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AMD Partners Debate Radeon HD 4870 Price

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 27 comments

Although ATI reduced the price of its Radeon HD 4870 last week to better compete with Nvidia's GTS 250 rebranding, apparently ATI's partners don't think the price reduction is such a good idea.

Last week we reported that AMD planned to slash the pricing of its Radeon D 4800 series. The initial hacking would begin with the Radeon HD 4870 512 MB cards, taking a $50 hit in price reduction, thus now costing consumers $149 USD. Additionally, the Radeon HD 4850 512 MB would also take a cut in price, with a new discounted tag of $129 USD and offering consumers great performance for little money. However, the reduced prices wouldn't come in the form of an immediate discount, but rather through mail-in rebates.

But according to DailyTech, many AMD partners took to the new 4850 pricing but ultimately rejected the new 4870 pricing. Why? Because they feel that the 4870 outperforms Nvidia's equally priced GTX 260 and should directly compete with the card rather than the GTS 250. On a technical level, AMD's Radeon HD 4870 offers better hardware including 800 stream processors, a core clocking at 750 MHz, a memory clock of 900 MHz using GDDR5, and a 256-bit memory bus. Nvidia's GTX 260, on the other hand, offers 216 stream processors, a core clock of 576 MHz, a memory clock of 999 MHz and a 448-bit memory bus.

With that said, AMD partners insist that the 1 GB version of ATI's Radeon HD 4850 compete against the 1 GB version of Nvidia's GTS 250 at the $149 price point. "The AMD lineup is very strong, and we feel the 4850 should go against the GTS 250 and the 4870 against the GTX 260," an unnamed Taiwanese source told DailyTech.

So what should be the set price for AMD's Radeon HD 4870? Currently ATI partners have not revealed a suggested price point, and thus far, AMD is still sticking by its original reduced price of $149 after the mail-in rebate. Perhaps ATI will lower the 4850 price tag even more, giving Nvidia's GTS 250 as run for its money.

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  • 0 Hide
    roorunner , March 12, 2009 4:58 PM
    with the way the economy is going worldwide, this is a good idea to generate (i.e. separate us from our hard earned cash)money besides offering competition. Hopefully the cards will go down even more.
  • 0 Hide
    raider37 , March 12, 2009 4:59 PM
    If AMD wants to provide more value to its customers, they should do that! The 4870 is one hell of a card, and people who actually bother buying the GTX260 for more money are wasting it. The best option would be to pick up a 4870 now and then crossfire it as soon as money is available. Crossfire scales way better than SLI anyway. Go AMD! Nvidia, step up ure game and stop re-branding old inventory to make money.

    I'm also quite shocked at how useless Nvidia Physx is, just seeing the amount (or lack thereof), of effects in Mirror's edge with Physx enabled, leads me to believe that having one platform for graphics and physics processing (while excellent) doesnt make sense with today's hardware. Games are becoming more graphically intensive, the GPU doesnt need anymore tasks to handle than it already has. A couple of graphics cloth pieces here, a few flags there and thats it?? I bet havock physics could do that without causing performance problems, like Physx does.
  • -2 Hide
    etrnl_frost , March 12, 2009 4:59 PM
    Despite the written differences posted above in the clock speeds, processors, etc. the 4870 really does seem more of a match to the 260. While the 4870's core clock seems to perform better, in real world texture and pixel output, the GTX 260 (55nm) is significantly better. As long as you're not burdening the nVidia card with PhysX at the same time, I would say that it would be better than the 4870.

    That being said, seeing that the 4850 competed with the venerable 8800 GTX, what's the problem with ATI's lineup matching so?
  • 5 Hide
    cerulean , March 12, 2009 5:09 PM
    This is precisely why we need AMD to pull through in their battle with Intel. (No fanboyism implied)
  • -2 Hide
    68vistacruiser , March 12, 2009 5:25 PM
    So ATI's partners are into price fixing?
  • -6 Hide
    scrumhalf , March 12, 2009 5:34 PM
    raider37...Crossfire scales way better than SLI anyway....

    Where'd you come up with that? In the majority of benchmarks, 2xGTX260s in SLI top 2 4870's (1GB) in CF as seen here. It varies game to game, resolution, options, etc., and 4870 in CF does top the GTX260 SLI in a few, but certainly does not outright win, nor can you deem it to 'scale better'. You can prefer which ever company you choose, but keep opinions out of objective statements, or back them up with hard data.

    As far as PhysX, it's a tossup, it has the ability to do some pretty impressive things, and so does Havok. My personal opinion is that a Physics standard API should be agreed upon and incorporated into DirectX (which has been rumored before). This will level the playing field there, and ensure widespread adoption by developers.

