Maybe it's next-gen DirectX 11 GPUs on the horizon, or maybe AMD just wants to catch the back-to-school shopping rush early. Either way, the firm has just dropped us a line to say its partners are "offering fantastic deals on ATI Radeon HD 48XX class GPUS." Translation: price cuts.
A quick Newegg search shows a stock-clocked XFX Radeon HD 4870 1GB (with a double-lifetime warranty) selling for $149.99 with free shipping. A "factory overclocked" version of the same GPU from PowerColor is available for only $5 more. Google's June 8 cache of the XFX card listing shows a $189.99 asking price, so that's a significant price cut.
Down the 4800 line, you can get an HIS Radeon HD 4850 512MB for $99.99 shipped. Newegg even offers a 10%-off promo code and a $10 mail-in rebate, so some folks may be able to walk away with that card for a mere 80 bucks. Other options: an XFX card for $105, and an MSI flavor with higher-than-normal clocks for $110.
These little pricing tweaks give AMD a likely temporary but still noteworthy advantage over Nvidia. The cheapest GeForce GTX 260 at Newegg right now will set you back $165 including shipping, and the cheapest GeForce GTS 250 is $110 with no rebates or coupons.