Meet the next generation of Radeon graphics cards
AMD has some big plans for its Radeon graphics cards, details of which have been trickling out over the past couple of weeks. As a primer, we highly recommend checking out our Live Blog coverage of AMD's GPU14 Tech Day 2013 along with Maximum PC Online Editor Jimmy Thang's photo gallery from his visit to Hawaii where the event was held (work can be so grueling sometimes!). Unfortunately those pesky NDAs prevent us from sharing details of AMD's R9 290X and 290 video cards, but in the meantime, we have full specs on no less than five other Radeon R9 and R7 Series parts. Let's get to it!
In the R9 Series, there are two cards underneath the R9 290X and 290. These include the R9 270X and 280X. The R9 270X is being billed as the new $199 GPU king and is primarily intended for gamers rocking a 1080p monitor. At 1920x1080, this card should be able to handle high quality settings for any game out there. According to AMD, it's 49 percent faster than an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 card in Battlefield 3 (at 1080p), 45 percent faster in Hitman Absolution, and 26 percent faster in Tomb Raider. Here are the specs:
For those who have $299 to spend on a graphics card, there's the R9 280X, which is built for gaming at 2560x1440. Using AMD's own benchmarking numbers once again, this part is supposed to be 20 percent faster than a GeForce GTX 760 in Battlefield 3 at 2560x1440 with 4xMSAA and Ultra settings, 39 percent faster in Tomb Raider at 2560x1440 with TressFX enabled, and 25 percent faster than Bioshock: Infinite at 2560x1440 with Ultra settings. Here are the specs:
Moving down the totem pole, the Radeon R7 Series is represented by the R7 260X, R7 250, and R7 240 cards. All of these fall into the affordable category with the most expensive of the bunch being the R7 260X at $139 MSRP. Generally speaking, you can expect slightly better performance compared to the Radeon HD 5870, a part that debuted at $379 not all that long ago. Here's what you get with the R7 260X:
The remaining two cards fall into the sub-$100 category, with the R7 250 debuting at just $89. AMD is billing this card as "Graphics Core Next for everyone" with an "unbeatable value." Performance is roughly on par with (and slightly better than) a Radeon HD 5770. Here are the specs:
Finally, we have the R7 240, an entry-level card with a low profile and single-slot cooling solution. AMD didn't provide pricing information on the part, though it did list out the system specs:
The last thing to point out is that TrueAudio technology will be featured on the R7 260X card, making it one of the first discrete GPUs in the world with a programmable audio pipeline. It's intended to transform game audio in the same manner that programmable shaders transformed graphics, AMD says. What this entails is a dedicated audio DSP solution for game effects.