Holiday shoppers may just end up being the winners in the GPU war to end 2013. It seems an endless amount of special bundles and price cuts are in store for the savvy online shopper.
With ATI recently launching the R7 & R9 range of cards Nvidia has found itself in a delicate position with some budget gamers. Ati has managed to capture the very important $200 price range. The Radeon R9 270x is solidly in that $200 bracket with the cheapest of the bunch coming in right at that $199 target. For gamers wanting a latest generation Nvidia card at a comparable level of performance they would need to spring for the GTX 760 at a price range of around $250 currently.
|Fall 2013 GPU Pricing Comparison|
|$700||GeForce GTX 780 Ti (Nov. 7th)|
|Radeon R9 290X||$550|
|$500||GeForce GTX 780|
|$330||GeForce GTX 770|
|Radeon R9 280X||$300|
|$250||GeForce GTX 760|
|Radeon R9 270X||$200|
|$180||GeForce GTX 660|
|$150||GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost|
|Radeon R7 260X||$140|
Nvidia’s saving grace may be their generous holiday bundle package which includes Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag with the GTX 760. Gamers that purchase the 770 or above are also awarded one of the holidays hottest games, Batman Arkham Origins.
|NVIDIA Holiday Game Bundles|
|Video Card||Bundle||Shield Discount|
|GeForce GTX 770/780/Titan||Assassin’s Creed IV, Batman: Arkham Origins, Splinter Cell: Blacklist||$100|
|GeForce GTX 660/660Ti/670/680/760||Assassin’s Creed IV, Splinter Cell: Blacklist||$50|
|GeForce GTX 650 Series||$75 Free-To-Play (Continuing)||None|
|GeForce GT 640 (& Below)||None||None|
The wildcard here is the looming promise of increased hardware level performance that the Mantle API is being purported to deliver. While the R9 270x delivers a slightly lower performance number than the 760 in theory it could be higher if Mantle delivers.
Finally, and in my editorial opinion the most important factor in this buying decision comes in the form of what you’re currently using now in your desktop. Budget gamers in the $200 price range can sneak an even higher level of performance out of their upgrade to a 760 by continuing to use their previous generation Nvidia card as a secondary Physx GPU. Any Geforce 8000 series or higher GPU is capable of functioning as a dedicated Physx GPU that works in tandem with any new Nvidia card. By offloading these processing resources to a second graphics card you get increased performance and fancier graphics at no cost. ATI owners are still out of luck in this regard. So if you make the move to Nvidia this generation feel free to throw out your current ATI card, keep it as a backup incase you have to RMA, or sell it to a sweaty guy on craigslist.