AMD unleashed its Radeon HD 4850 graphics processor a little earlier than expected yesterday, and while cards took some time to hit U.S. online retailers, they seem to have finally gotten there late last night. We decided to use our trusty availability check method to get a feel for the cards' prevalence and pricing.
As always with these availability checks, we limited our search to Newegg, TigerDirect, ZipZoomFly, and Buy.com. These are the four computer hardware e-tailers with the most reviews on both our price search engine and ResellerRatings.com, so they should be a good indication of general availability. We highlighted available models in green
Newegg seems to have the lion's share of Radeon HD 4850 models in stock, and it prices them all at the AMD-suggested $199.99. We spotted a few exceptions, however: Newegg offers a $30 mail-in rebate with the Asus model, $25 mail-in rebates with the MSI and PowerColor cards, and a $20 mail-in rebate with the Sapphire offering. We don't usually like mail-in rebates, but with all of these cards being essentially equal otherwise, you probably don't have much to lose.
On the other side of the fence, Nvidia has cut the price of its GeForce 9800 GTX to $199.99 in order to contain the AMD offensive. We looked around to verify this, but our online retailers only have the following 9800 GTX models in stock at $199.99 right now:
eVGA's 512-P3-N871-AR at TigerDirect and ZipZoomFly
eVGA's 512-P3-N872-AR at ZipZoomFly
XFX's PVT98FYDF9 at TigerDirect
The XFX model looks the most interesting, since it runs with a 700MHz core speed instead of 675MHz. Still, the Radeon HD 4850 seems like a better deal overall considering how well it performs.