259.99 for the Gigabyte Eagle Radeon RX 6500 XT to $299.99 for the Gigabyte Gaming OD Radeon RX 6500 XT. You'll also note that even with the inflated prices compared to MSRP, Newegg also asks that customers tack on $9.99 for shipping. We noted in the case of the Gigabyte Eagle and PowerColor's offering that Newegg appears to have plenty of inventory. The retailer limits individual customers to 25 units of the former and 20 units for the latter.
A quick trip to Best Buy shows that the XFX Speedster QICK 210 and Gigabyte Radeon RX 6500 XT Eagle 4G are priced at $259.99 but out of stock. Finally, Amazon only lists the Sapphire Pulse, priced at $299.99 from a third-party seller ($100 more expensive than the OOS SKU at Newegg).
The fact that RX 6500 XT cards are available at all from retailers bodes well for anyone desperate to get a relatively inexpensive "current generation" graphics card. After all, the Navi 24 GPU is cheap for AMD to manufacture, given its small die size (107mm^2). The RX 6500 XT also sips power, which makes sense considering that AMD's John Bridgman confirmed, "the primary use of Navi 24 will be in laptops paired with a Rembrandt APU." You can also factor in that RX 6500 XT cards only have two display connectors and that miners aren't too keen on the 4GB limitation, which has likely decreased demand.
But perhaps the biggest reason why the cards are still in stock is that the RX 6500 XT has faced such harsh reviews. The card often had trouble keeping up with the elder RX 5500 XT and GeForce GTX 1650 Super. And as we saw this morning, the RTX 3050 smokes the RX 6500 XT for just $50 more. While that sounds good on paper, we have the feeling that the RTX 3050 will be far harder to find at MSRP when it launches tomorrow and will likely become a scalper magnet just like the other members of the Ampere family.
Make it bad for crypto.
Make it minimally adequate for gaming.
Price it higher than is justified.
Voila! Cards in stock!
Note that the $199 variants were clearly barely within the "justified" category (well, for other people, my own personal standards are grumpier), so those are gone.
But, the higher priced ones? They managed to hit that precious third tier of qualifications to remain in stock.
What a time to be alive!