We checked the usual suspects and it turns out that Newegg doesn't have a single Radeon R9 290X card available. In the meantime, in the middle of February 2014, AMD and its partners increased the price all the way to $699 for the cheapest card. Despite the huge price increase, the card is still not available and some vendors want to charge $729 for it, while water cooled versions go for $799. Despite the price, they are still not available at press time.
There are two main reasons to blame, first being the Litecoin mining craze that works significantly better on AMD GPUs than on Nvidia’s cards for a number of reasons. The second might be the Mantle performance gains in Battlefield 4. Mantle makes the Radeon R9 290X faster than under DirectX, but this heavily depends on the CPU that you are using, as Mantle is all about cutting CPU overhead.
Radeon R9 R280X Tahti core based cards are not available at press time in Europe, but in US you can get them but for high high $499 + VAT price. They are favoured by altcoin miners, as they offer a better price/performance ratio than Hawaii cards. GPUs are still used to mine Scrypt-based digital currencies, but in the bitcoin space they have been replaced by powerful custom designed ASICs. The first ASICs for Scrypt mining launched just a couple of weeks ago, thanks to British outfit Alpha Technologies.
Some Radeon R9 R290 non-X cards are available at premium $599 price, a $100 more than the suggested retail price at launch. It looks like AMD did well in the high-end this time around, but again, we don't like the fact that the prices went up after the launch. We do understand the logic behind it, as e-tailers and retailers will want to charge you more, in case the cards are not available in huge quantities.
The danger remains that Nvidia might sell extra Geforce GTX 780 TI and Titan cards as people who like high-end gaming, the might just choose Nvidia as they are currently in stock. Geforce GTX 780 TI is available from multiple partners at $699 and UP depending on the partner.