AMD today formally introduced the Radeon R7 250X, an affordable graphics card aimed at gamers looking to play their titles at Full HD 1080p. Some vendors already had the new SKU listed as early as last week, though it should be a lot easier to find starting today and going forward. It's a $99 card, give or take a few dollars depending on what AMD's hardware partners do with the reference design -- the chip designer says custom cooled designs are ready to launch.
It looks like AMD is fleshing out its graphics card line with a new part. A look around the web reveals several references to an AMD Radeon R7 250X graphics card from a variety of third-party partners, including one from Diamond Multimedia that's available to purchase for around $100 street. Looking at the specs, the Radeon R7 250X slides neatly in between AMD's Radeon R7 250 and R7 260X video cards.
A potential candidate for a home brewed Steam Machine
It appears Powercolor is getting ready to launch a passively cooled version of AMD's Radeon R9 270 graphics card. Powercolor has yet to formally introduce what it's calling the R9 270 SCS3 edition, but if you look around the web, you'll discover some overseas retailers listing the SKU, including one that managed to get its hands on a press photo of the upcoming card.
Several months ago, AMD Product Manager Deveon Nekechuck boldly claimed that the Radeon R9 290X would be able to "ridicule" Nvidia's GeForce Titan graphics card when running Battlefield 4 with Mantle, AMD's new graphics API. It's worth noting that the R9 290 sports a smaller 438 square mm die compared to the Titan's 550 square mm GK110. Unfortunately for us and everyone else wanting to put that claim to the test, the Mantle patch for Battlefield 4 might be delayed once again.
Last month, we took a look at EVGA’s GTX 780, which sported a new, fancy-britches “ACX” cooler. This month, it’s Asus’s turn with its own redesigned and totally non-reference GTX 780. At first glance, this GPU’s most notable attribute is its redesigned cooler, which despite many changes still bears the DirectCU II moniker we’ve seen on previous models. The new design uses five direct contact (DC) copper heat pipes, one of which is a plump 10mm, along with a primary “hybrid” fan that has two sets of fan blades to blow air in two directions at once. The cooler takes up two PCIe slots, and has an aluminum backplate wrapped around it to help support the cooler and dissipate heat across the top of the card. Our favorite feature of this cooler is that it can be detached from the card with just four screws, making it easy to clean before company comes over.
Note: This review was originally featured in the November 2013 issue of the magazine.
AMD has proven itself to be quite the resilient company over the years. No matter how bad the financial situation looks at times, the Sunnyvale chip designer always manages to find a way to stay afloat, and it's not always through desktop and/or laptop processors. AMD's graphics division has been a saving grace of sorts, and by landing a lucrative contract to supply Apple's new Mac Pro systems with FirePro parts, it could end up with a significant share of the professional graphics market.
Every power user has a set of go-to programs and utilities that he or she carries around on a USB thumb drive. One that should be included is GPU-Z, a lightweight utility that takes up all of 1.3MB or 1.4MB of space (depending on whether you want the standard version or the one with an Asus ROG skin). Even though it has a teeny-tiny footprint, it can tell an awful lot about your graphics card, which can come in handy when troubleshooting. The newest update -- version 0.7.5 -- released today adds support for 12 more discrete GPUs and an additional integrated GPU.
It's starting to get a little bit easier to find AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards in stock, but before you pounce on one, you may want to hold off and see what XFX is cooking up. The enthusiast brand is supposedly working on a custom cooled Radeon R9 290X that's both quieter and much chillier than AMD's reference design, the latter of which means there's less chance of the card throttling down its clockspeed.
Less than a week after teasing a shot of a liquid cooled AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics card on its Facebook page, Powercolor has gone and introduced a retail version to market. The Powercolor LCS R9 290X uses an EK water block, the same as identified in the Facebook photo, and comes factory overclocked to 1060MHz for the core, up 60MHz over AMD's reference blueprint.
Getting wet and wild with AMD's rare Radeon R9 290X
Riddle us this: What's even harder to find than an AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics card? The answer is a liquid cooled version, which doesn't yet exist in retail (to the best of our knowledge). Even if it did, it would probably be as hard to find as every other Radeon R9 290X part, as Litecoin miners have been hording these (and other Radeon) GPUs in hopes of cashing in on the virtual currency craze.