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.

ATI Video Cards


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  • DeadFish - Monday, December 1, 2003 - link

    Just a note of course-correction. Just when the ATI 9600SE's came out I needed a vidcard, and couldn't wait for the XT version to get HalfLife2 with it. I ended up rationalizing the SE version at $135 I think, and it came with Half Life 2 and was cheaper than the 9600Pro version.
    When I took my new card out of the box it had
    ATI 9600 Pro on the back of the card.

    I felt it a fair bargain at $60+cheaper than the XT. Even looks better than the Matrox I upgraded from! ;-)
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, November 29, 2003 - link


    I was originally misinformed as far as performance goes but I talked to Derek and Anand about it, and updated the article.

    When I said I didnt consider it a steller card, I was more talking along the lines of XFX as opposed to the GPU.

    Sorry for the confusion!


  • BenSkywalker - Thursday, November 27, 2003 - link

    "I wouldnt exactly consider it a stellar card, i think the 5700 Ultra actually outperforms it. :)"

    ? The 5900 Non Ultra kills the 5700Ultra, they aren't in the same class. Take the scores of a 5900Ultra and knock off 10% and you have a 5900NU, if you factor in OCing I have yet to see a 5900NU that doesn't exceed 5900Ultra speeds. Even the 5900SE with the 2.8ns RAM bests the 5700Ultra at all settings all of the time, and the XFX board is one of the 2.2ns parts. In a lot of cases, the XFX 5900NU is close to twice the speed of the 5700Ultra. I'm not sure where you got the impression that the 5900NU was comparable to the mid level 9600/5700 class parts, but it most certainly isn't.
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - link


    Will do :) Ill have it added as soon as possible.

  • vailr - Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - link

    Please include TwinMos DDR PC3700 & PC4000 memory, for comparison. Can be found:
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, November 24, 2003 - link

    Or you could have just asked me to add it instead of throwing accusations here and there?

    I added it. I wouldnt exactly consider it a stellar card, i think the 5700 Ultra actually outperforms it. :)


  • quikah - Monday, November 24, 2003 - link

    opps, messed up that post. :)

    The XFX 5900 is $199 at Newegg. Seems odd that this card is not included in the list. Does it undercut some sponsors?

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