Ryzen 5000 isn't a 'paper launch,' it's just extremely popular

Just because you couldn't buy one doesn't make a product a paper launch.

Credit: AMD

After one of the most impressive CPU launches in an era, AMD is facing criticism from customers who cry “paper launch,” because they can’t actually buy the ”best consumer CPU we’ve ever seen.”

As summed up by PC Gamer, AMD exec Frank Azor denied that he owed anything to some rando on Twitter who had bet him the Ryzen 5000 CPU would be a paper launch, much like Nvidia’s frustratingly hard-to-get RTX 3000-series GPUs. 

paper launch azor Twitter

“There’s a big difference between a ‘paper launch’ and shipping tons of units but demand exceeds supply,” Azor responded. Frustrated AMD fans then piled on, insisting that because they couldn’t buy one, it was a paper launch.

Much of the hand-wringing can be attributed to disagreements over the definition of the term ‘paper launch.’ To be fair, no official dictionary includes the term, unless you count as a credible source the Urban Dictionary, which defines ‘paper launch’ as essentially the modern interpretation of “not enough for everyone immediately.” 

paper launch urban dictionary Urban Dictionary

Please don’t use Urban Dictionary as your source for how to define 'paper launch.' It can’t be right anyway, because there’s no profanity.

The thing is, that’s not what a paper launch has traditionally meant. Classically, a paper launch has meant a product that’s not actually sold but is talked about on paper to help steal thunder from a competitor’s product. For example, one could argue Intel's release of details of its 11th-gen Rocket Lake desktop chip, coincidentally a week before the Ryzen 5000 appeared, was a paper launch. The announcement talked up details of the Rocket Lake chip and IPC improvements months before the CPU is slated to show up on store shelves. While you could argue this is just news from Intel, the timing of that news would probably fit the classic definition of a paper launch.

Some might also consider Intel’s 10nm Cannon Lake largely a paper launch, given that over its entire life, it seemed like Intel didn’t intend to sell it. Even though it appeared in NUCs that were sold at retail, it was more like Intel checking off a bucket-list item of “I sold 10nm desktop chips in 2018.”

That is far, far different from Nvidia selling every single RTX 3000 card in existence almost immediately. Nvidia said it expects to ship thousands more, but it also acknowledges that it probably won’t satiate demand this year. And unlike Intel’s Cannon Lake NUC, we’re certain Nvidia wishes it could fill another five container ships with GPUs with RTX 3000 to take your money.

Ryzen 5000 is no paper launch

With the Ryzen 5000 launch, we think Azor doesn’t owe anyone that 10 bucks.

If the definition of paper launch has indeed shifted to simply not meeting immediate demand for every single consumer who wanted to buy it when launched, then just about every single PC component worth buying in the last 10 years was a “paper launch.”

Ryzen 2000 ran into supply issues, as did Ryzen 3000. Intel’s initial Core i9-9900K was impossible to get for months, as was the Core i7-8700K. And yes, Nvidia’s RTX 3000 is hard to get—but so was the previous GeForce RTX 2000 series.

With Ryzen 5000, clearly thousands of chips have made their way into consumer’s hands, judging by photos on Twitter and forums and statements we’ve heard about the new CPU literally being on store shelves before they were snapped up.

So no, the Ryzen 5000 isn’t a paper launch. Frustrating yes, but not a paper launch.

paper launch cambridge Cambridge Dictionary

There is no official definiition of 'paper launch,' but running out of supply at launch is not a paper launch.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gordon Mah Ung

Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?