AMD today, through an AMD Gaming Evolved announcement, announced that thehy would be closely partnering up with THQ and Codemasters on some AMD optimized titles as well as dropping some graphics card prices. This promotion is known as the Three for Free promotion.

These titles are Deus Ex: Human Revolution as well as DiRT Showdown and Nexuiz. AMD stated that they will be bundling these games with their graphics cards starting Monday. This shows us that AMD is trying to create a value added proposition to their videocards beyond purely selling them for being some of the fastest graphics cards on earth. In their statement they said, "Rolling through select etailer and retailer partners shortly, we will be launching the Three for Free promotion, bundling a free copy of Dirt Showdown and Nexuiz with each AMD Radeon? HD 7900 Series graphics card. We will also be including a full copy of one of the top titles of 2011; Deus Ex: Human Revolution, as well as its DLC expansion The Missing Link." 

In our GTX 680 launch review, we concluded that the HD 7970 had certainly been beaten by the green team from NVIDIA, but definitely did not lose face as the performance differentials were relatively close and in some cases the HD 7970 pulled quite far ahead. Based on our conclusions we stated that AMD should drop the price of their graphics card to $449 in order to remain competitive with the GTX 680, but that sort of a sudden price drop is not realistic and would alienate customers as well as board partners.

The Radeon HD 7970 in all its glory

As such AMD stated, "The AMD Radeon? HD 7970 is now priced at an incredible $479 and continues to be the only enthusiast card available in volume, while the AMD Radeon? HD 7950 is now an impulse buy away, at $399, and on both of these you will see our Three For Free offer which includes Dirt Showdown, Nexuiz and Deus Ex: Human Revolution with The Missing Link DLC. And one more thing, for those looking for access to a cutting-edge graphics experience at a very wallet-friendly price, AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz edition graphics cards will now be available at the sub-$150 sweet spot, as low as $139(US) SEP."

If you read their statement, you’ll notice that they claim that the HD 7970 is the only enthusiast card available ‘in volume’ which we believe to be their only point of contention and likely the reason for the price drop. This means that AMD has dropped the price of three of two of their highest-end cards as well as one of their more mainstream cards. Currently, we do believe that AMD is still a bit high on the HD 7970, but they are offering free games which may be able to lure some people who have been waiting for GTX 680s. We believe that $449 is a more appropriate price and is more competitive to performance levels and our experience and will likely quietly come down to that level over the next few weeks.

The truth is that AMD had been playing with fire these past few weeks by maintaining that a price drop was not needed. If they continued to maintain their $549 price point ($50 higher than the GTX 680), they risked not only not selling any cards, but also upsetting their board partners who would then be stuck with large supplies of HD 7000 series cards. Now that AMD has dropped their prices they will likely see more cards selling as there will be some people tired of waiting for GTX 680s to become available. The truth is, though, that there really is not as much of a shortage as AMD would like to have you believe because all of the NVIDIA board partners and retailers whom we have spoken with as well as OEMs have all been content with their supply. Furthermore, we expect the availability of GTX 680s to continue to improve in the coming weeks, and this to be the reason why AMD was forced to act.