Price Guides November 2003: Video Cards and Memoryby Kristopher Kubicki on November 23, 2003 11:59 PM EST
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The last couple weeks have proven necessity for another price guide. With COMDEX announcements, new NVIDIA graphics card introductions and various official and unofficial price cuts, the video card market has changed completely in 3 weeks. As always, remember you can track our prices and weekly deltas via our in house RealTime Price Engine.
The largest obvious news was the introduction of the NVIDIA GeForceFX 5700 and 5950 cards. First impressions of the 5700 Ultra have been fairly favorable. Do not forget to check Anand and Derek’s first impressions of the GPU here. Even though we were promised a debut MSRP of under $200, most vendors are carrying BFG and eVGA variants of the 5700 Ultra for around $210. The 5950 debut essentially put the 5900 Ultra prices into a tailspin. If you really feel the need for a 5900 Ultra, they can now be found for under $400 instead of $500.
As an interesting bit of trivia, the 5700 and 5950 series GPUs are not manufactured on the traditional TSMC process NVIDIA has sworn by in the past. Instead, NVIDIA now relies on the IBM foundry in East Fishkill, New York. For those of you who are playing at home, that is the same Fishkill facility where AMD and IBM co-developed the 65nm foundry process for CPUs (AMD’s Fab 36 in Dresden will probably incorporate some of this technology. Read here for Anand’s detailed tour of the existing Fab 30). Tooling over to a different manufacturer is probably costing NVIDIA a bit of money, especially here in the US. However, the long-term benefits of working with AMD and IBM could be incredible for the US based graphics manufacturer.
We can see the 5600 Ultra video cards have nicely adjusted to make themselves a little more competitive to ATI’s 9600 Pro and XT solutions. Over the last 3 weeks, the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra cards have dropped almost 40% in price due to the introduction of the GeForce FX 5950. Granted, this only places NVIDIA’s high end cards price level they should have debuted at. $400 is still ridiculously too much to pay for a video card. Fortunately, we will probably see a correction in price on the ATI counterparts after this most recent adjustment.
We were very interested in the XFX (Pine) GeForceFX 5900 non-Ultra cards that just began to retail under $200. The 5900 should pack a little more punch than the 5700 Ultra, but you loose two slots due to the oversized heatsink/fan.
We saw real changes in the older Ti4200 and Ti4600 line. NVIDIA threw in the towel on these cards a while ago, but they still pack quite a punch for the price (or at least the former price). Unfortunately, steady price increases due to low supply are forcing the Ti line into oblivion.