In a conversation with AMD Product Manager Dave Baumann, HardOCP has clarified most of questions surrounding the much-debated availability of the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series. Excess demand and limited supply has meant it is difficult to get a HD 5800 series card, even at higher prices, and even though the product has enjoyed 6 weeks of launch.

However, availability has been improving, albeit slightly and at the cost of a higher price. Mr. Baumann expects mass widespread availability by the end of 2009, assuming AIBs continue air freighting the products, which is very likely.

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In a conversation with AMD Product Manager Dave Baumann, HardOCP has
clarified most of questions surrounding the much-debated availability
of the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series. Excess demand and limited supply has
meant it is difficult to get a HD 5800 series card, even at higher
prices, and even though the product has enjoyed 6 weeks of launch.

However,
availability has been improving, albeit slightly and at the cost of a
higher price. Mr. Baumann expects mass widespread availability by the
end of 2009, assuming AIBs continue air freighting the products, which
is very likely.

Fortunately, there are no issues expected with HD 5700 stock – and indeed, they are widely available on e-tail.

Here’s a summary of the conversation (Courtesy HardOCP):

  • TSMC is steadily rolling out production of 5800 series GPUs albeit
    at a slower rate than AMD wishes. There are daily production runs of
    5800 series GPUs.

  • AMD’s Add-in-Board (AIBs) partners are currently shipping thousands of 5800 series video cards per week on a worldwide basis.
  • The number of 5800 series video cards that have been shipped into the channel already is in the very “high tens of thousands.”
  • While currently there are thousands of video cards shipped on a
    weekly basis, we will likely see this weekly number reach into the
    “tens of thousands” come late November or early December. This hinges
    on whether or not AIBs keep air freighting video cards. The likelihood
    of air shipments to continue is very high, but AMD does not directly
    control this.

  • Should air freighting continue we are still not going to see
    “mass widespread availability” by years end, but certainly supply will
    continue.

  • Most of these 5800 video cards are moving into e-tail and retail sales while the great minority are going into OEM sales.
  • Expect “well into the hundreds of thousands” of 5800 video cards to be shipped into the channel by year’s end.
  • Expect no issues with 5700 stocks.
  • TSMC is still having some 40nm production issues, but as you
    can see from the points listed above, production is not close to a
    standstill and has ramped up greatly in the last 30 days. TSMC also has
    new 40nm machines as of September and that capacity is starting to now
    come online.

  • The current mix of 5870 and 5850 cards is running approximately 50/50.

With Nvidia’s Fermi nowhere to be seen, we can’t expect price drops; at least not in a few months. Though, we can expect the prices to fall back to normal once supply meets demand.

Of course, both TSMC and AMD are working hard to ensure maximum availability of HD 5800 as soon as possible. Considering availability patterns and statements from both TSMC, it seems likely that a majority of availability issues will vanish by December. Another anecdotal evidence is that Hemlock is finally expected to hit retail in late November. Of course, AMD would only put out Hemlock when they have enough Cypress dies.

To conclude, while there are HD 5800 cards available, and you can get them if you are lucky, a widespread availability can be expected in December. There will be no big price drops however, though we can expect prices to return back to normal. Following which, let’s hope a competition (Fermi) emerges soon.

Reference: HardOCP