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Return of the King: AMD's R9 290x is faster than the Titan and almost 1/2 the price

No Love

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Jun 7, 2013
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Twas the night before D-Day, when all through the Internet
Not a netizen was stirring, not even a troll.
The web browsers were F5'ing tech sites with care,
In hopes that Saint AMD soon would be there.

The forum-goers were nestled all snug in their threads,
While visions of frame-rates danced in their heads.
And Hazaro in his Spiderman jammies, and I in my gimp suit,
Had just settled our brains for a long benchmarking session.

When out on the forums there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the thread to see what was the matter.
Away to the browser window I flew like a Flash,
Tore open the tabs and threw up the hashtags.

The LCD's glow on the breast of the new-fallen benchmarks
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a monstrous videocard, and eight sites with benchmarks.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St AMD.
More rapid than eagles his chip codenames they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Tahiti! now, ! now, Evergreen and Redwood!
On, Cypress! On, Juniper! on, on Cayman and Barts!
To the top of the GPU heap! to the top of the benchmarks!
Now Bench away! Bench away! Bench away all!"

Reviews and Benchmarks



http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/AMD-Radeon-R9-290X-Hawaii-Review-Taking-TITANs <--- Proper FCAT testing, thanks Hazaro

http://techreport.com/review/25509/amd-radeon-r9-290x-graphics-card-reviewed <--- Additional FCAT testing, thanks kharma45

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/R9_290X/

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/10/23/amd_radeon_r9_290x_video_card_review/1#.UmidBPmSmQt

http://anandtech.com/show/7457/the-radeon-r9-290x-review

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/63742-amd-radeon-r9-290x-4gb-review.html



Dat 4k pwnage



HardOCP drops the bomb on the pricing:
Introduction and Price
After what seems like several long weeks, the video card we have all been waiting for finally gets the veil pulled back, and its bits exposed. The AMD Radeon R9 290X is here, and we get to show you what it can do.

Let's start with the information you want most, cost. The official AMD MSRP on the AMD Radeon R9 290X will be $549. This places it $100 below the cost of the GTX 780, which is $649. Radeon R9 290 (non-X) pricing, has not yet been revealed.
Also, HardOCP drops the bomb on performance (hint: the card is held back by the max fan speed!)

With the fan at 100%, or basically uncapped, we did notice games, and even benchmarks, did score higher still compared to the "Uber Mode." Therefore, the R9 290X is being held back in performance all because the fan is capped at 40% by default in "Quiet Mode" and 55% in "Uber Mode."


GTX 780 and Titan am cry. Brb selling GTX 780's
 

Hazaro

relies on auto-aim
Jan 21, 2008
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PCPER with frame latency testing: http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/AMD-Radeon-R9-290X-Hawaii-Review-Taking-TITANs

So in summary:
  • Half price of Titan and less than a GTX780 with similar/better performance
  • 30W-50W more power draw
  • Runs hot as shit on stock (95C load limit/target)
  • Uber mode is 10% faster, but 10dB louder (loud as fuck)
  • Has some OC room (scales well with voltage)

Looks like $600 premium dual and tri-fan non ref. boards will be perfect for this thing to let it stretch. Additionally is the way the new overclocking works dynamically scaling the GPU clocks to the limit of GPU Temp (95C) and Fan Speed (40% Quiet). This makes it easy and safe... and most importantly should scale amazing with a good cooler and water if you look at how it scales on air.

The way it's munching power looks like 28nm is done.

 

LiquidMetal14

hide your water-based mammals
Jan 18, 2007
46,583
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The numbers get even more on AMD's side at higher resolutions such as 4k.

AMD done good but when you see those temps it seems like the fans aren't ramping up all the way. These could be killer with a nice 1000W PSU and some triple fan cooling. 2 of these for just over the price of 1 Titan and it spanks that in performance with just 1 290x? HOT.
As Hazaro noted, this may be a good thing and will surely be helped with a good fan profile plus those after market or 3rd party GPU's with 2-3 fans.
 

xelloss12

Member
May 12, 2008
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Don't like the high temps. These things will be hot in the summer. Titan performance at my resolution and $450 cheaper is tempting though.

Will probably wait for 290 review to see which one to get.
 

No Love

Banned
Jun 7, 2013
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The numbers get even more on AMD's side at higher resolutions such as 4k.

AMD done good but when you see those temps it seems like the fans aren't ramping up all the way. These could be killer with a nice 1000W PSU and some triple fan cooling. 2 of these for just over the price of 1 Titan and it spanks that in performance with just 1 290x? HOT.
As Hazaro noted, this may be a good thing and will surely be helped with a good fan profile plus those after market or 3rd party GPU's with 2-3 fans.
Let me offer a little bit of delicious, tantalizing possibility for us SLI/XFire fans:

If the R9 290 drops at $400, and you buy two, and OC them... you will have 2x the power of a Titan for $200 less than a Titan. Or, for $100 more than a Titan, you can have more than double the power of a Titan with 2x R9 290x's.

Either way you put it, nobody is buying a Titan now. Especially once 8GB equipped R290x's start dropping.
 

theRizzle

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Feb 13, 2009
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It still makes me sad to see AMD in front of Radeon.

Might have to go back over to the red team depending on watercooled benchmarks.
 

Xyphie

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Oct 4, 2007
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I doubt we'll see a significant (i.e. several hundred dollars) price cut on Titan due to the FP64 performance. 780 will get price dropped and 780 Ti will replace it at that price target with more or less Titan performance.
 

coldone

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May 31, 2013
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spend $500 and play games at 4K resolution
-or-
buy a next gen console for $500 and play at 720p.

Man the world is ganged up against me buying a next gen console. Every day the news is getting more and more lopsided.
 

Hazaro

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Jan 21, 2008
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The card has a death sentence hanging over it with those temperatures
Not really.
Also it's a shitty blower fan cooler with the 95C being THE TARGET TEMPERATURE.

Dual/Tri-Fan heatsinks are going to make this thing rip into space.

The extra draw will be a concern though.
 

TnK

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Jun 2, 2013
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Really respect AMD for the price point they set, and not some bullshit price like $700 which then could make biying the top cards too expensive.
 

Hazaro

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Jan 21, 2008
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for sure, but its kinda nuts to put something out like this
I'd take a faster single card any day of the week without compromise. That's what this is, and I like it.

95C target? Yeah fuck it it needs to be fast. If you want lower temps it will automatically scale using your temperature settings and max fan speed.
 

ChawlieTheFair

pip pip cheerio you slags!
Jul 8, 2013
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Not really.
Also it's a shitty blower fan cooler with the 95C being THE TARGET TEMPERATURE.

Dual/Tri-Fan heatsinks are going to make this thing rip into space.

The extra draw will be a concern though.
looking to get one of these, how long before we see the 3rd party vendors with new fans/coolers?
 

josecitoxnyo

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May 28, 2013
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I don´t think that the card is actually that good, more power draw, more noise, beats the titan on some test BUT is way a lot cheaper. I honestly see that as the only positive thing. Maybe with mantle the gap would be bigger.
 

Syf

Banned
Oct 3, 2012
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Nice. This should mean the next round of Nvidia cards won't be so grossly priced. Still, I'm waiting for the G-Sync hardware before upgrading.
 

artist

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May 7, 2006
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Kyle isnt sparing any words for Nvidia;

The R9 290X is performance comparable to the GeForce GTX TITAN at 2560x1600 (1600p) and lower (1080p.) In every game we played we were able to match the same gameplay experience as the GeForce GTX TITAN. That means that every game played the same between both video cards, the same performance, same in-game settings, and same smoothness. Performance in terms of frames per second was either right under, or right at TITAN FPS performance. The performance differences were so insignificant that those did not translate to any noticeable gameplay differences at all.

The situation changes when the Radeon R9 290X is pushed up to Ultra HD 4K display resolutions. Whatever magic AMD is doing at 4K, it is working. We found that the Radeon R9 290X was faster in every game compared to the GeForce GTX TITAN at 3840x2160. It wasn't just a little bit faster either, it was anywhere from 10-23% faster. This is a significant difference. At 4K resolutions, you need every bit of performance you can get to achieve playable performance at high in-game settings on a single video card. The Radeon R9 290X is clearly the card for Ultra HD 4K.
 

Thacker

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Jun 22, 2013
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I don´t that the card is actually that good, more power draw, more noise, beats the titan on some test BUT is way a lot cheaper. I honestly see that as the only positive thing. Maybe with mantle the gap would be bigger.
I have a feeling that Tri fan aftermarket cards will greatly diminish the heat issue, but it still draws a lot of power.
I'm sorry but if you're paying 500-1000 for a video card I can't imagine the power draw bothering you that much.
 

ghst

thanks for the laugh
May 9, 2006
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Seems like they want for the higher watt usage just so they could brag about beating the Titan.
hey, makes a good headline. nvidia have done all the legwork in establishing titan as a premium priced object of desire. if you can turn that message to your advantage by selling your own for half the price, people aren't going to care if it sets their house on fire.
 

BloodMoney

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Nov 30, 2012
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msi needs to twin frozr this business and I'm there.
OC Limit targets 95C to produce max clocks.
I'm all for this, let me decide what temps are okay, non of this 'throttle at 70C crap'.
so true. Nvidia boned us all the last 2 years with throttling. My N670 is solid gold, but it could have clocked better were it not for throttling.
 
Nov 10, 2010
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780ti will probably be comparable, and i'm betting 780 will be around 550 or less.


