AMD and Nvidia announced their latest $250 graphics processors two weeks ago today. We already know how the Radeon HD 4890 and GeForce GTX 275 perform, but that doesn't tell us much about how they're populating online retail shelves—or how much they cost out in the real world.
We reckon this little grace period should have given our contestants time to warm up, so we've searched through popular U.S. and Canadian e-tail sites in an attempt to answer those two questions. As usual with our availability checks, we limited our search to Newegg, TigerDirect, ZipZoomFly, and Buy.com in the United States, because those 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 north of the border by looking at NCIX.
We've cataloged all the listed cards we found below, with available models highlighted in green and "factory overclocked" cards marked with an asterisk (*). All prices are in U.S. dollars except for NCIX's, which are in Canadian dollars. Also, we didn't factor mail-in rebates into our prices—but more on that in a minute.
Here's how Nvidia's GeForce GTX 275 is doing:
|Price (U.S.)||Price (CA)|
|BFG Tech BFGEGTX275896OCE *||$259.99||$249.99||$249.99||-||$349.99|
|EVGA 896-P3-1171-AR *||$269.99||-||$259.99||-||$319.99|
|EVGA 896-P3-1173-AR *||$294.99||-||-||-||$379.99|
|MSI N275GTX Twin Frozr||-||-||$249.99||-||$319.99|
|XFX GX275XADQC *||$269.99||-||-||-||$329.99|
And now, the Radeon HD 4890:
|Price (U.S.)||Price (CA)|
|ASUS EAH4890 TOP/HTDI/1GD5 *||$269.99||-||$299.00||-||$385.33|
|BIOSTAR VA4893NDG2 HDMI||$249.99||-||-||-||-|
|HIS Hightech H489F1GP||$249.99||$249.99||$248.99||-||$304.99|
|HIS Hightech H489FT1GP *||$249.99||$309.99||$259.99||-||$389.99|
|MSI R4890-T2D1G OC *||$249.99||-||$225.99||-||$309.99|
|POWERCOLOR AX4890 1GBD5-HM||$249.99||-||-||-||$294.99|
|POWERCOLOR AX4890 1GBD5-UH *||$264.99||-||-||-||$334.99|
|SAPPHIRE 100269OCSR *||$264.99||-||-||-||-|
|XFX HD-489A-ZDEC *||$264.99||$264.99||$269.99||$262.49||$299.99|
Several things are pretty clear: the Radeons are more numerous, more widely available, and slightly cheaper on average than their competitors—especially in Canada. We're somewhat obscuring the full extent of AMD's price advantage, however, because most of these 4890s also come with $20 mail-in rebates. We don't trust or particularly like MIRs, but assuming you do get that check in the mail one day, you could take home a Radeon HD 4890 for as little as $206 in the U.S. and $280 CAD in Canada. That's far cheaper than any GTX 275.
To Nvidia's credit, we saw the GeForce GTX 275 was neck-and-neck with a "factory-overclocked" version of the Radeon HD 4890, so the vanilla 4890s are probably a little slower. That said, it looks like 4890s with higher-than-normal speeds don't carry such a huge premium—and in some cases, they're the same price as the regular versions (like the MSI R4890-T2D1G OC in the States and the XFX HD-489A-ZDEC in Canada).