When AMD unleashed its Radeon HD 4850 graphics card last month, Nvidia retaliated by pushing its GeForce 9800 GTX down to the same price point—$199. A quick look on Newegg shows most 4850s are available at around $189.99, and many of them come with mail-in rebates that can shrink their prices to as little as $159.99. How do the Nvidia cards compare? We checked availability and pricing at our usual online retailers to see.
Again, we limited our search to Newegg, TigerDirect, ZipZoomFly, and Buy.com in the United States, since these are the four computer hardware e-tailers with the most reviews on both our price search engine and ResellerRatings.com. We probed availability and pricing in the great Canadian north by looking at NCIX. Prices for NCIX listings are all in Canadian dollars, and we highlighted available models in green.
Let's first have a look at GeForce 9800 GTX models clocked at (or reasonably close to) the default 675MHz core and 1100MHz memory speeds:
|Price (U.S.)||Price (CA)|
|BFG Tech BFGE98512GTXE||N/A||$209.99||N/A||N/A||$252.99|
|PNY XLR8 VCG98GTXXPB||$199.99||$199.99||N/A||$276.99||$345.83|
|PNY XLR8 VCG98GTXXPB-FLB||$204.99||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Apparently, Nvidia hasn't quite caught up with AMD on the pricing front overall, even though the 4850 is more than competitive with the 9800 GTX in terms of real-world performance. Canadian shoppers are also getting the short end of the stick, with NCIX prices well above those at U.S. online retailers. For reference, NCIX has some Radeon HD 4850 models in stock for $199.99 CAD, so this difference isn't simply an artifact of typically higher Canadian prices.
The picture doesn't change much when we look at "factory overclocked" flavors of the 9800 GTX:
|Price (U.S.)||Price (CA)|
|BFG Tech BFGE98512GTXOC2E||$249.99||$239.99||N/A||$252.99||$265.99|
|BFG Tech BFGE98512GTXOCE||$209.99||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|BFG Tech BFGE98512GTXOCXE||$259.99||$259.99||N/A||N/A||$289.99|
|MSI N9800GTX-T2D512 OC||N/A||N/A||$315.99||$272.99||N/A|
|PNY XLR8 VCG98GTXXPB-OC||$209.99||N/A||N/A||$313.99||$355.21|
|PNY XLR8 VCG98GTXXPB-OC-FLB||$334.99||$354.99||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Among these models, U.S. pricing averages out to almost $288, and folks north of the border have to shell out $355.21 CAD for the only "overclocked" 9800 GTX in stock at NCIX.
We should note a few other things here. First, Newegg does sell a Zotac card with a 750MHz core and 1150MHz memory speed for just $199.99. On the flip side, some "overclocked-in-the-box" 9800 GTX variants seem to have gone up in price since we last looked. XFX's GeForce 9800 GTX XXX Edition was $239 with a $10 mail-in rebate at Newegg in late June, and it's now $10 pricier. That's well above the projected $229 price Nvidia claimed for 9800 GTX cards like this one that share the same clock speeds as the forthcoming GeForce 9800 GTX+. Considering that the Radeon HD 4850 is faster than even the higher-clocked versions of the 9800 GTX we've tested, this pricing picture leaves us scratching our heads a little.