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AMD Radeon RX 6800 and 6900 series reference cards may have already been discontinued

AMD Radeon RX 6800
(Image credit: Future)

AMD has already discontinued its reference Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6900 series graphics cards, according to reports. 

French publication Cowcotland claims that Made by AMD (MBA) reference designs of the Radeon RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT will no longer be made.

This suggests that AMD has produced only a limited number of MBA cards, intended for reviewers and initial store inventory, and will rely on on add-in-board (AiB) partners to supply the GPUs going forward. 

“The RX 6900 XT MBA, therefore Made By AMD, is already at the end of its life even though the latter has not yet been launched,” the report claims, adding that French retailers were generally getting less than 50 units of the RX 6900 XT. 

However, while the report suggests the RX 6900 XT MBA has reached "end of life", that’s not actually the case, as that would mean that the card is past its support period. Rather, production is being discontinued. 

Adding weight to this report, Australian retailer Mwave has told its customers that reference cards were a one-off release and won’t be restocked.

TechRadar has approached AMD for comment on the report. 

Wait, didn't they just come out?

This prompt discontinuation of reference designs means board partners will be forced to shift focus to their own custom-cooler designs. This could mean that it will be difficult to get AiB cards at MSRP prices, although it’s worth noting that these GPUs will likely end up featuring improvements over AMD’s reference design. 

AMD has yet to confirm that its discontinuing the reference cards, although Scott Herkelmann, CVP & GM at AMD Radeon said in reply to a tweet last month the production of the reference models of the RX 6800 series would continue till early 2021. 

It’s possible that this decision was reversed due to limited 7nm capacity or that further shipments would only be sent to select regions.

Still, this marks a division in how AMD and Nvidia handles its graphics card sales. Team Red usually relies almost entirely on its third party manufacturers, while – especially recently – Nvidia tries to push its Founders Editions above all else. One thing is for certain either way, though, we're sure to continue getting Radeon RX 6800 XTs and RX 6900s, they just might not all be using AMD's own card design.  

Carly Page

Carly Page is a Freelance journalist, copywriter and editor specialising in Consumer/B2B technology. She has written for a range of titles including Computer Shopper, Expert Reviews, IT Pro, the Metro, PC Pro, TechRadar and Tes.