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Radeon HD 6800 pricing shambles

After working tirelessly for several days in the KitGuru Lab, our technicians are only now coming out into the grey autumn light and blinking like moles. With all of the reviews published, we now have time to analyse what just happened. The cards are great, AMD’s partners worked overtime to make sure that KitGuru had plenty of different samples – and all of that is much appreciated. Hopefully, it all goes towards making your buying decision easier. But what the hell happened with the pricing?  KitGuru sets the Grumble-O-Meter to ‘high’.

Imagine you’re a normal person (go on – try!). You have a regular income and lifestyle, but want to buy a car. You visit Honest John’s motors and he presents you with a regular Ford Focus S-Max and an Audi Q7. Thinking the Ford is £15,000 and the Q7 is £50,000, you’d probably walk towards the Ford. But if they were the same price, then it’s a no-brainer. You take the Audi (even if you just sell it, buy a Ford Focus S-Max and pocket the change).

Price is everything, because it dictates value. Lower price, more value. Simple.

Our point?

Price is everything when it comes to making a comparison.

If the AMD Radeon HD 6870 costs a consumer £205 inc vat (around$320), then that is a losing proposition and no one should recommend it.

New logo prepared/updated ?

KitGuru’s market intelligence is strong and we know that the real price is going to be much more competitve, so we evaluated the product against the price that everyone should be showing in the next day or so. Which is around £179 inc vat (or $280 including sales tax). You can go up a little from there and still the result stands.

The same goes for the Radeon HD 6850. If it is going to be £160 inc vat ($250), then you need to think twice. But when the channel catches up and it sells at £139 inc vat ($210), then it is a winner in the way we described. By a long way.

Given that AMD has had an entire year to prepare for the launch of the Northern Islands products – starting with the Radeon HD 6800 series – KitGuru is a little confused as to why there has been any confusion with the pricing. Looking at the Scan web site this morning, you can see that some partners are still at the very high price points – while others (notably XFX) have been quick to update the channel.

We’re not going to tell you to hold off buying: How much you pay and when you choose to make your purchase is your decision. But we will say that we’re 100% certain that our guidance pricing is right and that you need to be closer to the low end of the scale than the high end – otherwise our recommendations do not stand. If we’d been told that the Radeon HD 6870 would be clear over £200, then we would have told you to consider it. Close to £170 and is it a must have. Same for the Radeon HD 6850. If you can get a 6870 for the same price, then no one should buy the 6850. It needs to be sitting at the right price point to get the KitGuru ‘Must Have’ award.

KitGuru says: We’re struggling to remember a launch quite like this. The MSI Talon Attack and EVGA FTW versions of nVidia’s stunningly good GTX460 were both around the £200 mark and tough to beat. At the same time, the 768MB [Thanks Shishir!- ed] versions of the GTX460 could be picked up from leading stores for around £120 inc vat. Everyone at AMD knew what the competitive landscape was. All they needed to do, with >12 months to get ready, was to nail the new 6800 series to the £139 and £179 price points. We think they will, but only after a few days. nVidia must be breathing a sigh of relief that this wasn’t executed with precision. Could have been a killer blow. Even at £149 and £189, they are still good – but you need to consider the purchase a little more.

Comment below, full on rants in the KitGuru forums.

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