Published in Graphics
No sign of 7970 price wars
AMD keeps silent
Since we first heard about the US $499 price tag for the GTX 680 we started to ask around in order to see if AMD is preparing a price cut on its HD 7970. Unfortunately, AMD is still pretty silent and most partners are focusing on their factory overclocked HD 7970 cards.
Currently, AMD's HD 7970 is doing pretty good in Europe. The average price for AMD HD 7970 is around €460, and we are talking about pretty decent retail/e-tail shops in Germany, while the lowest one is currently €441,90 at Pixmania.de. The Nvidia GTX 680 is priced at the expected €479, although some retailers/e-tailers are making use of high demand to push the price as high as €519. The price of GTX 680 will eventually drop in Europe and probably follow the HD 7970 one but, until then, AMD HD 7970 will be doing quite well.
The USA on the other hand is a bit different, while EU had a constant and slight drop in HD 7970 price since launch in December, the Newegg.com and other retailers/e-tailers kept the card at steady US $549.99. Actually, you can currently get it cheaper, for US $534.99, but you have to buy two or more cards, just a simple deal done by Newegg.com and Sapphire. These prices put AMD in an awkward position in the USA as GTX 680 sells for steady US $499.99.
The part of the market reserved for enthusiasts, or those that actually go for US $500+ graphics cards, will actually have to weigh a couple of things. Performance-wise , GTX 680 looks like a better card. It delivers the same/higher punch in games and uses less power to do it. The features are pretty much the same, and we will not go into that, since one company copies the other and it is a constant game of cat and mouse. We expect to see adaptive VSync and TXAA or something similar on AMD cards as well and currently both cards are pretty leveled in the feature department.
The overclocking is something that enthusiasts are always interesting in, and due to Nvidia GPU Boost, overclocking on GTX 680 is quite limited and rather oriented to mass consumer market, so this win goes to AMD's HD 7970. The compute power on the HD 7970 is better and there is no question about it, but US $500 cards are bought for gaming and that's where the GTX 680 is currently same/better at lower price. Our guess is that compute power is not exactly a deciding buy factor, at least not in high percentage.
According to what we know for now, price cut will not be happening at the moment, and our guess is that we will not see anything at least till the end of this month. Partners usually hear about this at least few days before it happens, and currently AMD is not saying anything.
Availability is yet another key issue. AMD's HD 7970 is in a pretty good and healthy supply. It is available across Europe as well as in the USA, and according to our sources things should not change anytime soon.
The GTX 680 is a different story. It has just launched and demand is quite high as the USA Newegg.com has run out of stock in a matter of hours. The situation in Europe is a bit better, there is a decent amount of cards available, at least at the time of writing. Both DACH region and the UK retailers/e-tailers have GTX 680 cards in stock, but we heard that some partners will not recieve a new shipment until next month and if this stock sells we will certainly see a shortage.
The problem is that, if they decide to go for the price drop, AMD also has to adjust prices across its entire range, including HD 7950, HD 7800 series and so on. Of course, that is a problem for AMD but if but if it does happen, it will be quite a happy day for consumers and those that are not aiming for US $500+ graphics cards but rather something cheaper.
All we need to do is wait and see.