We’ve heard some more worrying rumblings in terms of the amount of AMD’s Radeon VII graphics cards that will be available upon launch today, at least in the UK and Europe (though presumably these alleged stock levels also reflect worldwide availability to some extent).
Apparently in the UK, there will only be between 100 to 200 Radeon VII GPUs when the cards go on sale in a few short hours time. As spotted by TechPowerUp, Andrew ‘Gibbo’ Gibson, a purchasing manager at retailer Overclockers UK, provided this estimation. In a forum post, Gibson noted that his firm has just shy of 100 cards, which “pretty much makes us the largest stockist in Europe”.
According to French tech site Cowcotland.com, a mere 20 Radeon VII graphics cards have been allocated to France, and the same is true of Spain.
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This is all speculation from the graphics grapevine, and we have to bear that firmly in mind – but if these alleged figures are anywhere near the mark, it obviously paints a concerning picture when it comes to the availability of the new Radeon VII.
It also seemingly backs up last month’s speculation about stock being thin on the ground, with the rumor mill suggesting that there would be fewer than 5,000 Radeon VII boards produced by AMD initially. AMD subsequently denied that there would be issues with stock, and insisted that “we expect Radeon VII supply to meet demand from gamers”.
So what’s really going on here?
Obviously, we don’t know what’s actually happening behind the scenes when it comes to AMD’s production lines and Radeon VII shipment targets.
What we do know, however, is that it’s the Lunar New Year holiday over in China, which the major manufacturing factories are closed for – and may remain so for a while yet. And that’s very likely to have affected the Radeon VII assembly lines.
Moving back into the domain of speculation, TechPowerUp theorizes that production may not fully fire up again until mid-February, or perhaps even later in the month. And of course the cards have to be shipped out across the globe after they’re made, to add to any possible delay.
But the truth is we simply don’t know how supply of the graphics cards is going to pan out – and even if initial stock is limited, it might quickly increase.
However, if there are supply issues, and demand is strong for the Radeon VII, then we could encounter the familiar specter of prices rising way above any recommended retail price provided by AMD.
We know that the Radeon VII has a recommended price of $699 in the US, but we don’t have any pricing for the UK (or anywhere else, for that matter) yet. According to Gibbo, though, Overclockers UK will be selling the graphics cards for between £660 and £750 at launch (depending on the exact model).
Gibbo observed that “if supply improves vastly in coming weeks and the pound remains as is then in coming weeks £629-£649 will be achievable”. But elsewhere in the forum thread he noted that “if demand is crazy and stock slim they could just as easily end up at £899 each”.
It could go either way, in other words, underlining again the uncertainty over how supply is going to shape up. Production should, however, ramp up after the Chinese New Year, and if that does indeed happen, those who adopt a sit-and-wait policy will doubtless see cheaper prices as mentioned above.
If you’re concerned about bagging a card today, at launch, you may want to know that they go on sale at 2pm GMT (9am ET). We haven’t heard any numbers for US stock at launch, but it will presumably be proportionally more for that larger market, of course.
Incidentally, if you’re wondering which third-party Radeon VII GPUs are incoming, according to Overclockers UK, the retailer will be stocking Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and Powercolor graphics cards. We also know that Sapphire and ASRock are set to release Radeon VII cards.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).