AMD’s HD 7970 competition in the form of NVIDIA’s GTX 680 came last week and the new contender is faster (mostly) more efficient, quieter. Impressively, it does all this at $499 instead of the $549 premium commanded for the HD 7970, so eager would-be AMD buyers are anxiously waiting for a $50 minimum price cut: not going to happen any time soon.
Judging by industry sources, it appears that AMD are able to keep the price frustratingly high due to the fact that GTX 680 cards are still in short supply for now. On top of that, they’ve managed to significantly increase the supply of the Tahiti chips that form the heart of a HD 7970 to board partners, thus making their product highly available to those who want a high end graphics card right now. Also, if the HD 7970s price were cut, then that would force the prices of their cheaper cards to drop as well, which AMD aren’t keen to do, since they make more profit of the volume sales of those cards. There’s more detail at Hardware Canucks below and it’s well worth a read.
But has this strategy paid off? Through a few well placed sources in the retail chain we hear that backorder queues for the GTX 680 are filling up faster than AMD can sell HD 7900-series cards. At this rate it wouldn’t be surprising to see some retailers shift certain GTX 680 versions to “not available” status until the massive backlog clears. If that happens, AMD’s strategy may actually start paying dividends, especially considering the HD 7970, HD 7870 and HD 7850 are selling like gangbusters.