For those of you in the market for a new video card, some price relief is on its way. Earlier today AMD sent out an announcement that they’ll be dropping the price on half of the Radeon HD 7000 series lineup, bringing prices down at both the top and bottom ends of their product stack.

With the launch of the GeForce GTX 680 AMD lost their performance lead in the high-end market – and thereby losing their ability to charge top dollar – so this adjustment has been expected. However it’s a pleasant surprise to see it this soon since the GTX 680 is still significantly supply constrained. We weren’t expecting to see this price cut until the GTX 680 supply improved, as AMD is still the only option when it comes to readily available cards.

Altogether AMD will be reducing the prices on 3 of their 7000 series cards: the 7970, the 7950, and the 7770. The 7970 will be dropping by $70 from $549 to $479 – below the GTX 680 – while its lower tier counterpart the 7950 will be dropping $50 from $449 to $399. Meanwhile the 7770, which was undoubtedly the worst priced member of the 7000 series, will be seeing a price drop of $20 to bring it from $159 to $139.

Spring 2012 Radeon HD 7000 Series Price Cuts
Card Old MSRP New MSRP
Radeon HD 7970 $549 $479
Radeon HD 7950 $449 $399
Radeon HD 7870 N/A $349
Radeon HD 7850 N/A $249
Radeon HD 7770 $159 $139
Radeon HD 7750 N/A $109

For the 7900 series the price cuts will be part of a two pronged approach by AMD to drive 7900 series sales. The other change is that AMD will be significantly increasing the amount of software that comes with these cards in what AMD is calling their Three For Free promotion. Currently most major retailers include a free copy of DiRT 3 with their 7900 cards; AMD will be replacing that promo with Three For Free, which will be a trio of games: DiRT Showdown, Nexuiz, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution plus the Explosive Mission Pack DLC.

Update 5/09: Now that the Three For Free promo has gone live, AMD has sent out a correction for the bundle. The Deus Ex portion of bundle will not include the more expansive Missing Link DLC; rather it will include the smalelr Explosive Mission Pack DLC.

Deus Ex was one of AMD’s major partner games from last year, while DiRT Showdown and Nexuiz are games that will not be released until next month. The inclusion of unreleased games is a bit odd, but considering that we’re just getting out of the post-Christmas game slump AMD’s options were either this or to include more 2011 games that many potential customers may already have. In any case, as with past AMD promotions these games will be given away via Steam keys.

Spring 2012 GPU Pricing Comparison
  $499 GeForce GTX 680
Radeon HD 7970 $479  
Radeon HD 7950 $399 GeForce GTX 580
Radeon HD 7870 $349  
  $299 GeForce GTX 570
Radeon HD 7850 $249  
  $199 GeForce GTX 560 Ti
  $169 GeForce GTX 560
Radeon HD 7770 $139  

Ultimately AMD has done enough to make the 7900 series once again competitive against the GTX 680, though how competitive is going to depend on how much you value AMD’s game bundle. A larger price cut would be a more straightforward value proposition, but AMD is better off adding value through the inclusion of games than further eroding their margins. Meanwhile the 7770’s new price is a welcome relief from its poor launch pricing, and while it’s still as expensive as the faster 6850 it’s no longer indefensibly overpriced for buyers looking to get a 28nm card. The only real odd man out here is the 7800 series; the 7850 is fine, however at $350 the 7870 is very close to the 7950, which could be bad news for one of those cards.

Wrapping things up, the price cut should be starting today while the Three For Free promo should be starting sometime in the next two weeks. We’re already seeing the prices come down on some Radeon cards with the rest soon to follow. But with the promo not starting for a couple more weeks, you may want to hold off on any 7900 purchases until it starts.

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  • Wreckage - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    I expect a 670 to perform about as well as the 7970 while costing less. So if AMD really wants to attract people to the 7970 they need to go a lot lower. Don't forget the 4870 launched at $299, it seems to be the sweet spot for AMD.
  • dagamer34 - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    AMD wasn't really going after the high end at the time. Plus, this is a brand new manufacturing node. You aren't going to see cheap prices for high-end 28nm products for a long time.
  • B3an - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    The 7970 has 3GB RAM. The 680 dont. And i very much doubt the 670 will, infact it could have even less than 2GB.

