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AMD: We have not cut prices of GPUs, partners run promotions

We looked here and asked there to bring you everything you need to know about AMD Radeon R9 price reductions and promotions.

Last week it was reported that Advanced Micro Devices and its partners among suppliers of graphics cards reduced prices of AMD Radeon R9-series graphics adapters in a bid to be more competitive against Nvidia Corp.’s GeForce GTX 970/980 graphics solutions. Then, the report was somehow denied. Unfortunately, since AMD was in its quiet period before the announcement of Q3 financial results this Thursday, the company could not provide us a lot of answers, but today we managed to get loads of important details right from AMD.

It’s getting hotter on the graphics cards market…

During the earnings call AMD admitted that Nvidia has released very competitive products in the form of the GeForce GTX 970/980 and that it had to adjust to “some competitive dynamics” or even reposition certain products.

“We have certainly adjusted to some of the competitive dynamics, and we have made some positioning changes as well as some new marketing activities that you will see from us in the fourth quarter,” said Lisa Su, chief executive officer of AMD.

It is important to understand that while AMD executive admitted that Nvidia’s competitive positions became much stronger with the release of the new GeForce GTX graphics cards, it neither confirmed nor denied any price-cuts during the conference call.

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Richard Huddy: We are very, very competitive

In a bid to understand how AMD sees its positions on the market of high-end graphics cards and how it plans to compete against new offerings from its arch-rival, we decided to ask Richard Huddy, AMD’s chief gaming scientist, a few questions.

KitGuru: Hi Richard, nice to chat with you again! How do you consider competitive positions of AMD Radeon R9 product line these days? Are the Radeon R9 290-series graphics cards still the best high-end single-GPU graphics solutions for their money?

Richard Huddy: AMD continues to offer strong performance and great pricing on Radeon R9 series graphics cards right now thanks to channel promotions. You can purchase an AMD Radeon R9 290X starting at $369 (€320 in Europe, £275 in the U.K. and there are this week only promotions at OcUK that start at £233) – considerably better value than the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, which is its equivalent. AMD provides excellent value for performance that is on par in most scenarios, especially at higher resolutions such as 4K, which matters greatly to gamers today. Looking at our AMD Radeon R9 290, you should start seeing prices starting at $299 (€250 – €260 in Europe, £215 – £240 in the U.K.). If you look historically, I don’t think we’ve ever seen that much performance for under $300. It’s insane. It’s very, very competitive.

KitGuru: You are talking about lower prices. There were reports that AMD decided to cut-down prices on the majority of the Radeon R9 graphics cards to better position them against Nvidia’s GeForce GTX. Is that true?

Richard Huddy: We have not issued any price cuts, nor price protection and we have not announced any for the future. We are conducting some promotions with our AIB partners that enables them to reach such competitive pricing on the Radeon R9 290 and 290X.

KitGuru: For how long these promotions might run?

Richard Huddy: The best news is that we have very healthy stock levels for both the Radeon R9 290 and 290X in the channel and the time to buy is now, with channel promotions bringing such great deals. We’ve got phenomenal products in the market and there’s plenty of it around.

KitGuru: Given your background with game development and some other things, I know you would like to add something… 🙂

Richard Huddy: If you look at competitive offerings, there are no free games, but with our 290X you can choose three of the latest games from the back catalogue. There are around 30 titles right now that you can choose from – and these include some of the latest triple-A games. There is Alien Isolation, for example, which came out last week and that’s already in the bundle. So you can choose from a selection of games that have been out over the last few months.

Talking of performance for a moment, if you look at some of the latest games coming out for example, Sniper Elite 3 it is one of the latest titles that is enabled with Mantle as an API. For example, the Radeon R9 290X is about anywhere between ten or 12 per cent faster than the GeForce GTX 980 when running on Mantle. So if you compare that, you’re getting more performance in the latest games for less money.

KitGuru: Thank you so much, Richard!

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Final words

AMD claims that it has not cut prices of graphics cards and also does not offer price protection on its Radeon products, yet, they are available at discount prices. It is completely unclear how AMD has managed to do this, but at the moment it is possible to get the AMD Radeon R9 290-series graphics cards with rather significant discounts. If one can get a Radeon R9 290X at the price of a GeForce GTX 970 at a local retailer, the deal seems to be a great one!

The Radeon R9 graphics cards also come with free games and support AMD’s Mantle API that can provide performance boosts in select cases. On the other hand, as Nvidia continues to polish off its drivers and optimize them for the Maxwell architecture, performance of the GeForce GTX 900-series graphics cards will get somewhat higher over time as well.

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KitGuru Says: While we could not get a confirmation from AMD about the price-cuts, we now know that there is a plenty of Radeon R9 290/290X graphics cards in the channel, which need to be sold. Why? Maybe to maintain AMD’s market share going forward (when the stocks deplete to certain levels, resellers start to buy from AMD, which is when market observers register sales), or maybe to prepare for something newer and bigger.

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