All About Price and Rebates

The past few months have been terrific for those in the market for a new video card, and it just keeps getting better. It all started with AMD's initial Radeon HD 4000 series launch. They set prices not just at reasonable levels, but at really aggressive levels compared to their competition. AMD could likely have charged a lot more for their hardware at launch and gotten away with it, but they made a much larger splash than they might have (because they didn't flat out beat NVIDIA) by going the route they did.

And every new part AMD has introduced since has been a terrific value. Their low end hardware really stirred things up by bringing cards you could actually play games on (even if limited to lower resolutions) to very low prices. Now we have an affordable part that will be really attractive to gamers looking to save money without compromising on performance and quality.

But, as we all know, AMD is only half the story. While NVIDIA did create the top of the line single GPU this time around, they haven't brought out GT200 parts positioned lower than the the GTX 260 since the launch. But the real story is what that has done to the prices of the rest of their lineup. The 9 series is still current for NVIDIA, even if many of the parts are just renamed 8 series cards. While we have taken issue with this in past articles, the fact is that NVIDIA is responding very aggressively with pricing on their hardware. We would love to see newer architectures make their way into lower end market segments from NVIDIA, but we are quite impressed with what we are seeing instead.

The prices on NVIDIA's G9x based hardware have fallen dramatically. The 9800 GTX+ can be had for $150-$160 and the 9800 GT is now priced at about $120. Mail in rebates can be found that push the price on the 9800 GT to as low as $100. And these prices aren't just for the stock version but for overlocked variants as well.

Honestly, it would be good if lower end GT200 parts were available. The rebalancing of texture and compute hardware and additional changes are nice, but the GT200 really is a tweaked and polished G9x. The basic features are there and the GPU will work well for current and near term games. For the prices NVIDIA is selling them for, the GeForce 9 series cards are viable options.

And like we mentioned, there are rebates. Rebates are everywhere. It's raining freaking rebates. Sure, they've always been around here and there, but rather than just a marketing tool, the past few months have shown rebates to be a quick fix price adjustment tool. When a new launch comes out, rebates will be offered all over the place, sometimes for a few weeks and sometimes for a few days. NVIDIA and AMD are both playing the rebate game, but NVIDIA has certainly been more aggressive about it from what we've seen. This time around is no different.

AMD has stated that there might be some rebates available for those who look around on launch day for the 4830. We don't know the details as of yet, as the parts aren't on sale as of this writing. But this should certainly benefit the consumer (even if it makes recommending a part more difficult for us).

We've complained about using rebates as tool in recommending hardware in the past. Rebates are not permanent, predictable, or offered by all vendors or manufacturers. In writing articles, we tend to recommend based on suggested pricing or prevailing street price, as these are more reliable. But the fact is that rebates do benefit consumers who take advantage of them. And that's a plus in our book. (Provided of course that you remember to send in the rebate and don't mind waiting a few weeks or even months.) With the competition heating up like it hasn't in quite a while, it seems rebates are the weapon of choice in the battle ground for graphics hardware superiority.

On a side note, we see a lot of gamers and graphics enthusiasts sell their old hardware when they upgrade. Generally, gamers that prefer high end hardware can sustain their upgrade habit a little easier this way. But from the launch of the 9800 GTX about 6 months ago, the price for a new card has been cut in half. With this sort of a price drop on new retail parts, the impact on used hardware will certainly be significant. While not as important to current purchasing decisions, the impact of these market fluctuations on consumers is definitely interesting to consider.

Index The Card and The Test
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  • mczak - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    While the text says 1 simd disabled (which is clearly wrong), it seems AMD sent out review samples with 3 simds disabled instead of 2, hence the review samples being slower than they should be (http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/other/155)">http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/other/155). So did you also test such a card? Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Where is the Assasin's Creed data? Where is the broken line graph for The Witcher showing performance at different resolutions? I've commented on the last several articles on your data analysis and frequently dislike the chosen resolution you use for the horizontal bar graph, but at least you had the broken line graph to compare with.

    With the vast majority of people using 17-19" LCD's with 1280X1024 (especially in the price range of the card being reviewed), it seems kind of strange to me the higher resolutions for 20-22" LCD's are the ones being selected for the large bar graphs. I know the playability difference between 60fps and 70fps is moot, but the trend it shows is very important for those that do not plan on upgrading to a larger monitor and want to know which is the better card.

    For instance the only data we see for The Witcher is at 20-22" resolutions. This single data point shows the AMD card 9% faster than the Nvidia at a just playable (IMO) framerate. As that is likely the average framerate, a 9% difference could be huge when you get into a minimum situation. If I have a 17-19" monitor this data is worthless. Does the trend of AMD being 9% faster hold true at the lower resolution, or does the Nvidia card pull closer?

    And while I'm repeating myself from previous articles, I beg of you, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try to keep the colors of the bar graphs the SAME as in the broken line graphs. It is very frustrating to follow the wrong card from bar graph to line graph because the colors do not match up between them.

    Overall good review, there are just these nagging issues that would make the article great.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    I only know two people using 1280x1024 LCDs, and both would consider $130 way too much to spend on any computer component. I'd guess there are more people these days using 17-19" widescreens with 1280x800 or 1440x900 resolution than the 1280x1024 screens, as these widescreens are what has been common in packages at B&M stores or a while now. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    And your point is? Those resolutions you listed are right around the 1280X1024 resolution I was referring too. It's not the height/width of the monitor that matters with these cards, it is the overall pixel resolution that can have differences between them. A 1280X1024 uses 1.3 million pixels per screen. A 1440X900 uses almost exactly the same number of total pixels, so you could directly compare the results unless the video card had some weird resizing issues. A 1280X800 uses 1.0 million or about a quarter less so this difference could be even larger between the cards than in my original example. Reply
  • GlItCh017 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    For $130.00 I would not be disappointed with that card. Then you consider it to be somewhat cheaper on newegg maybe as low as $100.00 and you got yourself a bargain, overclock it a little or buy an OC version even, not too shabby. Reply
  • Butterbean - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    I jumped to "Final Words" and boom - no info on 4830 but right into steering people to an Nvidia card. That's so Anandtech. Reply
  • mikepers - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Actually what Derek says is it's shop around and get the best price between the two. If there is in fact a $20 to $30 difference then get the 9800gt. If not then get the 4830.

    Performance is about the same and right now you can get a 9800gt for $100 after rebate. (for $110 get it delivered with a copy of COD4 included)

    This doesn't even consider the power advantage of the 9800gt. Assuming you leave your PC on all the time then that little 14 watt idle difference adds up. At the 20 cents per KwH I pay here in Long Island, NY the 9800gt would save me about $24.50 a year. So personally, I would definitely get the 9800gt unless I could find the 4830 for a decent amount less then the 9800gt.
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Didn't really notice it the first read through and most of the time I don't concur with bias allegations.

    However it seems in this case the paragraphs could have been rearranged to 1-4-5-2-3-6 (no rewording necessary) and the conclusion would have said the same thing, only focusing a bit more obvious on the product at hand than what a great deal the nvidia card is.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    thats actually a good suggestion. done. Reply
  • Hanners - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    "Based on the information we know about the GPU, the 4830 is clearly just an RV770 with one SIMD disabled."

    Don't you mean two SIMD cores?
    Reply

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