It looks like NVIDIA has finally started to see sense about the pricing on their fastest mobile GPU. So far the main competitor from AMD, the Radeon HD 6990M –one that beats the GTX 580M in a fair share of games and benchmarks – has been selling for about $300 less than its rival, making its NVIDIA counterpart a very poor option in terms of value for money.
When the NVIDIA GTX 580M was initially launched, the manufacturer had the fastest laptop graphics card on the market and could dictate prices accordingly, but only a couple of weeks later AMD rocked the boat with the release of what they claimed to be the world’s fastest. After a while it became clear that none (or if you prefer, both) of the two cards could claim the title due to differences between individual games, although the NVIDIA card still has a small edge – particularly with two cards in SLI.
What was crystal clear, on the other hand, was that AMD had a competitive edge with a much more attractive price on the HD 6990M part. Nevertheless, NVIDIA has been holding on to its initial pricing for quite some time, but now they seem to have realized that the word is out that its main rival produces a great deal more FPS/$ and the company has lowered the price by a considerable amount.
So far the price cut only applies to Alienware laptops, while Clevo builders such as Origin PC and Sager are hanging on to the old pricing for the time being – likely because they still have stock to clear out and prefer not to sell their laptops at a loss, which is understandable. Dell has less to worry about in the turnover department and has the option to slash part prices almost immediately.
In any event, this means that the GTX 580M upgrade for the Alienware M17x and M18x now “only” command a $75 premium over the AMD GPU (per card, so $150 if you’re getting the M18x with SLI). That’s still a substantial difference, but nowhere near as huge as before and makes it more likely for those who prefer NVIDIA to open their wallets instead of opting for the AMD solution.
From a pure marketing standpoint, you could argue that AMD priced its Radeon HD 6990M too low and forced NVIDA to follow, leaving smaller margins for both manufacturers. That is undoubtedly less of a headache for the consumer – not counting those who recently purchased a GTX 580M-equipped laptop and paid at least $300 more for the privilege.