AMD’s Radeon RX 550 graphics cards have been drafted back in to help ease GPU supply problems in Japan, according to a new report.
This is a seriously old GPU – in fact, the RX 550 came out in 2017, so half a decade ago now – and it was a low-end model at the time, but Hermitage Akihabara claims that the 550 is now on sale by a card maker which goes under the name ‘Expert-Oriented’ (or that’s the translation).
So, this means that either AMD is producing the necessary Polaris 12 GPUs again, and providing them – at least for the Japanese market – or old inventory of these products has been discovered somewhere, and someone had the bright idea of the graphics market being a barren enough place that these models will actually sell.
The graphics cards are supposedly on the shelves of at least four big retail operations, and possibly elsewhere, so it sounds like there’s a decent amount of them available over in Japan (if nowhere else).
Evidence is provided in the form of several photos of the graphics card and its product box, as shown by Tom’s Hardware which spotted this originally.
The other question doubtless nagging away at your brain right now is how much is being charged for the RX 550? The asking price is apparently set at 17,600 Japanese Yen, as seen in one of the photos, which converts to around $ 155 (or £ 115, AU $ 215). Ouch.
Analysis: It’s madness, but price inflation applies even here
Remember that the RX 550 launched at a asking price of $ 79 in the US (about £ 80, AU $ 130, at the time way back in April 2017), so we can see that even with this, let’s face it, ancient graphics card, the contemporary price tag is still seriously inflated. Such is the GPU world we live in today, where demand outstrips supply to such an extent.
True, that launch price was for the 2GB version of the RX 550, and at least this Expert-Oriented newcomer is the beefier flavor with 4GB of VRAM. Also, this graphics card does benefit from a low-profile design, and a compact nature (167mm long, with a height of 68mm and 16mm thick), so for PC builds where space inside the case is tight, it has advantages.
The actual performance you’ll get is shaky, with Tom’s review labeling the RX 550 2GB as ‘serviceable’ for 1080p gaming – remember, though, this was five years ago – but it was even outdone by the RX 460 at the time, which wasn’t much more costly. Really, AMD was pitching this GPU at the likes of home theater PCs, with its small and fan-less (plus less power-hungry than the RX 460) nature, not gamers, and that holds even truer today.
The fact that it’s so relatively expensive compared to when it launched is the real kicker here, of course; but sadly, nothing surprises us when it comes to the GPU market these days.