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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  • 3DVagabond - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    If he'd been mining that whole time he could have bought a new PC for free. :D Reply
  • inighthawki - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    In one sentence you summed up why, regardless of being from the US, you can still be dumb.

    Both of you, please reread his post and pay closer attention to the last 10 words or so.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    Yes but the *sarcasm ahead* moron forgot to consider for inflation and return on investment. sheesh. what does a frame per second equal out in USD these days? Reply
  • Teizo - Saturday, February 15, 2014 - link

    Watch out, we got us a bad $%^ over here! Reply
  • chrnochime - Monday, February 17, 2014 - link

    In one sentence you have joined him as one of the countless people who fail at reading comprehension. Bravo sir. What a joke LOL.
    BTW great of you to be so specific yet vague enough with that "most of OECD". Can't be more specific about WHICH countries are failing? Scared of raising the ire of citizens of those countries? Haha
    Reply
  • SodaAnt - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    Correct, but that wasn't my point. My point was that I paid $70 to upgrade my GPU. I consider the 7970 purchase to already be paid for, and I was already looking to do a GPU upgrade, so I did not factor the $220 into my calculation.

    Even a few months ago, the difference would have easily been $200 or more for the same upgrade, so I was commenting that it was an excellent deal for me.
    Reply
  • khory - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    I think they knew that but just wanted to play semantics with the way you phrased it so they can make snide comments. Reply
  • sajara - Saturday, February 15, 2014 - link

    and in the end I thank you all for some very entertaining five minutes... Reply
  • Teizo - Saturday, February 15, 2014 - link

    No, he paid $440 for the 780. Just he only had to pay an extra $70 out of pocket since he profited $150 on his used 7970. Nice try. Reply
  • Makaveli - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    that was a great upgrade SodaAnt.

    i've been thinking about it myself as I have a 7970 Boost Edition basically Ghz card that I paid $400 for in june. I can sell it now for a profit but it only works if you go NV with the new card and since I prefer AMD kinda no point for me.
    Reply

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