While the performance of ATI's Radeon HD 5870 is pretty impressive, the retail availability isn't. FUD Zilla reports only a few dozen cards are available in Europe and that it may take a couple of weeks until they're available in sufficient quantity.
Availability on launch is so poor that you will have to be very lucky to buy one. The situation will get slightly better next week and it should finally get to normal volume availability in October. AMD will probably tell its investors that it started selling DirectX 11 hardware in Q3 2009 as we are technically still living the last days of Q3, as it will make them look better.
The Radeon HD 5850 on the other hand has been delayed, ATI ran out of GPUs and decided to focus on the production of Radeon HD 5870 cards. Production of Radeon HD 5850 cards won't start until next week and the first cards should reach retail stores by early October.
Apparently, the story behind this delay is that all available GPUs went for the HD 5870, but we are quite sure that a lot of consumers are waiting for the HD 5850 as well. This is the mainstream card that has a sweet US $259 price tag, something that is quite less than the mentioned US $379.99 price tag for the HD 5870. The price difference in Europe is just as staggering, you'll pay €329 for an HD 5870, while and HD 5850 should cost you €229.