The cost of good graphics is going down fast.
AMD plans to release new versions of its ATI Radeon 4000-series graphics processing units (GPUs) for entry-level graphics cards, according to the site TGDaily. The new cards are a response to Nvdia's new 9400 GT, which was announced last week, and is available in graphics cards starting at $60. These entry-level cards are the first step up from systems using chipsets with integrated graphics from Intel, as well as AMD and Nvidia.
The competition to offer better graphics at lower prices seems to affecting the business at all levels. In its recent quarterly call, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang admitted that the company had underestimated the price-performance of AMD's high-end Radeon 4800 series, which forced Nvidia to cut prices on its competing GTX 260 and GTX 280 GPUs shortly after launching them. While these high-end GPUs get most of the glory, graphics cards costing less than $100 account for the bulk of sales, and a head-to-head battle at $60 could push average prices even lower.
Several sites have reported that AMD will release two new GPUs on September 10: the Radeon HD 4650 and Radeon HD 4670 with 512MB and 1GB GDDR3 memory, respectively. Tom's Hardware reported that these GPUs will compete directly with Nvidia 9500 GT, which is available in cards costing $70 to $100. AMD either thinks that it will offer better performance to justify a slightly higher price, or it will push the Radeon HD 4650--or a similar GPU--down to about $60 to match the 9400 GT.
It will be interesting to see how these stack up to one another, as well as to the best integrated graphics solutions such as AMD's 780G.
[Update 9/2/2008 9:00AM PST: Expreview has posted what appear to be the first performance test results for the Radeon HD 4650 and Radeon HD 4670.]