A lot of people tried to make an AMD 6800 XT pre-order today. Much like the launch of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080, the pre-order process was an absolute disaster for these new graphics cards (and the AMD 5900X). The way pre-orders are done is no longer fit for purpose and it badly needs to change.
Pre-orders are a straightforward proposition: pay a small deposit of a product’s overall price and a customer can secure themselves a product in advance of its launch. Or, in some instances, reserve your product with no downpayment whatsoever. It used to be very important for getting games on launch day, but it’s not that big of a deal anymore with the rise of limitless digital sales. Physical goods like computer hardware, however, have limited quantities of products to sell and pre-orders are enormously important for getting the latest tech.
How the AMD 6800 XT pre-order fiasco could have been prevented
The AMD 6800 XT pre-order event should have gotten as many graphics cards into the hands of actual customers. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened with these cards or the 5900X processors — much like the RTX 3080, thousands of people flooded AMD’s site and other online retailers. The cards sold out so fast it was like they were never for sale in the first place.
These pre-order problems happened for three reasons: high demand, not enough stock, and an army of scalpers. The more cynical hardware enthusiasts knew that there would be more than one AMD 6800 XT pre-order up on eBay and that’s exactly what happened; bids started at more than double the retail price. Even customers who took the time to prepare for a pre-order were relying on luck more than anything else.
Can the problems with pre-orders be fixed? Issues such as the stock shortages due to the 2020 pandemic can’t be avoided, but there surely must be a way to ensure that these cards get in the hands of actual customers rather than scalpers looking to make a quick buck. The best solution may lie in the crowdfunding model: pay the full price well in advance and use those proceeds to manufacture cards. This system of selling products would practically guarantee that anyone who actually wanted one would get one on launch day — as long as there aren’t any logistical or manufacturing issues after the fact.
The purpose of an AMD 6800 XT pre-order is to ensure that you have this new graphics card as soon as possible. This system is clearly not working and something needs to change. As it stands, it isn’t worth the effort to make a pre-order for limited physical goods unless a customer is willing to line up in person or use a bot.