    In regard to CUDA vs. Stream, I don't know of many Stream apps. Video encoding benefits from Badaboom were the biggest draw to CUDA for me. Until Stream has competition there, it's just not as useful.
  • 1 Hide
    NuclearShadow , March 12, 2009 5:41 PM
    I can understand why they are hesitant to price cuts and the very thought of losing any amount of profits if frightening in these times. However a price cut to the 4870 could increase the sales and make up for the loss of profits. Also if this could take some sales away from Nvidia then even better for them. I'm sure I'm not alone when it comes to buying what gives me the best bang for the buck.
  • -7 Hide
    FUtomNOreg , March 12, 2009 6:26 PM
    I HATE having to use up all my ammo just to take down the laundry.
  • -2 Hide
    hellwig , March 12, 2009 6:29 PM
    68vistacruiserSo ATI's partners are into price fixing?

    Sounds like it to me. I know MSRP is a tool used by manufacturers to keep resale prices up, but rarely does a distributer charge even more (exceptions being convenience stores, airports, etc... where you have no other options).
  • 9 Hide
    gm0n3y , March 12, 2009 6:43 PM
    Pricing the 4850 and 4870 within $20 seems like a mistake to me. The 4850 price is fine, but the 4870 should be closer to $169. Regardless, I loathe MIRs so I don't consider this a real price drop anyways. I'm still waiting for my MIR cheque from my 4850 purchase last November.
  • -2 Hide
    ravenware , March 12, 2009 6:53 PM
    etrnl_frostWhile the 4870's core clock seems to perform better, in real world texture and pixel output, the GTX 260 (55nm) is significantly better. As long as you're not burdening the nVidia card with PhysX at the same time, I would say that it would be better than the 4870.That being said, seeing that the 4850 competed with the venerable 8800 GTX, what's the problem with ATI's lineup matching so?


    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-4870,1964-19.html

  • -2 Hide
    etrnl_frost , March 12, 2009 7:14 PM
    ravenwarehttp://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] 64-19.html

    The difference doesn't appear significant (hard to say since I'm at work and not going to do a math crack down - and I'm too lazy too), but it's not far off my mark. My point is that the 4870 is perfectly in line with competing with the GTX260. And according to system benchmarks, the GTX 260 (55nm) outputs about 25% faster pixel fill rate and 33% faster texture fill rate to the 4870, given stock speeds...
    http://www.gpureview.com/show_cards.php?card1=604&card2=564[/citiation]... yes, the Radeon trumps the GeForce in core clock competency and memory bandwidth, but even a pretend overclock in the GTX260 can mitigate the bandwidth. The sheer power of the core on the 4870 is why I mentioned Physics. Higher end processing would be in the Radeon's favor, but for sheer pixel/texture output, it's the GTX's game.

    Of course, it all comes to a wash anyway. Personally, i.e. in my opinion, I seriously believe the GTX 260 (55nm) will do better with continued driver support. Like I said: What's the problem with ATI's lineup matching so?

    But now I'm curious to see a review of the GTX 260 performance vs the 4870 given current drivers.
  • 1 Hide
    scrumhalf , March 12, 2009 7:15 PM
    ravenwarehttp://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] 64-19.html

    That article is almost a year old, and does not take into account recent driver improvements (for both cards), not to mention it's comparing the 512 MB 4870 to the 65nm GTX 260 192 Core. Want to compare these apples to tire irons?
  • 0 Hide
    etrnl_frost , March 12, 2009 7:16 PM
    My apologies. That was poor board code.

    There's the link again, this time working. No edit that I could see - but I don't post too often here.
  • 0 Hide
    IzzyCraft , March 12, 2009 8:31 PM
    68vistacruiserSo ATI's partners are into price fixing?

    Isn't every computer company down with that.
  • 0 Hide
    Maxor127 , March 12, 2009 8:33 PM
    I'd probably get a 4870 if I had something to do with my old 8800 GTS. But since my GTS still runs fine and I can play most games on completely high settings, and I'd probably need a new higher resolution monitor to justify having a 4870, I'm going to pass until I decide to rebuild a new computer.
  • 0 Hide
    ravenware , March 12, 2009 9:12 PM
    etrnl_frostMy point is that the 4870 is perfectly in line with competing with the GTX260 drivers.


    Agreed, and their going to trade blows quite a bit. Looks like nvidia did some price slashing of their own. The 260s were generally 30-100 dollars more than the 4870s, now their about the same price.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=40000048%201369844342&Description=gtx260&bop=And&Order=PRICE
  • -2 Hide
    rooket , March 12, 2009 11:14 PM
    I'd be in for an nvidia 295 if it was $150 :)  no ATI for me.
  • -1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , March 13, 2009 12:20 AM
    Ew dual card im waiting for 200 buck 285 then ill get rid of my old 8800gts 640
  • 1 Hide
    scarpa , March 13, 2009 7:32 AM
    AMD/ATI are simply destroying Nvidia with these prices, HD4870 is much better than the gtx260, it should cost a lot more than that.

    Anyone buying a card from Nvidia now must be very uninformed about the performance of those cards.
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