Though we keep track of video card pricing regularly on an internal basis, it’s not something we normally publish outside of our semi-regular buyer’s guides. More often than not video card pricing is slow to move (if it moves at all), as big price shifts come in concert with either scheduled price cuts or new product introductions. But in a process that has defied our expectations for more than a month now, even we can’t fail to notice what Radeon prices are quite literally up to.

In a sign of the daffy times we live in, Radeon R9 290X prices have hit $900 this week at Newegg. Every card, from the reference models to the water block model, is now at $899, with Newegg apparently doing brisk enough business to be sold out of more than half of their different 290X SKUs. This of course is some $350 over the 290X’s original launch price of $550, a 64% price bump. Meanwhile the Radeon R9 290 has been similarly affected, with 290 cards starting at $600, $200 (50%) over MSRP.

The culprit, as has been the case since the start, continues to be the strong demand for the cards from cryptocoin miners, who are willing to pay a premium for the cards in anticipation of still being able to turn a profit off of them in the long run. Interestingly this also comes right as Chinese New Year comes to a close. Chinese New Year doesn’t typically affect video card prices for cards that are already released and on shelves, but the lack of production for the roughly 2 week span certainly isn’t doing the 290X market any favors given the strong demand for the cards. In the meantime however this does mean that 290X cards are unfortunately priced out of the hands of gamers more than ever before; at $900, we’d be just $10 short of a GTX 780 Ti and a Core i5-4670K to go with it.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that this phenomena remains almost entirely limited to North America. Our own Ian Cutress quickly checked a couple of UK retailers, Scan.co.uk and Overclockers.co.uk, and found that both of them had 290 series cards in stock at pre-VAT prices that were only marginally above the North American MSRPs. A PowerColor R9 290 OC can be found for £275 (~$460 USD) and an XFX R9 290X for £334 (~$560 USD). The European market of course has its own idiosyncrasies, but ultimately it’s clear that UK pricing has gone largely unaffected by the forces that have driven up North American pricing, making this one of those rare occasions where hardware is more expensive in North America than in Europe, even after taxes.

Radeon R9 290 Series Prices
  North America UK (excluding VAT)
Radeon R9 290X $899 £334 (~$560 USD)
Radeon R9 290 $599 £275 (~$460 USD)

Update (11:30 PM): It’s interesting just how greatly things can shift in only half a day. This morning 290X prices were $899 with Newegg having 5 models in stock. But as of late this evening prices have dropped rather quickly by $200, bringing them down to $699 (just $150 over MSRP). All the while however, Newegg’s selection has dwindled to just two models, showcasing just how high the demand for these cards is and how quickly buyers will snatch them up even when they’re still well over MSRP.

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  • dr.mahmoodloveyou - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    When I bought my retail Sapphire R9 290 for 399 from Amazon my brothers were critical ,as the reviews were mostly negative due to the noise and heat ,but at that time my logic was that if I want to refine this card I can simply do so with NZXT Kraken G30 + a cheap closed loop water cooling and I would still pay less than a GTX 780 (which was selling for roughly 520 $ at that time) ,when modified cards started to roll out I felt abit bitter ,as those were of a much better heat/noise levels .
    Now I feel reallly happy for my decision ,as the cheapeast non retail 290 sells for over 600 atm!!!
    Reply
  • apoe - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    Imagine if all that 24/7 mining power was used on something useful rather than junk data with no intrinsic value. Reply
  • kwrzesien - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - link

    nVidia prices are going up now (2/19)! The EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked ACX 2 GB has gone from $345 to $375, with Amazon Prime now a 2 week delay. $379 on Newegg with shipping.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • RNOblivion - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - link

    Had to shell out $750 for a second 290X a couple weeks ago, after purchasing the first on launch week for $550. Four days after that, they hit $900. Most of my PhD research is centered around computational electrodynamics, which are fantastically suited for OpenCL. I'm under a major deadline and had no option other than to order the card. I'm glad something as frivolous as a cryptocurrency has the capacity to impede science, and of course gaming -_- Reply

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