Update: NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 400 Series Shows Up Earlyby Ryan Smith on April 12, 2010 8:14 PM EST
Update 4/12/2010: Now that the week of the 12th is upon us, let's see how a quick stock check at the usual suspects turns out.
Due to most retailers taking pre-orders, everyone seems to be listing what cards they will be carrying. As a result we're seeing a lot of cards right now that show up as out of stock or on pre-order status. Amazon for example hasn't begun shipping any cards, while Newegg (who as we noted in the original blog post was already shipping their first-arrivals) and MWave have a mix of cards that are still awaiting arrival and cards that are genuinely sold out.
In any case the supply situation is such that cards have been coming in and going out of stock all day long. When I started writing the first paragraph of this short update you could find both GTX 470s and GTX 480s in stock at MSRP, and now all that's left are cards above MSRP. Judging from Newegg's data in particular, we should be seeing more cards arrive later this week but at this point it looks like most retailers have received a significant portion of their stock.
It's worth noting that of the two cards, it's the GTX 480 that's the hard one to get. Most of the day someone, somewhere, at some price has a GTX 470 for sale, but GTX 480s are a rare sight. At this point we're not sure whether this is a product of allocation with NVIDIA sending out more GTX 470s than GTX 480s, or if it's a popularity issue since the GTX 470 performs so closely to the Radeon 5800 series. More than likely it's a combination of these two factors, which means if you want a GTX 480 you're going to be doing some scouring.
|April 2010 Video Card Prices
|Radeon HD 5850
|Radeon HD 5870
|Radeon HD 5870E6
|GeForce GTX 470
|GeForce GTX 480
As for pricing, it remains heavily retailer-dependent. Amazon (pre-order) and Newegg have been pricing things at MSRP, while others like ZipZoomFly, MWave, and Best Buy (backordered) are priced above MSRP. Consequently we've seen Newegg sold out of non-overclocked cards most of the day, while ZipZoomFly and MWave have been able to maintain a few different GTX 470s (and the errant GTX 480) in stock. This leaves us in a middle of the road situation on pricing with some cards going for MSRP and some cards going above it, meaning you can either play the lottery for an appropriately priced card or pay more to get a card now. This kind of scheme is economically efficient, but it ultimately distorts pricing and results in gouging. In fact we're surprised that anyone with stock is sticking to MSRP given what we've seen over the last 6 months with the Radeon shortage, but unless demand drops off or NVIDIA sends even more cards we can't imagine MSRP pricing will last.
Ultimately this isn't so bad for the GTX 480 where the only card above it is the even less available Radeon 5970, but this means that most GTX 470s are priced at nearly $400 and end up costing entirely too much for what they do. There's no sense in picking up a GTX 470 at anything but MSRP.
As for AMD's response, Radeon 5850 prices have been holding flat at $300, while Radeon 5870 prices have snuck up a bit in the past couple of weeks - if you want a 5870 right now, the average cheap card is a $420 affair. None of this is surprising since NVIDIA only priced their cards competitively with AMD's existing prices, so there's absolutely no downward price pressure. If prices do end up falling, it will be AMD moving their prices down to put pressure on NVIDIA, and right now there doesn't appear to be an incentive for AMD to do this.
As some of our astute forum readers have noticed, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 400 series have started showing up early. Officially they have been and are still scheduled for a full retail launch next week, but for the past few days a few of them have been showing up in small batches at etailers.
We shot off a quick question to NVIDIA about the matter and got a response last night. The gist of the matter is that NVIDIA started shipping the first retail GTX 400 boards to their partners last Saturday, which means that those partners with a fast turnaround time in boxing and air shipping have already managed to get them in to etailers’ hands. NVIDIA isn’t enforcing a hard launch date here, so everyone is allowed to sell their cards as soon as they can.
Even with this initial availability, NVIDIA is sticking to their official line that broad availability won’t be until next week. This allows for all of their partners to catch up, since not everyone had such a fast turnaround time. This also allows for larger batches to make their way in to etailers’ hands, since larger batches are almost always sent via a slower method of shipping. In any case, current availability shouldn’t be considered representative of what we’ll see next week according to NVIDIA.
As for current availability and pricing, it’s highly variable. Some etailers are holding to MSRP and as such are quickly selling out, while other etailers are charging more than MSRP (e.g. $400 for a GTX 470) and still have cards in stock. The fact that anyone is charging MSRP right now is a good sign that pricing shouldn’t get too far out of hand, but we’ll have to see how things go next week. In the mean time if you’re dying to have a GTX 400 card, you should be able to get a GTX 470 right now but you’re going to be paying entirely too much for it.
We’ll have more on this next week once the GTX 400 series reaches broad availability.