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, and, 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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  • Krysto - Sunday, February 16, 2014 - link

    If this continues, Nvidia cards will definitely be the ones to get for gaming in the future. I hope this ends up making some nice profits for AMD to get themselves out of the hole they're in, but if I were them I'd be very careful with this "strategy", because they might end up losing a lot of market share chasing these short term profits, and it might not be very easy to recover that market share once the crypto-miners stop needing them, and force the AMD card prices to fall again.
  • Warren21 - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - link

    AMD does not make any profits here, only retailers. Unfortunate, greedy reality. I honestly just wish this foolish 'craze' would go away so I can buy an R9 290 at MSRP. Everyone is trying to cash-in on a get rich quick scheme. So desperate.
  • DigitalFreak - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    Can't wait until the whole cryptocoint thing crashes and burns.
  • nathanddrews - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    I'd rather cryptocoins continue, but have GPUs been replaced entirely by ASICs. It won't be much longer...
  • Divide Overflow - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    Couldn't come soon enough for me and other gaming enthusiasts.
  • Bucu - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    I didn't know you were on here, or rather that you would partake in childish online forum posts as to the kind on anandtech.
  • Friendly0Fire - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    If you think the comments section at AnandTech is childish, you haven't been on the internet much.
  • Makaveli - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    yup eventually you will see a flood of 7xxx and the new series cards for cheap once ASIC's take over litecoin mining. The problem will be is anyone going to buy a card that was mining 24/7 I would be worried about the longevity of those cards.
  • robbertbobbertson - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    I second that. Crap shouldn't exist to begin with.
  • Tetracycloide - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    Why not?

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