AMD Dropping R9 290X to $399, R9 290 to $299

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 6, 2014 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, r9 290, hawaii, GTX 980, GTX 970, geforce, amd

On Saturday while finishing up the writing on our Shadow of Mordor performance story, I noticed something quite interesting. The prices of AMD's flagship Radeon products had all come down quite a bit. In an obvious response to the release of NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970, the Radeon R9 290X and the Radeon R9 290 have lowered prices in a very aggressive fashion.

UPDATE: A couple of individual cards appear to be showing up as $360 and $369 on Newegg!

View Full Size is showing some R9 290X cards at $399

For now, is only listing the triple-fan Gigabyte R9 290X Windforce card at $399, though has a couple as well.

View Full Size also has several R9 290 cards for $299

And again, has some other options for R9 290 cards at these lower prices.

Let's assume that these price drops are going to be permanent which seems likely based on the history of AMD and market adjustments. That shifts the high end GPU market considerably.

GeForce GTX 980 4GB $549  
  $399 Radeon R9 290X 4GB
GeForce GTX 970 4GB $329  
  $299 Radeon R9 290 4GB

The battle for that lower end spot between the GTX 970 and R9 290 is now quite a bit tighter though NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture still has a positive outlook against the slightly older Hawaii GPU. Our review of the GTX 970 shows that it is indeed faster than the R9 290 though it no longer has the significant cost advantage it did upon release. The GTX 980, however, is much tougher sell over the Radeon R9 290X for PC gamers that are concerned with price per dollar over all else. I would still consider the GTX 980 faster than the R9 290X...but is it $150 faster? That's a 35% price difference NVIDIA now has to contend with.

NVIDIA has proven that is it comfortable staying in this position against AMD as it maintained it during essentially the entire life of the GTX 680 and GTX 780 product lines. AMD is more willing to make price cuts to pull the Radeon lineup back into the spotlight. Though the market share between the competitors didn't change much over the previous 6 months, I'll be very curious to see how these two strategies continue to play out.

October 6, 2014 | 04:00 PM - Posted by nayyar_s

290w vs 165w + faster, as much as i would like to see $499 for Gtx 980, but still look likes it's a winner in the end.

October 6, 2014 | 04:36 PM - Posted by arbiter

I was thinkin' more like 450$ for 980 but Given the card hasn't even been out a month it won't happen. Prices will stay where they are for a while on nvidia side.

October 6, 2014 | 04:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Sure wish I had some extra $$$, love these price drops!

October 6, 2014 | 04:25 PM - Posted by Rick (not verified)

2 x 290 or 1 x 980?

October 6, 2014 | 04:34 PM - Posted by nayyar_s

2 x 290 = 500w
980 = 165w

In long term Gtx 980.

October 6, 2014 | 04:38 PM - Posted by arbiter

that is goin by tdp, AMD has a history of under stating them. the 290 cards are closer to ~300watts per card in real world use. But you would more consider 2 x 970's instead of 1 x 980.

October 6, 2014 | 05:00 PM - Posted by nayyar_s

Yes i Would.

October 6, 2014 | 07:05 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For christ sakes TDP isn't power draw and you're being completely biased. Reports are already showing the GTX 970/980 can use more power than the cards they beat (780/780 Ti). Nvidia has some nifty clocking technology that makes it difficult to find the true power consumption unless its fully stressed.

Blind ones don't even pay any attention to the default 2x6 pin connectors on the 970/980. There is a reason the reference cards are loaded with 225W of power unlike the TDP of the 660/750/750 Ti which was much close in consumption given they only had a single 6 pin connector or zero for the 750/750 Ti.

Once those things are overclocked or using a manufacturer designed card (usually pre-OC'ed) the numbers on power change drastically.

October 6, 2014 | 08:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think Toms Hardwares explained it well.

Stress Test Power Consumption

If the load is held constant, then the lower power consumption measurements vanish immediately. There’s nothing for GPU Boost to adjust, since the highest possible voltage is needed continuously. Nvidia's stated TDP becomes a distant dream. In fact, if you compare the GeForce GTX 980’s power consumption to an overclocked GeForce GTX Titan Black, there really aren’t any differences between them. This is further evidence supporting our assertion that the new graphics card’s increased efficiency is largely attributable to better load adjustment and matching.

