Cryptocurrency miners are partially responsible for delayed Vega launch

In a recent interview with HardOCP, AMD's Chris Hook offered up a candid answer as to why Vega did not ship sooner. The reason? AMD wanted to make sure there was sufficient supply to meet demand, especially in light of digital coin miners creating a general shortage in the graphics card space.

"Part of the reason it's taken us a little longer to launch Vega—and I'll be honest about that—is that we wanted to make sure we were launching with good volume.... Obviously we've got to compensate for things like coin miners, they're going to want to get their hands on these," Hook explained.

This is the second time in a month that AMD has acknowledged the cryptocurrency craze. Previously AMD's boss Dr. Lisa Su noted during an earnings call "elevated demand" for graphics cards due to digital mining.

"We're not looking at it as a long-term growth driver. But we'll certainly continue to watch the developments around the blockchain technologies as they forward," Dr. Su said.

It is not clear how much sooner Vega might have launched if not for the recent rise in mining Ethereum, which unlike Bitcoin is mined best with GPUs rather than ASIC hardware. However, if there's a knock against Vega, it's that early looks at performance show it competing with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080, which is more than a year old now, and not so much with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Whether or not that's really the case is something we'll look at when we review the new Radeon RX Vega cards.

As for availability, Cook says AMD is confident that it's launching with enough volume for gamers to get their hands on a card.

You can check out the full interview below: