AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) is rumored to announce its next-generation video cards sometime later this quarter, but until such time the vendor is intent on making the best of its main rival’s woes. It has reduced prices of the R9 290X, which is now being offered for under $300.
Following Nvidia’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) troubles over the GTX 970 VRAM allocation issue, AMD’s head of global technical marketing Robert Hallock tweeted an image highlighting the fact that with AMD, “4 GB means 4 GB.”
— Robert Hallock (@Thracks) January 28, 2015
The snide remark was over the memory allocation controversy Nvidia found itself in with the GTX 970 after it was discovered that users were unable to access the entire 4GB memory. To differentiate the GTX 970 from the high-end GTX 980, Nvidia lowered the L2 cache and segmented the memory differently. Limiting the cache led to the memory being segmented into two chunks, with the 3.5GB portion able to access the cache directly, and the 512Mb section having to interlace with another memory controller to access the cache. This interweaving meant that the last 512MB was slower than the rest of the VRAM, and that both segments could not be read simultaneously, effectively limiting the memory to 3.5GB.
This understandably frustrated a lot of customers, who for all intents thought that the GTX 970 was able to access the entire 4GB memory. Nvidia did its best to clarify the situation, providing benchmarks to suggest that there wasn’t a marked difference in framerates, but the fact that the vendor did not communicate the limitations before selling the card drew the ire of several users.
AMD is now cashing in on the debacle by pricing the R9 290X lower than the GTX 970. The R9 290X, which is still one of the fastest single-card solutions available in the market, features a 512-bit wide memory bus (unlike the 256-bit wide memory interface of the GTX 970), and can deliver a bandwidth of 320 GB/s, while the GTX 970 maxes out at 196 GB/s. With the same card selling for twice as much for most of last year, it is certainly an effective marketing move by AMD.