If you've been trying to buy a high end graphics card lately, you might have noticed that there are very few examples of AMD's flagship Radeon HD6970 around at the moment. A trawl through the usual line up of online retailers found just one card in stock at newegg.com , and none in the UK whatsoever.
Vendors are well aware of this problem. Sapphire is promoting its latest take on the Radeon HD6950 - a Toxic edition clocked at 880MHz - as an alternative for people who can't wait to get their hands on the faster cards.
Shortages could be due to high demand still. The HD6970 has no doubt been a success for AMD since it launched late last year. Sales figures are, as ever, very hard to come by but there's no real competition for the card from NVIDIA in the same price bracket. The GeForce GTX 570 is closer to the HD6950 in performance and price, while the monstrous GTX 580 is much more expensive. One retailer told us that when the HD6970 was in stock earlier in the year, it was outselling the cheaper HD6950 for a while - even though the latter card is plenty powerful enough for most games at 1920x1080 resolutions.
So popularity could be a reason that everywhere is sold out, but that hasn't stopped many people from speculating that shortages are due to AMD winding down manufacture of the cards. That would make sense, because according to its traditional release schedule the new HD7000 series, based on the completely reworked Graphics Core Next , should be coming out soon. Some sources believe that HD7000s will launch as soon as September .
When contacted by PC Gamer, however, AMD told us that new supplies of the HD6970 have just been shipped out from the factories and should be in stores soon. So if you're after one, you hopefully won't have too long to wait.