Last Friday, Scott Herkelman, AMD Senior VP & GM of Radeon Graphics at AMD, sat down with Gordon Mah Ung, Executive Editor at PCWorld, to discuss the current cooler malfunctions within the AMD RX 7900 XTX graphics cards during CES 2023. During the discussion, the AMD Senior stated that the issues with the new graphics cards are in a minute number of cases, but the number of reported RMA cases speaks otherwise.
AMD Believes the RX 7900 XTX graphics card vapor gate failure is minimal, but more users are fighting about quality control
In Herkleman's interview with PC World, the AMD Senior ensured that AMD wants you to feel confident in your purchasing decisions and that AMD recognizes the issues:
It all comes down to a small batch of vapor chambers actually have an issue, not enough water and it is a very small percentage and we said that's the root cause.
We have identified this, you spent a lot of money if you bought this XTX made by AMD, we want to fix it for you, we have the fix, we are ready to fix it for you, just call tech support if you bought it from AMD.com or bought it from an AMD AIB Partner. They have units, we know how to identify that they are good the units and make sure that we ship it to you. We want you to have a great product and we want you to be confident in that product.
Scott Herkleman (AMD SVP of GPU Buisness) via PCWorld
While this sounds promising, Igorslab uncovered nine to eleven percent of reported RMA cases between consumers, AMD, and their partners. Wallossek is one of the 11% working on getting the replacement. The first response, which was translated from Wallossek from the German AMD support center, reads:
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.
The problem lies within the acceptable quality level, or AQL, which goes through standards set by the ISO or International Organization for Standardization. Acceptable quality level is considered "the quality level that is the worst tolerable." section ISO 2859-1:1999, published in November 1999 and updated in 2020, offers the quantitative measurement of the acceptable quality of a product. AQL defects are then separated into three sections — minor, major, and critical faults. Minor flaws have an AQL of four percent, major defects are at 2.5%, and critical defects have an AQL of zero percent.
AQL Standards, however, do vary depending on the industry. Because of this, certain products can be sent out into the world with some defects because of the standards met on a production level to allow for that product to see retail. Hypothetically, out of 1,000 graphics cards sold, a total of ten are capable of being defective before a company would need to step in and remove the line from the shelves, offering 100% RMAs, and more due to what is called a "rejectable quality level," or RQL.
AMD stating that a small amount of graphics cards sold are defective could be based on the initial numbers that were reported by the company as manufactured. Before AMD's launch of the RX 7900 XTX, the company was said to have manufactured 200,000 units. Using the AQL standard and the industry standard for defects is one percent, two thousand units would have to be shown as defective before the company would step in and initiate a recall. Igor Wallossek, who has been in the industry for much longer than this writer, states that the AVC's (Asia Vital Components Co, Ltd.) quality assurance number is "10,000 units," which is five times what this writer calculated. Again, I am not an industry professional but a reporter that writes about malfunctions and more for this news organization.
Igor Wallossek goes into greater detail about this subject, and you should read his analysis of the issue on his website.
The underlying message that is being placed by several sources is that the quality of the products shipping out to consumers is a problem. We all want products to work as intended when they are sold off the shelf, and we don't want to jump through several hoops because the product never worked correctly before shipment.