Availability check: AMD's Radeon HD 4850

AMD unleashed its Radeon HD 4850 graphics processor a little earlier than expected yesterday, and while cards took some time to hit U.S. online retailers, they seem to have finally gotten there late last night. We decided to use our trusty availability check method to get a feel for the cards' prevalence and pricing.

As always with these availability checks, we limited our search to Newegg, TigerDirect, ZipZoomFly, and Buy.com. These are the four computer hardware e-tailers with the most reviews on both our price search engine and ResellerRatings.com, so they should be a good indication of general availability. We highlighted available models in green.

Model Newegg TigerDirect ZipZoomFlyly Buy.com
ASUS EAH4850/HTDI/512M $199.99 N/A $199.99 N/A
DIAMOND 4850PE3512 $199.99 N/A N/A N/A
GIGABYTE GV-R485-512H-B $199.99 N/A N/A N/A
HIS Hightech H485F512P $199.99 N/A N/A N/A
MSI R4850-T2D512 $199.99 N/A N/A N/A
POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-H $199.99 N/A N/A N/A
SAPPHIRE 100242L $199.99 N/A N/A N/A
VisionTek 900241 $199.99 $199.99 N/A $216.51
Average $199.99 $199.99 $199.99 $216.51
Overall average $204.12

Newegg seems to have the lion's share of Radeon HD 4850 models in stock, and it prices them all at the AMD-suggested $199.99. We spotted a few exceptions, however: Newegg offers a $30 mail-in rebate with the Asus model, $25 mail-in rebates with the MSI and PowerColor cards, and a $20 mail-in rebate with the Sapphire offering. We don't usually like mail-in rebates, but with all of these cards being essentially equal otherwise, you probably don't have much to lose.

On the other side of the fence, Nvidia has cut the price of its GeForce 9800 GTX to $199.99 in order to contain the AMD offensive. We looked around to verify this, but our online retailers only have the following 9800 GTX models in stock at $199.99 right now:

The XFX model looks the most interesting, since it runs with a 700MHz core speed instead of 675MHz. Still, the Radeon HD 4850 seems like a better deal overall considering how well it performs.

Update 11:17 AM: ZipZoomFly lists the Asus Radeon HD 4850 as being in stock again, and it offers the same $30 mail-in rebate as Newegg.

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