Calling a Bluff: AMD Exec Brags About “Jebaiting” NVIDIA

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The PC component industry is a fierce one. Intel and AMD have been at each other’s necks for years when it comes to their processors, NVIDIA and AMD have constantly vied for the money of the consumer with their graphics cards, and Logitech still can’t make a good keyboard.

Logitech has nothing to do with the other ones, I just wanted to mention how terrible their keyboards are.

Anyways, I bring up the PC component industry because of the heat that all the companies have been feeling the past couple of weeks. AMD released their Ryzen CPUs a couple of weeks ago, with their $300 offering, the Ryzen 3700X, trading blows with Intel’s top-of-the-line 9900K.

AMD turned up the heat to 11 the same week when they released the Radeon 5700 and 5700XT graphics cards. This is where the meat of the story comes in.

Creating the Bluff

In June, AMD unveiled the Radeon 5700 and 5700XT. They went through all the bullet points: better performance than the previous graphics cards, they run cooler, blah blah blah.

However, the interesting part of the reveal was that the graphics cards would be competitively priced, offering better performance-per-dollar than NVIDIA’s current cards. But there was one problem: NVIDIA still had an opportunity to prove AMD wrong.

See, NVIDIA has been releasing their Superseries of graphics cards—basically an updated 2000 series—by using a staggered schedule. The 2060 Super and 2070 Super released the 9th of July and the 2080 Super released on the 23rd.

A week before the release of AMD’s graphics cards, NVIDIA announced the Super line of GPUs, with the 2060 Super being the cheapest at $400, only $20 over the Radeon 5700. What was worse for AMD is that these cards were slightly more powerful than AMD’s offering. AMD’s claim for the best price-to-performance ratio was threatened.

And then the AMD nation attacked…

Calling the Bluff

In response to NVIDIA’s surprise announcement, AMD, only two days before release, slashed the prices of their new graphics cards. The $380 Radeon 5700 became $350. The $450 Radeon 5700XT became $400—suddenly, AMD’s claims became even truer.

For the next few days, it was rumored that this price cut was planned the whole time and that AMD expected the Super announcement and performance gain. But until now, it was all a rumor.

What didn’t help quell these rumors was a tweet by AMD Radeon VP Scott Herkelman which simply read “jebaited”.

(For those who may not know, “jebaited” is a term from Twitch.tv that basically means “exposed” or “finessed” aka tricking someone.)

The rumors were confirmed during Herkelman’s appearance on the 2.5 Geeks podcast last week where he talked about the 5700 launches.

Admitting the Bluff

During a discussion of the Radeon launch, Herkelman noted that NVIDIA did, indeed, fall for AMD’s bluff. He admitted that he did know NVIDIA would announce their Super GPUs with a competitive price. Herkelman didn’t plan on the original 5700 prices being the final MSRP, just to act as a bluff to make NVIDIA price their GPUs relatively high.

In his words, “the whole thing was a chess match.” He continued leaking out details like a victim on a public wi-fi network without encryption.

Ending the Bluff

Until now, NVIDIA has always held an advantage in the graphics card market, despite AMDs attempts to usurp NVIDIA. However, this moves shows us a new side of AMD; the hungry side of AMD.

With their new, successful processors and their popular Radeon graphics cards, AMD is tired of being the underdog of PC components. Hopefully, these launches are only the beginning of a new era, encouraging NVIDIA and Intel to become more competitive price/performance-wise.

Not so sure about Intel though. Intel has always been content releasing a processor that’s 2% better than the previous generation and calling it an upgrade.

Photo by Pedro Sandrini from Pexels