ATI drops 4850 and 4870 prices

Pick up that crossfire card cheap

ONE OF THE rumors floating around Taipei was about an imminent price drop for ATI 48xx series cards. Less than a week later, the prices dropped by $10.

Official list prices are one thing, but card makers tend to differentiate, sell cheaper than list, and make more upmarket parts. Because of this, prices vary a lot, and MSRPs are almost a mythical number. OC cards, passive coolers, and added shiny bits are all brought to bear in order to appeal to a niche and drive up prices.

Because of that, the listed MSRPs are only a rough guideline, but when the underlying chips get cheaper, everything shifts down. The roughly $10 drop will be seen on almost all card variants in very short order.

Official MSRPs now are “as low as” $159 for the 4870/1G, $109 for the 4850/512M, and $119 for the 4850/1G. We also heard that the 4890 was going to take a $10 drop, but that has yet to materialize. It may or may not happen at this point.

In any case, the reason for the blowout is simple, the 5-series parts are due in a few months, and at that point, anything with a leading 4 devalues by much more than $10. If you really want to move a warehouse full of chips, come up with a low end part based on the same R770 chip, like the 4830.

That will up volumes by a lot and clear inventory quick.

In the end, what you are seeing is a little nudge to the market in a slow time to clear the decks before the next generation. If you are a consumer, now is a good time to buy that second card for a crossfire rig, at $119, those 4850/1G parts are looking very good.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate