We abandoned our availability check after the holidays, since respectable numbers of both Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GT and AMD's Radeon HD 3870 had been consistently available for some time. We're bringing back the feature today not to take another look at availability, but to evaluate how pricing has changed for the cards.
When we reviewed AMD's Radeon HD 3870 graphics card, we said it was a good deal in light of the inflated prices plaguing GeForce 8800 GTs. Since then, 3870 prices have gone up and 8800 GT prices have gone down, bringing the two closer than ever. We wondered, though: have the cards really hit parity, and is the 3870 still a decent deal compared to the 8800 GT? To make sure, we had a look through our usual e-tailer listings and compiled availability and pricing information for both cards.
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. We searched each e-tailer for the GeForce 8800 GT 512MB and Radeon HD 3870 and cataloged the results. Available models are highlighted in green.
Here are our results for the 8800 GT:
|ASUS EN8800GT TOP/G/HTDP/512M||$279.99||N/A||$289.98||N/A|
|ASUS EN8800GT TOP/G/HTDP/512M/A||N/A||N/A||$299.98||N/A|
|BFG Tech BFGE88512GTOC2E||$294.99||$299.99||$319.99||$301.99|
|BFG Tech BFGE88512GTOCE||N/A||N/A||$279.99||$278.99|
|Leadtek PX8800GT 512MB||$269.99||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Leadtek PX8800 GT GTB||$289.99||$299.99||N/A||N/A|
|Average (available only)||$265.41||$272.85||$254.43||N/A|
|Global average (available only)||$264.23|
And those for the 3870:
|DIAMOND Viper 3870PE4512SB||$239.99||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|HIS Hightech H387F512N||N/A||N/A||$239.99||N/A|
|HIS Hightech H387F512NP||$249.99||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|HIS Hightech H387Q512NP||$279.99||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Average (available only)||$243.56||$256.24||$247.49||$239.98|
|Global average (available only)||$246.82|
Right off the bat, we can see two things. One, there sure are lots of different GeForce 8800 GT models—and those listed above don't even include variants with 256MB and 1GB of RAM. Two, there's a difference of only $17.41 on average between currently available 3870s and 8800 GTs. More interesting yet, we found several 8800 GTs listed for $224.99-229.99. The only 3870 we found that was cheaper than that was the $209.99 Gigabyte GV-RX387512H on Newegg.
In other words, AMD seems to have largely lost its pricing advantage over Nvidia in the mid-range arena. The 8800 GT is consistently faster than the 3870, and folks who can shop around a little will be able to nab one for about as much as a 3870.