Ryan asked a viewer question in his 980/970 Maxwell interview with Tom Petersen about the inconsistency with the same work load with the reference and non-reference cards. Tom Petersen didn't want to comment on it and just said they are Gaming cards. Something fishy is going on there.

If I were to guess Nvidia wants to market refernce specs since there bios locked. While non-reference cards aren't and can suck up +100watts more doing the same non gaming work load.

October 6, 2014 | 09:47 PM - Posted by DerekR (not verified)

This really sounds like the best information to go by when purchasing and building a system around a GTX 970/980 card. It becomes even more necessary to look at reviews and power tests on a 970 or 980 before you buy one, because the power requirements could be all over the place. NVidia should be a little more transparent about this point if the power efficiency is what they are trumpeting.

I can see a scenario where a person wants to get a GTX 980 because they hear it's the best, and the person picks up a 3rd party card for a good deal, only find that they don't meet the power requirements. It rings true for many things, but the buyer really needs to research before they buy on this one.

October 14, 2014 | 09:54 PM - Posted by Masta (not verified)

Crossfire/Sli using lower end cards in the same series is always the better choice. Bang for buck always wins!

October 7, 2014 | 02:22 PM - Posted by remon (not verified)

Yes, AMD is the one understating the TDP, only.

October 7, 2014 | 04:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

To illustrate, let’s take a look at how Maxwell behaves in the space of just 1 ms. Its power consumption jumps up and down repeatedly within this time frame, hitting a minimum of 100 W and a maximum of 290 W. Even though the average power consumption is only 176 W, the GPU draws almost 300 W when it's necessary. Above that, the GPU slows down.

TDP is actually 290w.

Nvidia advertises GTX 980 TDP at 165w and even during gaming sessions its above that averaging 177w and spiking at 290w.

October 8, 2014 | 08:13 PM - Posted by remon (not verified)

I was being sarcastic.

October 7, 2014 | 06:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Neither. If you're going multi-card today, 970 SLI is by far the best bang for buck. 290CF ain't bad, though, especially for $599.

I still haven't seen any benchmarks comparing the "best of the best" of overclocked, aftermarket 290, 290X, 780, 780Ti, 970, and 980. Every review I've seen is "look at how much faster the 980/970 is vs these reference cards and old drivers, now look how well 980/970 can overclock..."

Anyone know a site that has done a overclocking showdown or something?

P.S. Some of us don't give a shizzle about power consumption.

October 6, 2014 | 07:38 PM - Posted by Ophelos

In the US the GTX980 might be only $150 more then a R9 290x, but here in Canada. The price difference is more then $200.

Also the GTX970 cost more then a 290x.

So making the R9 290x a much better deal then getting a GTX980 or even a 970.

October 7, 2014 | 06:41 AM - Posted by Topinio

It's not quite that bad in the UK, but the cheapest 980 is 160% the price of the cheapest 290X and double the price of the 290.

£430 GTX 980
£269 R9 290X
£252 GTX 970
£215 R9 290

CF 290X is the option for 4K and will outshine the 980 at only 125% of the price; for <4K gaming AMD are now very competitive on price with the 290 aimed for the ~£200 market segment; above that, the GTX 970 is in the sweet spot and clearly the better buy but the 290X is not so terribly far off the mark.

October 6, 2014 | 09:49 PM - Posted by DerekR (not verified)

I bought a Gigabyte Windforce R9-270X OC only a year ago, and now I see this... Tempted. Very tempted.

October 6, 2014 | 10:12 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Mokèlé-mbèmbé, Mokèlé-mbèmbé, Mokèlé-mbèmbé!

I've got enough damned Nesses!

October 7, 2014 | 06:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


Make room for 390X!

October 14, 2014 | 06:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

foolish someone getting a card just base on tdp... lol

by the time you are saving money with a lower power compsuntion card... there will be already generation card already out...

power usage... is not a concern to majority of customers, now if you dont have any gpu... you can take it into account just MAYBE...

i would get a R9 290X over a GTX980 any day.

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