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AMD preps price cuts as Two Tribes Go To War

It's a weird world, no doubt. Against the backdrop of an overall market slump, Gartner turns around and says that shipments of desktop PCs have just jumped almost 2% – to the surprise of just about everyone. At the same time, it's a competitive world and just because ‘more of something' is being bought – doesn't mean that it's being bought from you. KitGuru dons a padded sumo suit and prepares to get in between two 800 pound gorillas.

Have you ever pondered what makes a winning or losing graphics card?

At first glance, it's a simple question. One is faster than another and so it wins. Shirley?

But what if the winning card is 3x more expensive?  Also, what happened when the ‘losing card' has a feature that no other card has. It's not as easy as you might think.

Graphic companies don't compare single cards against each other. Instead, they compare product stacks as a whole and try to make a winning line-up. Each new launch ([You and your competitor – Ed] adjusts the stack, so today's winner is tomorrow's loser etc. Also, when a card is hard to make, you charge more – but once you are in full flow mass production, you can drop pricing to be more competitive.

While Intel is pushing hard to increase its graphics grunt with the integrated 4000 series, the stacks we're referring to belong to nVidia and AMD, with their GeForce and Radeon cards respectively. Just under an hour ago, KitGuru HQ got a call from an insider with some interesting info about a wave of price cuts that AMD is about to execute on.

So, the big question: Which cards are likely to be affected and by how much?

Well first up is the HD 7970. At maximum O/C clocks, it stands toe-to-toe with the GTX680, but overall the 680 is a strong challenge. Looks like AMD will reposition its stack so the 7970 drops by up to $60. Right next to that, we have the Radoen HD 7950 looking to drop by around $55.

The last adjustment in the stack, for now, seems to be the Radeon HD 7770, which we're hearing will drop by a little less than $15.

Of course, things could change over the next week or two, but – right now – we're hearing that these price drops are about to filter through to board partners and should be with distribution in less than a week. Prices on the shelves can take a little while longer to drop – depending on what kind of price protection is in place.

Just like Paul Newman, our sauces are many and varied. In this case, our insider finger-pointers have had their identities masked to prevent revenge attacks. You know. From authoritarian marketing majors.

KitGuru says: Can't think of a single bad thing to say about faster products being more affordable. According to our tests, running a pair of 7770 cards in CrossFire is a serious option and, at $30 less, is more serious than ever. Expect a reaction from nVidia: Two tribes are about to go to war.

Comment below or in the Kitguru forums.

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