Here is the third installment of our weekly availability check feature. We introduced this feature three weeks ago to keep track of the availability of the two newcomers in the $200-300 price range: AMD's Radeon HD 3870 and Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GT. Both cards have been out for some time now, but high demand makes them difficult to find. The tight supply causes prices to increase well beyond the two cards' respective $219 and $199-249 launch prices, too. The situation has improved over time, but we find it helpful to have a look every now and then to see how the situation has progressed.
As always, we couldn't check every possible retailer, so we restricted ourselves to the four computer hardware-oriented e-tailers with the most reviews on both our price search engine and ResellerRatings.com: Newegg, TigerDirect, ZipZoomFly, and Buy.com. These should be the largest, and they should do a good job of representing general availability and pricing. To get our data, we made a search on each e-tailer for "GeForce 8800 GT" and "Radeon HD 3870" and cataloged the results. Available models are highlighted in green.
Let's start with the GeForce 8800 GT:
|BFG Tech BFGE88512GTOC2E||N/A||$339.99||$309.99||$311.99|
|BFG Tech BFGE88512GTOCE||$289.99||N/A||$299.99||$287.99|
Prices have dropped $10 on average since last week. Newegg offers the cheapest cards overall with an average price of $286.63, down from $297.49 last week. Availability-wise, however, we saw fewer models in stock this week than last time: 15 in total, compared to 18 on December 6. The cheapest card is the XFX PVT88PYDQ4 on Newegg, which costs $269.99.
Let's now look at the Radeon HD 3870:
|HIS Hightech H387F512N||N/A||N/A||$279.99||N/A|
|HIS Hightech H387F512NP||$249.99||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Here, prices have actually increased slightly, although the increase is only 17 cents on average. Buy.com has the cheapest cards, but none of them are actually available. Newegg has the cheapest available cards: the HIS H387F512NP, PowerColor AX3870, and Sapphire 100215L, which are all $249.99.