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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  • chizow - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    No, there's significant decreases in demand as price increases, both Nvidia and AMD understand these brackets quite well (they release them in press slide decks all the time breaking down their sales %/product mix for each bracket).

    In order to maximize overall profit and not just profit per ASIC sold, they need to balance volume with margins which doesn't happen by outpricing their target markets at $600+ per card. GPUs aren't gasoline, milk, shelter, or clothing, people won't pay any price for them especially when they generally don't die or expire on their own.

    What you see with GK104 is a part that outperformed expectations as a target mid-range ASIC, beating AMD's overpriced flagship part, which allowed Nvidia to position their mid-range part as a high-end SKU. By doing so its going to fetch Intel-esque margins for every part sold.

    This also allows Nvidia a grace period and an entirely new revenue cycle once they actually decide to finally launch GK110, because the fact of the matter is, they DON'T need to launch it now because there's no need to. Their #2 ASIC beats AMD's #1 ASIC, which again, is counter to your assumption Nvidia would launch their best part if they could.

    What's next? The next two cards to be played in the deck. A dual-GPU from AMD followed by a dual-GPU from Nvidia. See hints at Nvidia's facebook page....

    Then maybe sometime after that we see GK110 whenever Nvidia feels like they need to kickstart the revenue machine again....
  • poached - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    yeah I don't know why people are saying the 680 is a midrange card. Traditionally the x80 series has been reserved for the high-end, no? If so, why would anyone expect that there is a more powerful single card version hidden somewhere?

    If there exists a more powerful version I think they would have released it and take advantage of a lack of competition and make bank with the high margins.
  • chizow - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    The GK104 was productized as a high-end part, but it has all the characteristics of a historical mid-range part. You can find all of the relevant specs in the various data sheets out there:

    1) size
    2) transistor count (relative to last-gen)
    3) memory bus/bandwidth
    4) memory capacity
    5) ROPs, TMUs, overall rendering pipeline
    6) power consumption
    7) PCB/board design

    We also know Nvidia has historically produced a high-end ASIC in the 500+mm^2 range to serve dual-purpose functionality as both their compute/professional part (Tesla/Quadro) as well as their flagship desktop GPU SKUs.

    We know for a fact GK104 is not it. Nvidia specifically stated they had to cut much of the compute/GPGPU aspects of GK104 to make it such a strong gaming performer within its physical limitations.

    As for why Nvidia didn't release it, should be obvious, it probably wasn't ready, and they simply didn't need it after seeing Tahiti's lackluster price/performance. Their choice was obviously to launch their mid-range ASIC as high-end because it was good enough to beat AMD's best offering at 28nm this time around.
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - link

    So with the 6990 and 590 at $700 which amd's and nvidia's new cards just about match, they should have released at what price ?
    The 580 was a solid $500 before the releases.
    So just how far down should a $700 performance card be released at ?
    Whatever - as usual Charlie D semi- mind control artist has done his work well.
  • chizow - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Except the 7970/680 don't match the 6990/590, which are generally ~50% faster than their generation's fastest single-GPU parts.

    That's the problem. In the past, new flagships have been able to match and usurp these X2 GPU monsters and effectively render them obsolete. That is not the case with the GTX 680 or the 7970 because their performance and pricing are underwhelming using historical metrics.

    Do your homework, then come back and argue please. If you did, we wouldn't be having this argument...
  • Touche - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    You do realize that versions of 7970 sold for close to $600 as fast as they could make them? If Nvidia made a $700 card as fast as GK110 is rumored to be, they wouldn't be able to satisfy demand. And by waiting to release an already ready top end card they would be giving their competition time to come out with their next top product, making it far less interesting and relevant. You just don't do that.

    Codename does not a card position make. Its position is determined by its performance, price and your ability to actualy make it. If rumours came out about a planned GKxxx that was supposed to be huge and have three times the units of the GTX680, but nowhere to be found and existed only on paper, would 680 suddenly become a low end card that performs astonishing?
  • chizow - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    The custom 7970s were readily available as soon as they released after the initial product launch, it was only the reference launch products that were hard to find. There was one XFX that sold out for ~$20 more at launch but once the rest hit the market, demand had cooled and people were unwilling to pay the premium on an already overpriced part.

    As for "codename does not a card position make", you do realize 28nm, both GTX 680 and 7970 offered the least increase in price/performance of any generation/process node leap in recent history right?

    You do realize, that unless you've never bought a GPU before in your life, Nvidia and AMD are competing with themselves to provide enough of a performance increase to justify or entice a customer to upgrade.

    Do you think paying 100-110% for 15-35% additional performance after 1.5-2 years is a good enough leap in progress to justify an upgrade?

    Beyond that, look at the current prices of last-gen GPUs. You can get GTX 480s for $209, GTX 560Ti 448s for $220, GTX 570s for $250, GTX 580s for $300. AMD/Nvidia have to compete with that as well while stock is still available, and at current price points, they're not doing a very good job of it.
  • Touche - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    Don't see how any of that makes GK104 a midrange chip/card. If it's the higest range card you can produce, has high end price and high end's a duck.
  • chizow - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    Just like the 7970 was a duck?

    Sorry, no. 15-25% after 18-24 months for 110% of the price just isn't good enough, its not a duck, its a turd.

    30-35% at 100% of the price for GK104 is certainly better, but still falls far short of *HISTORICAL* expectations for price:performance in this segment.

    Like I said, these companies need to entice users to upgrade with significantly more performance, otherwise there's no incentive to upgrade at the same asking prices.
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - link

    You keep claiming a low performance increase but you never state the former increases, so people keep disbelieving you.
    It appears the former performance increases are insufficient for your point so you leave them up to the imagination.
    The 680 is still virtually unavailable in the USA on the 22nd of April.

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