With what seems to be an eternity, AMD and NVIDIA have finally rolled out their newest graphics cards late last year with AMD getting much hype because of their latest offering compared to NVIDIA’s kneejerk reaction upon releasing its own combatant in the high-end GPUÂ space. AMD’s R9 290X is the company’s top-tier GPU offering in the R9 series and is its fastest single GPU to date.
For today’s review we will be looking at the Radeon R9 290X reference design from SapphireÂ and we’ll see just how well the R9 290X shapes up in how AMD envisioned it to be. The next-generation of gamingÂ is upon us ladies and gentlemen and these are the weapons of the future. Let the games begin!
To make this review really relevant, we have the GeForce GTX 780 Ti in tow as well as an aftermarket-cooled R9 290X in the comparison. Also, we are proud to announce the inclusion of 4K UltraHD benchmarks in our tests.
The AMD Radeon R9 Series
AMD has gone with a new naming scheme for this generation of graphics card but as we’ve mentioned before in our R9 280X /270X article, the only new cards in this series are the top-end R9 290X and 290 (non-X) and midrange R7 260X. To further complicate the situation, the R9 280X and 270X are both rebrands of existing products making it seems like both AMD and NVIDIA (GTX770/760 are also rebrands) are really lazing off on development efforts in the mid-range desktop component sector.
These new cards featuring the Hawaii Island GPU bring to the table a variety of new technologies such as the Mantle API, TruAudio and DirectX 11.1/11.2. All of these technologies currently have games adopting them but that will surely change in the coming months as more and more developers adopt them in their games.
Let’s talk about specs for a moment. Starting off with clock speeds, the R9 290X will be clocked in at up toÂ 1000Mhz. No more fixed clocks and boosts for you guys. AMD has completely changed how frequencies work in the Hawaii GPUs. More on that later. Moving on, we have memory clocks coming in at 5Ghz on 512-bit bus. The R9 290X will come with 4GB of VRAM which provide more bandwidth at slower clocks. That means overclocking the memory can really give some improvements thanks to that 512bit wide bus.Â CrossfireX has also been changed with the R9 290X not needing bridge cables to be able to run multi-GPU. Power is provided via an 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-e power connector.
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