AMD's Radeon R9 290 and 290X made a strong case against Nvidia's GTX 780 and Titan late last year, but that position soon weakened with unexpectedly high prices and limited options from board partners. Both issues reportedly stem from a Hawaii GPU shortage, partly due to the series' popularity for litecoin mining.
Like many enthusiasts, we were mostly impressed by the R9 290 because its $400 MSRP was almost 30% cheaper than the R9 290X while only being 5% slower, and the R9 290X's $550 MSRP didn't seem crazy next to Nvidia's $1,000 single-GPU flagship. In reality they are fetching around $550 and $700, respectively. We've finally received production cards from Gigabyte which should give us a better idea of how good of a deal AMD's offerings are in terms of third-party performance and actual retail pricing instead of its pre-launch MSRP.