AMD Radeon R9 290X: Killer Performance at an Amazing Price
AMD's Hawaii-based flagship GPU has finally arrived to take on Nvidia's super-sized GK110. This is a GPU grudge match that fans of hardcore PC performance have been waiting for, as both companies have been ratcheting up the tension ahead of today's announcement for the past few weeks.
The bottom line is this - at just $549, the R9 290X represents a very serious threat to Nvidia's single-card GPU dominance. Read on to see how it fares against Nvidia's top-shelf silicon, and what it all means for PC gamers.
Last month, AMD announced an all-new GPU dubbed the HD 7790 1GB based on new silicon named "Bonaire" that, at $150, was designed to slot in between its HD 7770 and the more-expensive HD 7850. Not surprisingly, Nvidia then announced a revamped “Boost” version of its GTX 650 Ti, with added support for dual-card SLI, higher clock speeds, and a 2GB frame buffer, countering AMD’s effort and shoring up what both companies refer to as the "GPU sweet spot." This month, AMD counterattacks Nvidia's counterattack with a 2GB version of the HD 7790 from Sapphire, leveling the playing field and raising the stakes by including a super-sweet game bundle. Can Nvidia's revamped 650 Ti Boost dominate the midrange GPU field, or is AMD's new silicon the better deal? And how do they measure up to the former champs in this price range? To help settle this feud once and for all, we benchmarked not just the new guys, but all of the cards in this tax bracket.
Note: This article was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
We don’t pay too much attention to the sub-$200 GPU market, but this month both AMD and Nvidia announced new boards at around the $150 mark that offer features previously only found on more expensive GPUs, including multi-GPU support and GPU clock boosting (for Nvidia). These new features suddenly made these budget boards very interesting, especially when dual-card setups are taken into consideration. Naturally, we pitted the new cards against one another in a Sweet-Spot showdown.
Note: This feature was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
Back in the olden days of, like, three years ago, GPUs were quite loud and didn’t cool very well, so aftermarket coolers were not necessarily required but were a good idea, and absolutely necessary if you wanted to heavily overclock the card.
Note: This review originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
New bundle will let gamers choose which games they want
AMD has announced the Never Settle Forever gaming bundle, which adds the one thing we’ve always wanted to the program — choice. In the past gamers bought a Radeon card and got a bundle of free games regardless of whether or not they already owned them, so this time around buying a Radeon card will let you redeem the game of your choice from predetermined pools, and you can even hold onto the tickets and redeem them for future, unannounced titles as well.
According to postings on Newegg, AMD's insanely powerful HD 7990 has received a massive price cut. The dual-gpu video card is selling for $799 and some listings have it as low as $630 after rebate. This price drop comes hot off the heels of AMD's new Catalyst 13.8 Beta Driver which fixes frame pacing on CrossfireX video cards.
Catalyst 13.8 Beta adds user selectable delay to help smooth framerates
AMD announced on Twitter a few weeks ago it would be releasing a new driver on July 31st that would help smooth out micro-stutter its cards were experiencing in multi-GPU configurations. Well, yesterday was July 31st, so we asked AMD if the driver was still in the works, and they told us that it was but it was just one day late due to last minute Q/A. As of today, August 1st, the new Catalyst 13.8 Beta driver is now available for download.
Just before the release of the GeForce GTX Titan this month, AMD held a conference call with tech media to reiterate its position in the market today, its plans going forward, and to drive home one particular point: AMD has the fastest hardware available, period. At the time of the call, we thought, “Well, that’s debatable.” But AMD pressed on, and further clarified its position by stating that the Asus Ares II was the fastest GPU available, bar none. Since most of us on the call hadn’t seen that card, and most people never will since only 999 were produced, we didn’t dispute the claim, nor did we have the data to know if the claim was correct. Well, about a week later, the card arrived from Asus and now that we’ve run the benchmarks, it looks like AMD was telling the truth—the Ares II is without a doubt the fastest single-card GPU available. So step aside, Nvidia GeForce GTX 690, there’s a new sheriff in town, and it’s not only faster in benchmarks, it runs cooler and quieter, to boot.
Note: This review was originally featured in the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
Video card vendors have an overclocking frenzy with Nvidia’s newest GPU
Nvidia dropped its new GTX 760 this week and gave gamers a cheaper 700-Series card in the process. MSI, Gigabyte, Asus, and EVGA have all recently announced overclocked $260 versions of the card as a result.
Two overclocked flagship video cards go head to head one last time
Over the past year, the GeForce GTX 680 and the Radeon HD 7970 have served as the respective flagship GPUs for each of their camps, and even though both cards seem a bit like well-aged cheese by now, they are still fast. There have also been quite a few driver updates since these cards were released, so we've decided to pit two of the overclocked versions against one another in a battle royale to settle this feud once and for all. Fighters, touch circuit boards and come out of your PCI Express corners. It's time to get it on!
Note: This article originally appeared in the March issue of the magazine.