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The competitive landscape
Speaking of the competition, we should probably map out the landscape before we move on. Heck, we've gotten email reminders from both AMD and Nvidia during the past few days to help us sort out the situation. Both firms gave us current expected pricing on their product lineups, so we can share that with you. We also dug up the best available prices on Newegg as of late last week.

We've had to add another column to the table below in order to deal with some bizarre behavior by Nvidia, its partners, and online retailers. You can't just pull up a listing on Newegg and check out the prices of GeForce cards. Instead, you must "click to see price in cart." Once you've done so, you'll see both the price you'll pay for that individual product and a potential net price based on a mail-in rebate offer. I hate mail-in rebates; it's a shady practice that depends on many customers not getting paid. Nvidia has apparently gone all in on the rebate thing, though. You can barely buy a GeForce at its purported list price without going that route, so we've added a column to show the net price after rebate.

Pixel
fill rate
(Gpixels/s)
Filtering
rate
(Gtexels/s)
Memory
bandwidth
(GB/s)
Mfr's
expected
list price
Street
price
Net
after
MIR
GeForce GTX 460 768MB 16.2 37.8 86.4 $199 - -
GeForce GTX 460 1GB 21.6 37.8 115.2 $229 - -
GeForce GTX 465 19.4 26.7 102.6 $249 $279 $249
GeForce GTX 470 24.3 34.0 133.9 $329 $349 $329
GeForce GTX 480 33.6 42.0 177.4 $499 $499 $459
Radeon HD 5770 13.6 34.0 76.8 $149 $149 -
Radeon HD 5830 12.8 44.8 128.0 $199 $199 -
Radeon HD 5850 23.2 52.2 128.0 $299 $289 -
Radeon HD 5870 27.2 68.0 153.6 $399 $389 -
Radeon HD 5870 2GB 27.2 68.0 153.6 $499 $499 -

We can make a few observations based on these prices and specs.


Zotac's GeForce GTX 465

The GeForce GTX 465 was introduced just over a month ago—heck, this is our first test of the thing—but it has little reason to exist now that the GTX 460 is here. Nvidia tells us it has cut the price on the GTX 465 to $249 so the two products can coexist, but I think that's marketing code for, "We're clearing out our remaining inventory."


XFX's Radeon HD 5830

We weren't especially taken with the Radeon HD 5830 when it debuted at between $240 and $269. Now that it's solidly down to $199, though, it's not such a raw deal anymore. Might even be a decent one! Obviously, the 5830 is the closest competition for the GTX 460, priced exactly opposite the 768MB variant.

Other competitors worth watching include the Radeon HD 5770, which packs an awful lot of bang for the buck at $149, and the Radeon HD 5850 at $289. If the GPU market becomes cutthroat competitive again, I could see AMD lowering prices on the 5850 to match the GTX 460. Eventually. Maybe.

Beyond that, AMD and Nvidia had several things to say about EyeX and Physfinity and... eh, I forget. Truth is, there are reasons to choose one brand of GPU over another, but both have their merits. For all of their complexity and variance, today's GPUs really are made to do essentially the same things. I'm not saying one should buy a video card based solely on price and performance. There's sticker color to be considered, after all. But the DX11 offerings from both major players are awfully similar these days in terms of graphics feature sets and image quality.