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AMD gets competitive with Radeon HD 6990 price drop

What price can the fastest card in the market command?  It’s a good question and one that AMD and nVidia have both been seeking to answer recently. KitGuru noticed a price move by accident. Here’s what we found and how we found it.

The fight for the title of the world’s fastest graphic card is a hard-fought affair, with both nVidia and AMD claiming first blood with the launch of the GTX590 and Radeon HD 6990 respectively.

On this occasion, the independent labs gave the win to AMD – but some margin – and that seems to have spurred nVidia on to considering a GTX595 in the near future. Which is a good thing, right?

So, back with the current leader, the Radeon HD 6990 – how much should it be?

When the card was tested every-which-way in the KitGuru Labs, back at the start of March – the street price was set to be a smidgeon under £550. Now THAT’s what KitGuru calls a long of wonga.

Roll the clock forward less than 3 months and you can find the same card for less than £499 on a number of sites – including larger online retailers like Aria – where it’s just £497 at the time of writing.

The KitGuru back office staff were looking at adverts which link into Google’s shopping facility – and that’s where the drop was noticed first.

nVidia’s slower GTX590 is also available from Aria – but they want a whopping £72 more.

There are two possibilities as to why the AMD cards offer so much better value right now. One is that AMD wants to go even more aggressively after market share – so the price drop is intended to put additional pressure on nVidia. The second is that nVidia believes its customer base is strong and will not consider a move to Radeon. On that basis, you can ignore a price difference of more than £70 ($110), because you know that your customers are not going anywhere.

The latest research from Jen Hsun Huang’s favourite industry analyst, Jon Peddie, indicates that at the start of 2011 AMD sales have picked up almost 17% year on year, while nVidia has dropped almost 9%.

The Jon Peddie survey certainly put a smile on the face of AMD's head of GPU sales for EMEA, Neil Spicer

KitGuru says: What these research numbers do not show is how well nVidia is doing in the handheld market. If Quadro did not represent such a huge amount of pure profit for nVidia, then the company might well turn away from the development of expensive, high-end processors and focus instead on ‘being everywhere’. For now, it has to carry on developing high-end solutions and getting as much money as it can for them.

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