Over a day has passed since AMD unleashed the Radeon HD 5850. Can you actually buy the new $259 wonder and have it shipped today, or has the launch not coincided with widespread online retail availability? Judging by our brief search across U.S. e-tailers, the latter seems to apply here.
Newegg started carrying two Radeon HD 5850 models from XFX and HIS last night, but both cards are now out of stock. TigerDirect, ZipZoomFly, and NCIXUS are all in similar situations, with cards listed but unavailable. The picture is essentially the same north of the border at NCIX, too.
On the upside, while Radeon HD 5870 cards were hard to come by last week, availability seems to have improved quite dramatically over the past few days.
Newegg now lists Diamond, HIS, MSI, PowerColor, and Sapphire flavors of the Radeon HD 5870 as in stock. TigerDirect has two cards available, ZipZoomFly has three, and NCIXUS carries five different models. (The same goes for NCIX's Canadian arm, which also has a handful of other variants on back-order.) With any luck, Radeon HD 5850 availability could follow a similar pattern. Then again, that card will probably be in much higher demand than its big brother. We'll keep you updated, in any case.