AMD Takes Axe To Radeon Prices; Announces Game Bundle

We've been wondering how AMD would respond to Nvidia's new GTX 660 Ti and Team Red has given us our answer. AMD is slashing prices across the entire Radeon HD 7000 family. The HD 7950 should start showing up as low as $319 by the end of the week, compared to current prices in the $349-$369 range. The 7870 GHz edition is headed southwards as well, down to $249 from $299-$319 at present. The 7850, AMD's current $239-$259 card, is taking a price cut of nearly 20%, down to $209 for the 2GB flavor and $189 for the 1GB card.

That's not all. The GPU developer is also launching a marketing campaign around the recently released Sleeping Dogs, the open-world, unofficial True Crime sequel that Square-Enix picked up last year after Activision canceled it at the last minute. The game launched last week and early reviews have been favorable. AMD is obviously hoping to pick up a little traction after Nvidia announced that the 660 Ti would ship with copies of Borderlands 2, but both games look worthy of your gaming dollar -- at least so far. 

These price cuts, the recent BIOS update to the 7950, and the GHz Edition launches a few months ago are all designed to keep AMD competitive with Nvidia. They're great moves for consumers, but they also show how AMD was outmaneuvered this time around. GCN is a great architecture -- no doubt about it -- but Kepler's efficiency and smaller die are very tough to beat. With the 660 Ti targeting the $299 price point, AMD's decision to cut card prices one grade lower is a preemptive move aimed at encouraging upgrades from more mainstream segments. If you own a card from the HD 5770 family, the new 7850 is a great option at $209. The new prices for the 7870, meanwhile, put some distance between it and a competitor card that offers higher performance.

Our gut feeling is that these price cuts don't just put AMD in a competitive position, they tilt the price/performance field back towards Radeon at the sub-$249 mark. Whether or not that'll translate into increased sales in Q3/Q4 is an open question. Nvidia hasn't launched any cards at the highly competitive $199 price point yet -- if it fires back right before the Christmas shopping season, we could see another round of price cuts from Sunnyvale. With prices like this, there's no reason to wait; midrange GPU performance is going for firesale prices.