Looks like Japanese people don’t really care about BitCoin mining. The demand for AMD graphics cards isn’t big in Japan. Thus the prices are dropping everyday.
As of today, the cheapest R9 290 card is priced at JPY44,980 or $450. Yes, this is still more expensive that the original MSRP of the card when it was launched in the US. Hey, everything doesn’t always work out the way you like. I should be happy that the price has dropped by $50 in a week. Not to mention, the prices in the US has skyrocketed in the last week or so. Now the R9 290 is priced at $500, if you can find any.
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But, no, I am still holding on until they release the cards based on custom coolers. In fact, the first reviews about the Asus DirectCU-II card has just come out and it looks great. The card overclocks by an additional 10% over the reference card (1200MHz vs 1100MHz) and runs cooler and quieter as well. Unfortunately, these scumbad Japanese PC shops will ask a huge premium for these cards, even though it seems the card will be priced only $20 or so in the US.