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.

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  • bunga28 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Great article. It's a shame for a great site such as anandtech to make grammatical mistakes and yet it made fun of product manufacturers for their mistakes in the manuals. Case in point: http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.a...">http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.a... It will probably limit the site's potential for others take it seriously, journalistically speaking, of course. Here is what I'm talking about, in one of the sentences in the 2nd page, it was written "AMD could likely have charged a lot more for their hardware at launch..." Should be "AMD could likely have charged a lot more for its hardware at launch..." I don't want to be the grammar police but this has been happening quite a bit on this site, so I want to say something. Now, we all know what you meant when we read the piece. I just think it sounds much better and we think you're probably smarter too...:) Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    All that and you didn't notice the "overlocked variants" in the 4th paragraph on the second page? Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    You need to educate yourself about formal and notational agreement. AMD is a collective noun, a singular that refers to multiple people. As a rule in the US we go for formal agreement, and refer to AMD with singular verb forms etc, but in the UK it is common to use notational agreement and refer to such a collective noun with plural forms ("the team are ready" for example).

    Next you're going to call someone out for spelling "color" with a "u" :( :( Go back under your rock.
    Reply
  • AssBall - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    If you refer to AMD as the sum of its employees, then it makes perfect sense to use their.

    You wrote:
    "It's a shame for a great site such as anandtech to make grammatical mistakes and yet it made fun of product manufacturers for their mistakes in the manuals."

    Nice run-on sentence. Go grammar police somewhere else, please.
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    With these lower binned parts, is there any word on AGP cards for those looking for a last upgrade?

    DirectX 10.1, SM 4.0, LPCM, HDMI...if a cheap solution existed it'd be a nice last upgrade to keep some older systems that are still useful current.

    Chuck
    Reply
  • Jorgisven - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Actually, the street price of AGP cards has gone up considerably, especially for the late model ones, as no one makes them anymore really. I wouldn't hold your breath on a new one coming out...ever. (This is just my opinion, but the technology is limited and dated, and there's a good reason it was dropped, not having anything to do with collusion with the mobo manufacturers.) Reply
  • LTG - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    They should make this in an AGP version.

    And Intel should also make a Core i7 adapter for 486DX boards.

    This way we can get the most out of our existing hardware.
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Your absolutely right. I should junk a completely working system that is simply lacking some technology that would be beneficial to have in the next year, which would hold people I know over for another 2-4 years, and instead blow $300 or so on a new rig that for the most part (but not completed) will do the exact same thing as the AGP system they have now does.

    Yes, that makes far more sense than buying a $50-$70 modern AGP graphics card that will get them by for the next 2-4 years without hassle.

    Chuck
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    pci-e mobo $50 + fitting cpu $50 + GPU $130 = $230
    GPU $130 + bridge chip + low volume markup = $180-200 if you're lucky

    ram is more difficult story, you can go even cheaper if you keep any ddr ram and go with a second hand mobo, or take advantage of the low-low ram prices..
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    NewEgg Prices Today, AGP Video Cards supporting DirectX 10.x:

    3450: $53.25 shipped
    3650: $79.00 (includes -$20 for rebate) shipped
    3650: $87.00 shipped
    3850: $118.25 (includes -10 for rebate) shipped
    3850: $138.25 shipped

    After the initial price gouging, $180-$200??? I don't think so...not after a couple months.

    NewEgg user reviews alone on these DirectX 10.x AGP cards...>600. Clearly, there's still a market - small, but a market none the less - for these cards. If not 4830, then 4350 or 4550...

    Chuck
    Reply

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