So its not gonna be thaaat big of a difference.

And why are yall comparing it with the titan which isn't even really a gaming gpu? You can definitely oc a 780 to be higher than titan's max potential because titan has things preventing crazy oc's no?
 

Hazaro

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Jan 21, 2008
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More insight from Kyle at [H] about temps and fan speed.
I highly suggest looking over it: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/10/23/amd_radeon_r9_290x_video_card_review/2

It's possible we'll see 10-15% gains with overclocking just with different non-reference boards.
Firstly let's start with temperature. AMD has set the default temperature of these GPUs to run at a max of 95c. That means that the GPUs are going to run at 95c. This will be a shock to you at first, as you are not used to your video card running so hot, but it is OK. AMD states that the thermal threshold for these GPUs is well above 95c. AMD is confident in the set temperature of 95c to deliver a stable experience. There is no technical reason to lower the temperature, but you have the option to if you want.

Second, and this affects the temperature of course, is the fan speed. AMD has set the default fan speed to a cap of 40%. What this means is that the fan speed cannot and will not ever exceed 40% rotational speed at stock settings. This creates a "quiet" operating condition. AMD has chosen quiet, over pure performance, for its default configuration.

What you have going on is that the video card will always try to give you the highest frequency it can, up to 95c temperature with the fan spinning up to 40%. This doesn't always mean it will be at 1000MHz though. In power demanding apps and games, the clock speed will often clock itself below that frequency because it can't maintain 1000MHz at 95c with 40% fan.

We found that power hungry games like Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, and most likely BF4 have a reduced in-game frequency. We experienced the frequency dropping as low as 200MHz while playing Crysis 3. A frequency drop of 200MHz can certainly impact your performance.

Dual-BIOS Modes - "Quiet" and "Uber" Mode

AMD has given you a choice, do you want "Quiet" or do you want "Performance." AMD is utilizing the BIOS switch atop the video card. With a flick of the switch and a reboot, you activate the "Uber Mode" BIOS. All retail cards will ship in the "Quiet Mode" position. In this Uber Mode the fan is set to run up to a cap of 55% now instead of 40%.

This means while you game the fan can run faster and louder. This also means it helps reduce the temperature more, and in turn allows higher sustainable frequencies on the GPU at 95c. In our testing, this did result in better performance in several games. Some of the performance gains were small, others were larger, depends on the game.

In order to get the frequency of the GPU to maintain a closer to 1000MHz range, temperature is everything, and the fan is the easiest way to control that. Though AMD offers this "Uber Mode" we still feel 55% isn't high enough. You can of course manually set the fan to a higher cap, and we did some tests with the fan at a cap of 100%. This doesn't mean the fan will always run at 100%, the fan is still dynamic and automatically adjusted, it just means the fan can go up to 100% if the controller pushes it there.

With the fan at 100%, or basically uncapped, we did notice games, and even benchmarks, did score higher still compared to the "Uber Mode." Therefore, the R9 290X is being held back in performance all because the fan is capped at 40% by default in "Quiet Mode" and 55% in "Uber Mode."
*Hey it's confirmed :p
 

Rafterman

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Feb 26, 2013
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Awesome price, awesome performance.

Unfortunately no G-sync, so no buy until AMD gets something similar. It's too game changing to ignore. The good news is that Nvidia has no choice but to drop their prices now.
 

No Love

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780ti will probably be comparable, and i'm betting 780 will be around 550 or less.


So its not gonna be thaaat big of a difference.

And why are yall comparing it with the titan which isn't even really a gaming gpu? You can definitely oc a 780 to be higher than titan's max potential because titan has things preventing crazy oc's no?
R9 290x has 4 GB of VRAM. And will be offered with up to 8GB of VRAM. NVidia won't let partners make 780's with more than 3 GB of VRAM.

That's pretty huge right there.

And Titan isn't a gaming GPU? Uh, wut?
 

Kaako

Felium Defensor
May 20, 2007
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apod.nasa.gov
As a GTX690 owner, I want them to light the biggest fire under NVidia's ass so bad. Make them drop their bullshit prices please, AMD.
 

Xilium

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May 20, 2009
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Seems like only reference cards will be released for the moment so I'll wait until some of the custom cards are released and I see the price of the 290 before I jump. I really need a new GPU (and monitor) and that $550 price point is going to be hard to pass up, even if the 290 comes in around $400.
 
Nov 10, 2010
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R9 290x has 4 GB of VRAM. And will be offered with up to 8GB of VRAM. NVidia won't let partners make 780's with more than 3 GB of VRAM.

That's pretty huge right there.

And Titan isn't a gaming GPU? Uh, wut?
always thought it was sold as more of a workhorse computing thing. o_O



btw: are reference 780 ti's out yet? Didn't nvidia say review units are going out asap?