AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX Failure Rates Reportedly Reach 11%

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AMD’s Scott Herkelman (Senior VP & GM of Radeon Graphics) told PCWorld last week that only a few Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics cards are afflicted with problematic coolers, but many critics remain unconvinced and say the issue is more serious and widespread than what PR might be letting on. Among those is Igor Wallossek, who got a bad card and shared a new report this week regarding “vapor gate” that claims as many as 11% of AMD’s flagship RNDA 3 GPUs are affected. Wallossek also shared a letter from AMD that suggests it can’t fulfill all RMAs at this time, despite Herkelman having said that replacements were readily available to ship.

From an Igor’s Lab report:

[…] various board partners (AIB) report 9 to 11 percent of RMA cases now realized or requested, the information from system integrators (SI) and finished PC manufacturers is much more alarming. […] there are now also disassembled or not completely assembled PCs with rates of well over 10% on stockpile or standby. This may also be due to the fact that SIs test much more purposefully than many buyers of single cards (due to lack of knowledge). Selling a clock loss due to thermal throttling as a feature is downright absurd because the memory, whose operating temperature was specified far below 110°C, is also fried here.

From AMD support, per Wallossek:

We understand that you want a replacement for your RX 7900 XTX. It is important to know that at the moment we are not able to replace your card as we do not have stock available in our warehouses. We can start the process as soon as the inventory is replenished, but right now we don’t have an estimated date for replenishment.

If you prefer a refund instead, we can process that refund immediately, and we will provide you with a return label so you can send the card back to our warehouse (translation from German AMD support).

“There’s not a safety concern,” Herkelman told PCWorld’s Gordon Ung at CES 2023. “We were able to root cause that. Is there a performance potential issue? And what we found is if you throttle it 110 degrees in certain workloads, you would see a small performance delta. And so then we said, okay, we should root cause this and what is going on. And it all comes down to a small batch of our vapor chambers actually have an issue, not enough water, and it’s a very small percentage.”

“Just call our tech support line,” Herkelman went on to say. “If you bought it from me … or if you bought it from one of our AIB partners, call them. They have units … We know how to make sure and identify that they’re good and we’ll ship it to you right away because we want you to have a great product and we want you to be confident in that product when you use it.”

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX remains difficult to find at many retailers. Some of the custom models that can be found on eBay at the time of this posting include the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX SAPPHIRE NITRO+ VAPOR-X 24 GB GDDR6, which should be priced as high as $1,599.99, according to some sellers. AMD’s SEP for the GPU is $999.

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