When AMD's RX Vega 64 launched at the start of the week, demand far outstripped supply—nothing new for a hotly anticipated graphics card launch. Since then, there have been reports that AMD 'killed' the $499 standalone product and that all cards will be sold in the $599 Black Pack, which includes the Vega 64, a couple of games, a discount on a FreeSync monitor, and a discount on a Ryzen CPU + mobo combo. (If you don't use the discounts at the time of purchase, however, they don't carry forward.) HotHardware reached out to AMD for comment on the situation, and the response is much as we expected.
"Radeon RX Vega 64 demand continues to exceed expectations. AMD is working closely with its partners to address this demand. Our initial launch quantities included standalone Radeon RX Vega 64 at SEP [Suggested E-tail Price] of $499, Radeon RX Vega 64 Black Packs at SEP of $599, and Radeon RX Vega 64 Aqua Packs at SEP of $699. We are working with our partners to restock all SKUs of Radeon RX Vega 64 including the standalone cards and Gamer Packs over the next few weeks, and you should expect quantities of Vega to start arriving in the coming days."
I followed up with a second contact at AMD, asking specifically how much of the retail pricing AMD is really able to control. Given the Black Pack is just a couple of games in addition to the card, with potential discounts on other hardware, what's to stop retail outlets like Newegg and Amazon from simply adding the game codes / discount to all Vega 64 cards? If a retail outlet can sell every Vega 64 it can get, why not sell it with the games at $599 rather than as a standalone card at $499?
The answer is apparently that nothing can stop them from doing exactly that. AMD told us, "we're trying to do everything we can to put Vegas in gamers hands at SEP, but we don’t have direct control."
I've been working on additional testing of the RX Vega 64, and will have a full scored review up soon. The graphics card is fast and power hungry, and users that prefer AMD hardware have clearly been waiting a long time for a new high-end AMD graphics card. Eventually things will sort themselves out and we'll have standalone Vega 64 cards priced at $499, or even lower, but whether that will be in the next week or two, or months in the future, is impossible to say.