These e-mails reminded us of the ones we saw from nVidia back when the HD 4800 series and the HD 5800 series dropped. These e-mails went on at great length about how nVidia had a great price position and a great price line up. They also did comparisons between products and price points.
Now this type of e-mail is fine when the companies are even, or when they are slightly apart from each other (one is in the lead), but they are very odd when one company enjoys a decent lead in their high-end segment over the other. This is the current case with AMD and nVidia. Right now the HD 5870 is slightly ahead of nVidia’s GTX 480 and the HD5970 really tops it out.
So why the e-mail over the GTX 460? Well there are a couple of things that come to mind. We had a talk with a few OEMs about the card a couple of days before launch. It seems that the card competes exceptionally well at its price point Vs the AMD HD 5830, and even crowds in on the HD 5850. This is at stock speeds and without any custom PCBs. Now, when you OC the GPU and drop on some extra cooling you have a real danger. According to one OEM we spoke with the card is an overclocking dream. This has prompted Asus to already release plans about a GTX 480 Direct CU. For those of you that know about the Direct CU and EAH TOP cards; Asus only picks GPUs that have higher than normal overclocking potential. They then take the best of the bunch for these add-in boards.
With this news AMD should be worried, the GTX 460 with its redesigned GF104 parts represents a real danger to their mid-range line up. The e-mails are a sign of that, but the big one is going to be the price cut that you can expect to see before the end of August. These will show up as Back to School pricing, but I have a feeling it will be a larger than normal cut this time.