    Yet these cards are for the high-end. Even 1080p is a waste for these cards, many people will be using higher res and multiple displays. I use 2560x1600 with lots of AA and i can see 2GB or less struggling in the not too distant future. I already use up to 1.8GB GPU RAM with Skyrim + mods.
  • Mordecai Walfish - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    You can go 4GB with the 680 if you want:
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - link

    1080p eats these cards for lunch. Turn down the eye candy and expect delays and stutters.
    Add in 3D and 120htz and it's slowvillle.
    At 1080p one often has to "live with" the lack in performance.
  • chizow - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    $380-400 would've been about right for the 7970, in-line with AMD's historical pricing and the relatively small increase over last-gen 40nm parts.

    Overpricing the 7970 at $550 allowed Nvidia the freedom to price their mid-range ASIC, GK104, at premium prices while *STILL* undercutting AMD because GTX 680 beat the 7970 in virtually every metric, game and benchmark.

    In the end both AMD and Nvidia have won in the early rounds of 28nm, the only losers are going to be early adopters who are paying the worst premiums on high-end components for the smallest increase in performance over last-gen parts since the DX10 era began with G80.
  • Touche - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    Enough with the GTX680=midrange nonsense, please. If Nvidia had or was capable of producing a higher end card, it would. As it stands now, this is the very best, top end, card they have and they can barely produce even that. If AMD were to say they have a design for a chip twice as big as 7970, but, alas, doesn't really exist nor will for some time to come, would that make the 7970 a midrange card? Or, by the time GK110/112 launches, AMD will probably launch their next card. It does not make current ones lower end right now.
  • CeriseCogburn - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    I'm much more in line with your view, thank you for saying it.
    People seem to have an enormous blank mind when it comes to understanding these card companies are spitting out the paper releases before they even have the 10k or 20k cards made it now seems (or barely that for amd and the former 50k for nvidia appears to have collapsed)...
    So we all can read about TSMC and it's stoked to the gills incapability of producing the cards in quantity on time. We just experienced the prior round of endless fab issues spewed for the entire 400 series and 500 series nvidia as well, but suddenly all that information is evaporated into the wind with Charlie D's $299 rumor and the endless spinning of a single "nvidia slide" of a 670Ti, not to mention the 14 different prediction website downloaded html saves I have on just this system, which are 90% incorrect overall.
    So, the ability to blame amd and blame nvidia is all important and "everyone is being ripped off" is top priority, as let's face it with enough complaining the hope is the greedy end user's upgrade dollar will be stretched further...
    "They're holding back !" is now a standing conspiracy tinfoil hat and all in the discreet card space.
    I will point out however how Asia is rising, as the USD is being bloat printed by the loons in charge of the world monetary system (not to mention the EU currency bailouts), hence when the unthinkable in computer electronics occurs and the price rises or remains about the same for 2.5 years, no one should be that surprised.
  • chizow - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    Its not nonsense. GTX 680 is either an exceptionally overperforming midrange part or an underperforming high-end part, which do you think is the case?

    The fact that GK104 exceeded even Nvidia's expectations and outperformed AMD's highest end part actually works counter to your claim that "If Nvidia had or was capable of producing a higher end card, it would."

    The fact of the matter is, they DON'T have to put their best foot forward due to a combination of factors:

    1) 7970 being underwhelming and priced as a high-end SKU.
    2) GK104/GTX 680 performing better than expected for a mid-range ASIC, well enough to jump a SKU notch or two and masquerade as a high-end part.

    End result is we have the smallest increase in generational performance for any part since G80. I fully expect GK110 will bring us the increases we are more accustomed to once it releases.
  • Touche - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    Yeah, right. They could release a high margin >$600 card that would sell as fast as they could make it, but they chose not to because they have something "good enough" that's about equal to their competitors product performance and price wise. I guess they also chose not to release any other desktop Kepler part, completely surrendering the low and mid range market to their competitor. GTX680 is that good all by itself that no other card is really needed.

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