New versions of AMD’s old Radeon RX 550 have started cropping up for sale in Japan, and they’re not particularly cheap. It’s truly a sign of desperate times that we’d see these low end offerings from 2017 resurrected at these 2022 prices.
According to Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab), these new old cards are using Polaris 12 GPUs and have become available in Japan at several major online and brick and mortar shops. The boards are all released by the same brand named “Expert-Orientated” when translated from Japanese to English. There’s speculation as to whether AMD has started to supply this particular board partner with the GPUs or if the brand just uncovered a bunch of unused stock.
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Still, any other time and you’d be bonkers for expecting to get the equivalent of $155 USD for a five-year-old card. These new versions did get a bump to 4GB of VRAM, and have a nice low profile design, measuring 67mm in length, 68mm tall, and 16mm thick. But it's still no excuse. There’s also expectedly no display port output, and only two HDMI 2.1 ports to boot. It’s a small, single slot GPU, that can definitely, maybe play some older or less demanding games.
It could also be that the card was released in response to crypto mining. While having a bit of a lull at the moment, mining for crypto-currencies has taken a huge toll on the graphics card market. GPUs have been in high demand in part thanks to the chip shortages, but also due to miners buying up all the viable cards. Because of this, we’ve been seeing the odd release like this one or the ASRock RX 550 release (opens in new tab) from a few years’ back just to fill any possible demand.
For what it’s worth, we didn’t recommend you buy that RX 550 for gaming back in 2019, and despite having some extra VRAM we certainly don’t think you should pick up one of these cards either. Prices on GPUs already look to be dropping in 2022 (opens in new tab) which is good news. But, it does make me wonder if we’ll see as many weird releases as these when things finally calm down sometime in the future.