The 5870 is quickly losing value on ebay, much faster than I expected. It's similar to what happened to the 8800GTX after 8800GT was released. NV thought that releasing 8800GT at $300 would let 8800GTX stay at $500, but nope.. the GTX quickly dropped to $330 in about 2 months, with the GT dropping to about $220. The 3870, although released at well over $200, still went down to $180. Of course, both AMD and NV don't want to let this happen again, but competition is inevitable especially with the upcoming Cayman cards. Once the 5870 is phased out, it cannot be above the 6870's retail price on Ebay and trade forums, which is going to be somewhere below $200 in no time. Exactly one year ago, I remember hunting around for GTX 285 to replace my 8800GTX, but with it phased out, and with the delay of Fermi cards, it was going for higher than retail at $275-300 (during the summer it was retailing for as low as $230). The 285 carried a $100 price premium over the 275/280 due to it being the top offering, but quickly became obsolete with new DX11 cards from NV. Used 285's actually sold for more than the faster 5850 that supported DX11. Now, the 285, in Fermi's shadow, sells for half as much, hardly any more than an 8800 Ultra on ebay today. Yeah, it's obsolete to me too, due to the lack of DX11.
The 6950 is going to be a tricky card that determines the pricing structure for the rest of mid-range and high-end cards out there. If it could be found for $250 on Newegg, the 6870 will be pushed all the way down to $180, from $240--after NV lets the 460 1GB drop a bit to $160-ish so that it stands out in the shadow of new GTX 560 cards. But I'm sure that the 6950 will stay ahead of the new 560 by quite a healthy margin, so it'd be no lower than $299. Will the 6950 come ahead of GTX 480/570? Will the competition drive prices down like the 3870 vs 8800GT/GTX round?
I'm guessing that the 6950 will lose out to the 570 by a small margin, but keep in mind that the 570 might be a couple percentage points faster than the 480 due to improved FP16 filtering throughput and more robust Z-culling optimization. So, will the 6950 still be faster than the then-discontinued 480?
Already, GTX 480'es are selling for an average of scantily $290-300 on ebay (a MASSIVE drop from $380 right before the 580 came out). This is very bad news for both AMD and NV. If the 480 drops down further to $240, AMD will have a hard time selling the 6950 for any more than $260 unless it's noticeably
faster without any driver cheats that have already been brought to the public's attention, courtesy of NV and hardcore review sites (harder than [H], heh..). IMHO, the 570 is already doomed to a sub-$300 average selling price. Once again, just how fast will AMD make the castrated 6950?
Does AMD have anything to directly encounter the GTX 560 that is sure to beat Barts XT 6870, rather than let it rake in all the $200-250 sweet spot sales? The 6950 would have to be at least 15% faster to make it worth the $40-50 premium in the $260-280 range. A surprise Barts "XTX" 6890, with 1280 shaders and 64 TMU's, perhaps??? NV is probably trying very hard to find out for sure if AMD is gonna do this or not. For a clearer picture, my guesses (for Feb-March 2011) would be this:
___Tier A Super High-End --(Plays Crysis 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- $699 Radeon HD 6990 4GB (DX11) 250 Voodoopower -NEW
- $629 Radeon HD 6990 2GB (DX11) 240 Voodoopower -NEW
Tier B Upper High-End --(Plays like a beast)
- $500* Radeon Ares HD 5870X2 4GB (DX11) 192 Voodoopower
- $439 Radeon HD 6970 2GB (DX11) 183 Voodoopower -NEW
- $489 Geforce GTX 580 3GB (DX11) 182 Voodoopower -NEW
- $439 Geforce GTX 580 1536MB (DX11) 180 Voodoopower
- $400* Radeon HD 5970 4GB (DX11) 174 Voodoopower
- $360* Radeon HD 5970 2GB (DX11) 169 Voodoopower
Tier C Mid High-End --(Plays most games at maxed-out settings @ 2560x1600 w/ 4x AA)
- $289 Radeon HD 6950 2GB (DX11) 158 Voodoopower -NEW
- $299 Geforce GTX 570 1536MB (DX11) 157 Voodoopower -NEW
- $249 Radeon HD 6950 1GB (DX11) 154 Voodoopower -NEW
- $240* Geforce GTX 480 1536MB (DX11) 154 Voodoopower
Tier D Lower High-End --(Plays most games at maxed-out settings @ 2560x1600)
- $200* Radeon HD 5870 2GB (DX11) 135 Voodoopower
- $180* Radeon HD 5870 1GB (DX11) 132 Voodoopower
- $239 Geforce GTX 560 2GB (DX11) 129 Voodoopower - NEW
- $190* Geforce GTX 295 1792MB (DX10) 129 Voodoopower
- $219 Geforce GTX 560 1GB (DX11) 126 Voodoopower - NEW
- $160* Geforce GTX 470 1280MB (DX11) 122 Voodoopower
- $199 Radeon HD 6870 1GB (DX11) 121 Voodoopower
Tier E Upper Mid-Range --(Plays most games at nearly maxed-out settings @ 2560x1600)
- $140* Radeon HD 4870X2 2GB (DX10.1) 116 Voodoopower
- $140* Radeon HD 5850 1GB (DX11) 112 Voodoopower
- $149 Radeon HD 6850 1GB (DX11) 108 Voodoopower
- $159 Geforce GTX 460 2GB (DX11) 107 Voodoopower
* means discontinued, so the prices are for average re-sales
See how the majority of older cards dropped down a notch, to a lower class? Groovy, eh?
Let's see how accurate (or inaccurate) my predictions would be!!!