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AMD Radeon RX Vega Launch Shipments May Be Limited By HBM2 Capacity

AMD is on the cusp of releasing its hotly anticipated Radeon RX Vega graphics card lineup, which will be debut sometime this quarter. If all goes well for AMD, its Vega release will once again make it competitive with NVIDIA in the high-end GPU segment just as Ryzen made the company competitive with Intel in the performance CPU market. Until then, there are several questions that remain unanswered. One of them is whether Vega will largely be a paper release, and word on the web is that it could be due to supply constraints of second generation high bandwidth memory (HBM2).

The folks at TweakTown seem to think they have it on good authority that AMD's Radeon RX Vega launch will consist of "only a handful" of cards being made available initially. In this case, a handful translates into less than 16,000 cards shipping in the first few months after launch. If that is the case, it is going to be a frustrating summer for gamers who have been patiently waiting for Vega to arrive.

To make matters worse, the scarcity of cards will drive up the price. If we know AMD, it will price Vega competitively with NVIDIA's crop of Pascal cards, but no matter what price points it suggests to retailers, limited supply during the first couple of months could see Radeon RX Vega parts command a premium.

Assuming this comes to fruition, it will represent the cost of using HBM2. Consider it a double-edged sword. On one hand, HBM2 will be responsible for part of the performance uptick in Vega. But at the same time, the limited supply of HBM2 chips could make Vega less desirable due to limited supply and higher costs. That would be the best case scenario for NVIDIA, as those same buyers who have been holding out might opt to buy a Pascal card instead.

Of course, take all this with a grain of salt, as nothing has been substantiated from AMD. And the supply situation aside, Vega looks promising, based on leaked benchmark scores and specs.

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