That long line you see in the photo above isn’t for the latest Avengers movie or a new pair of Jordan sneakers going on sale. Instead, the lines outside your local computer store this Sunday were PC enthusiasts waiting to buy AMD’s hotly anticipated Ryzen 3000 CPUs. Yes—a desktop CPU.
Micro Center officials confirmed to PCWorld on Monday that several of its stores had PC DIYers lined up to buy AMD’s much-hyped CPU when they went on sale early in the morning. AMD, for its part, has described the launch of the new Ryzen 3000 series as “historic” and described demand as “significant.”
For Joe and Jane DIY, the excitement meant queuing up for AMD’s 6 a.m. Eastern launch. Fortunately, as our Ryzen 9 3900X review demonstrates, the wait was worth it. AMD’s Ryzen 3000 series is the first consumer x86 CPUs built on a 7nm process. To celebrate the company soundly beating Intel to a smaller process node, AMD released the 7nm Ryzen chips on the 7th day of the 7th month.
The lines weren’t just at Micro Center either. Several people posted pictures of long lines for Ryzen 3000 from around the world, and in conditions that would make many people just give up. At Tokyo’s famous Akihabara electronics district, for example, buyers waited in the rain to buy Ryzen CPUs.
You may want to dismiss the relevance of the fans lining up but it’s a testament to the excitement AMD has built up around its latest CPU launch.
These days, outside of block buster movies or the chance to mob a Walmart on Black Friday, consumers hardly turn out at all. Even iPhone buyers rarely stage the camp out routine anymore, instead buying the phones online or making appointments to pick them up instead.
And on the PC, it’s probably not a scene seen since the 1990s, when Microsoft’s Windows 95 launch caused much hype and long lines around the globe. While Ryzen 3000’s hoopla is certainly less than Windows 95’s was, it’s also fairly unusual for any CPU or GPU on this side of the millennium.
“It has been many years since I can remember consumers waiting in line for a PC component. I have seen it for shrink-wrapped PC games and even a Windows OS but not for a processor or graphics card,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy.
Moorhead cautions that you shouldn’t read too much into the lines, but it is certainly a good sign.
“There’s more than long lines as an indicator to real sales but it certainly does reflect the amount of hype for a desktop part,” Moorhead said. “I do believe if AMD can deliver volumes and Intel doesn’t change its pricing or promotions, the hype will translate into sales.”
Neither AMD nor retailers have have released any initial sales figures but if selling out is an indicator, the company has certainly succeeded. Besides reports of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs being sold out from Brazil to Tustin, a check of Newegg.com and Amazon.com showed zero availability of any of AMD’s new Ryzen 3000 chips by themselves. It looks like the only way to snag a Ryzen 3000 at this point is to buy it packaged with a motherboard or more.
And while pent up-demand for AMD’s other 7nm product, the Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards, probably contributed as well to the lines, we’ll note that they’re fairly easy to buy today at the same stores.
It’s not just etailers either. An inventory spot check of all 25 Micro Center locations on Monday afternoon show Ryzen 3000 CPUs out of stock.
While getting your customers enthusiastic enough to line up for the products is a good look, that enthusiasm can quickly turn into frustration when they can’t actually buy the hardware, either. AMD officials said they are aware the chip parts are in high demand and denied comments that the parts weren’t in very high supply. And—for fans who were left empty handed—more parts on the on the way.
“This is a historic launch for AMD with eight CPU and GPU products for gamers launching simultaneously,” AMD told PCWorld in a statement. “We are providing significant product volumes to our retail and etail partners. We’re excited to see the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Radeon 5700 Series and Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors. AMD is working quickly to restock e-tail and retail partners globally following significant launch day demand.”
If your money’s burning a hole in your pocket, AMD’s last-gen Ryzen 2000 processors have received massive price cuts now that the newer parts have arrived. The huge single-thread performance gains in Ryzen 3000 might be worth waiting just a bit longer for, though.