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Though we keep track of video card pricing regularly on an internal basis, it’s not something we normally publish outside of our semi-regular buyer’s guides. More often than not video card pricing is slow to move (if it moves at all), as big price shifts come in concert with either scheduled price cuts or new product introductions. But in a process that has defied our expectations for more than a month now, even we can’t fail to notice what Radeon prices are quite literally up to.

In a sign of the daffy times we live in, Radeon R9 290X prices have hit $900 this week at Newegg. Every card, from the reference models to the water block model, is now at $899, with Newegg apparently doing brisk enough business to be sold out of more than half of their different 290X SKUs. This of course is some $350 over the 290X’s original launch price of $550, a 64% price bump. Meanwhile the Radeon R9 290 has been similarly affected, with 290 cards starting at $600, $200 (50%) over MSRP.

The culprit, as has been the case since the start, continues to be the strong demand for the cards from cryptocoin miners, who are willing to pay a premium for the cards in anticipation of still being able to turn a profit off of them in the long run. Interestingly this also comes right as Chinese New Year comes to a close. Chinese New Year doesn’t typically affect video card prices for cards that are already released and on shelves, but the lack of production for the roughly 2 week span certainly isn’t doing the 290X market any favors given the strong demand for the cards. In the meantime however this does mean that 290X cards are unfortunately priced out of the hands of gamers more than ever before; at $900, we’d be just $10 short of a GTX 780 Ti and a Core i5-4670K to go with it.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that this phenomena remains almost entirely limited to North America. Our own Ian Cutress quickly checked a couple of UK retailers, Scan.co.uk and Overclockers.co.uk, and found that both of them had 290 series cards in stock at pre-VAT prices that were only marginally above the North American MSRPs. A PowerColor R9 290 OC can be found for £275 (~$460 USD) and an XFX R9 290X for £334 (~$560 USD). The European market of course has its own idiosyncrasies, but ultimately it’s clear that UK pricing has gone largely unaffected by the forces that have driven up North American pricing, making this one of those rare occasions where hardware is more expensive in North America than in Europe, even after taxes.

Radeon R9 290 Series Prices
  North America UK (excluding VAT)
Radeon R9 290X $899 £334 (~$560 USD)
Radeon R9 290 $599 £275 (~$460 USD)

Update (11:30 PM): It’s interesting just how greatly things can shift in only half a day. This morning 290X prices were $899 with Newegg having 5 models in stock. But as of late this evening prices have dropped rather quickly by $200, bringing them down to $699 (just $150 over MSRP). All the while however, Newegg’s selection has dwindled to just two models, showcasing just how high the demand for these cards is and how quickly buyers will snatch them up even when they’re still well over MSRP.

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  • SodaAnt - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    Its great! I bought a used 7970 about six months ago for around $220, and now I'm selling it for $370 and getting a GTX 780 for $440, so I only end up paying $70 to go from a 7970 to a GTX 780. Reply
  • SleepyFE - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    Since you paid for the 7970 and made a profit, you end up paying 290$ to get the 780. Reply
  • Mondozai - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    In one sentence, you summed up why US lags behind most of the OECD in maths skills both for students and adults. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    No he didn't. SodaAnt was completely accurate in his assessment of the marginal cost of moving from the 7970 to the GTX 780. SleepyFE subtly changed the subject to the total cost of the GTX 780 to make a snarky comment which implied he said something much dumber. Reply
  • SodaAnt - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    As if that has to do with anything? My math was correct, there was just a difference in economics terms, which I still understand perfectly well. Reply
  • RadicalEntity - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    He was defending you, why are you jumping down his throat? Reply
  • SodaAnt - Saturday, February 15, 2014 - link

    Meant to reply to the comment above it. Reply
  • mdlam - Sunday, February 16, 2014 - link

    Soda ant get off your sofa and take a math course. You have all obviously overlooked the cost of the depreciating dollar and inflation which over 2 years adds #)($*@#()$* to the amount you paid originally. Reply
  • Kutark - Sunday, February 16, 2014 - link

    Lets not forget that we have to put a value on the time he invested purchasing and reselling the cards. Did his assessment include shipping costs? What about electricity or gas costs for heating or cooling his home while he was partaking in these activities? Reply
  • SlyNine - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    Yes, after all, profit can only be determined at the time of sell. Foolish humans. Reply

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