How AMD's impossible-to-find Ryzen 9 5900X somehow made Amazon's top-selling list

If AMD’s 12-core Ryzen 9 5900X is impossible to buy, why did we find it riding high on Amazon? Turns out If it's a bestseller on Amazon, there is actually hope.

Credit: AMD

We all know AMD’s 12-core Ryzen 9 5900X has been unattainable since its introduction. So imagine our surprise when we saw it riding high on Amazon, reaching as high as the number-two spot on the Amazon Best Seller list for Computer CPU Processors, depending on when we checked.

How could a CPU that’s been sold out—or available only at inflated prices, be a bestseller on Amazon? Are PC builders desperate enough to pay $700 or $900 for a chip with a $550 MSRP? Are there actually enough available to outnumber other CPUs for sale? Surely there must be some glitch in Amazon’s algorithm. 

amazon top Amazon.com

We didn’t imagine it: AMD’s unicorn Ryzen 9 5900X was the No. 2 selling CPU on Monday at Amazon.

So we asked Amazon. The company’s answer, while not entirely helpful, inspired some further investigation that actually gave us some hope. Yes, friends, you may actually be able to buy this CPU at list price soon. Keep reading to find out why.

It is indeed a bestselling CPU

First, the facts: An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed that the Ryzen 9 5900X’s lofty position on its top-selling list was an “accurate portrayal,” but she declined to provide more specifics. She did point out Amazon’s list is updated hourly, which is why you’ll see this chip and others bounce around the bestseller list.

With no more information forthcoming from Amazon, we dug further by going to Keepa.com, a website that tracks Amazon pricing. Looking at the historical data, we began to see a pattern in the pricing madness.

Looking at the chart below, you can see just how stupidly expensive the Ryzen 9 5900X has been since day one. It reached as high as $940 on one day in February.

We also noticed that in two instances soon after its introduction, however, the CPU actually dipped to list price. While the prices went back up and stayed up for a long while, we also saw more recently that prices had dipped back toward MSRP.

Looking at another view of the data in Keepa, it seems clear that the price dips coincide with the times when Amazon receives a shipment of chips. The pattern suggests that the chips go on sale, promptly sell out, and third parties turn around to resell the CPU at inflated prices.

5900x 1 Keepa.com

The historical pricing for the Ryzen 9 5900X has been well above list price due to its availability, but recently has been hitting its list price of $550.

Now look at the far right end of the chart, where you see prices dipping more frequently. We believe this means Amazon has started to get a steadier supply of new Ryzen 9 5900X shipments, allowing the chips to be sold closer to list price.

You can see the pattern more clearly in this next chart. The orange bar shows when Amazon puts the Ryzen 9 5900X up for sale at list price, and how the price jumps up immediately afterward as scalpers or third-party stores take over.

keepa amazon pricing ryzen 9 5900x Keepa.com

This Keepa.com data shows that when Amazon gets Ryzen 9 5900X in for sale, the price drops down to list—until Amazon sells out, and the scalpers inflate the cost.

The answer to all our problems appears to be a steady supply of chips to Amazon. While there’s no guarantee those regular shipments of Ryzen 9 5900X will continue, we also saw similar patterns with the Ryzen 5 5600X and Ryzen 7 5800X, which started out selling well above list price but have now both come back to earth.

So yes, the Ryzen 9 5900X is indeed a bestseller on Amazon, and recent data suggests it may soon become the best CPU you can actually buy.

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Gordon Mah Ung

Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
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