AMD R9 290X 4GB detailed review
With the R9 290X AMD has introduced the next iteration in AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture called Hawaii. THE GCN architecture was first brought out with the Radeon 7000 series and the Hawaii chipset has made for a worthy follow-up in that line. Only the R9 290X and the R9 290 feature the Hawaii chipset while the remaining cards are simply rebadged cards from the 7000 series. Also along with the introduction of the R9 and R7 series came another announcement – AMD’s Mantle API.
The card features the same red and black colour combination which has been the staple stock design feature for a long time. The heatsink has a copper base for the chipset and the memory chips are cooled by the metal chassis. There is just one fan cooling the entire thing so as far as design changes go, there isn’t much difference from the previous design. The card has 2816 stream processors and that is where most of the OpenCL performance comes from. The NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti
even with 2880 CUDA cores isn’t able to catch up with this card. The base clock is 1000MHz and the memory clock is at 1250MHz. Also, the card has 4 gigabytes of memory which is one greater than what the flagship from the competitor has to offer. The card is priced at Rs.38,000 which is what gives this card the biggest advantage over other high end cards from NVIDIA.
For most benchmarks in the high end segment we give more weightage to the performance to the scores in the ultra configuration as there is plenty of variation between each run as you ease the graphics settings. Here we can see the AMD R9 290X performs better than a TITAN
but remains behind by a meagre amount compared to the ZOTAC GTX 780 AMP! edition
. The card maintained an average of 131 FPS in the Bioshock Infinite benchmark.
As we move to benchmarks that add more stress to the card we start seeing less of a difference between individual cards. However, the difference was more evident in the Tomb Raider benchmark compared to others. Here we see the R9 290X lagging behind by a narrow margin of 7 FPS compared to the TITAN. Even the medium and low configuration runs scale accordingly.
At ultra configuration the difference between the R9 290X and the TITAN is not even one FPS on an average but at lower configurations they do give scores spaced apart by a maximum of 5 FPS which again isn’t much to go by. In the very same run we can see the R9 290X perform better compared to the 780 Ti and the 780 AMP! edition.
This is another benchmark where the R9 290X moves ahead of the TITAN as well as the 780 AMP! edition. Also all cards managed to give at least 60 FPS in this benchmark under ultra configuration with medium and low configurations FPS coming in at around 180-190 FPS.
OpenCL performance is where AMD cards have maintained a lead over NVIDIA and the new Hawaii chipset isn’t lagging by any means. In the Luxmark rendering test the R9 290X maintains a lead of over a thousand points compared to the 780 Ti which is the best card the competition has to offer. The 780 Ti scored 1759 points while the AMD R9 290X scored 2897 points in the same test.
The R9 290X features a stock cooler and thus we don’t expect much from them. The least that these should do is maintain a difference of about 10 degrees celsius from the thermal threshold which it does manage. However, even with a stock cooler this card is comparatively hotter than the competition and went all the way upto 82 degrees which is barely 12 degrees from the threshold.
AMD’s R9 290X has shown to perform better than the TITAN in most benchmarks and isn’t that behind the flagship from the competition but with a price of Rs. 38,000 this card gives similar performance but at roughly half the price of the TITAN which is why this card would be favoured over them. Even the 780 Ti is priced about Rs.20,000 more than the R9 290X. With certain R9 290 SKUs being unlockable it is a gamble but one that could pay off considerably well. However, barely 20% of the SKUs from certain manufacturers are unlockable. Overall, the R9 290X offers more for your money than any other high-end card.