AMD Radeon R9 290X
Ladies and gentlemen, the day we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. Months after its announcement by AMD in Hawaii, we have finally gotten our hands on the company’s flagship graphics card, the Radeon R9 290X. So, without further ado, here’s our review of the R9 290X.
Off the bat, let’s start with some of the current information about the card. The R9 290X is actually part of AMD’s new initiative to further its new HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) programming. The most impressive aspect of the R9 290X, however, is that it holds the title of being the first graphics cards ever made with a 512-bit memory bandwidth. This large bandwidth implementation means that AMD has given communication between the R9 290X’s GPU core and memory core even more breathing room between loads, thus eliminating any possible memory bottlenecks.
While on the subject of coolers, we should probably mention that the R9 290X, by design, peaks at a temperature of 95 degrees Celsius. If you think that that is too high, it’s important to remember that not too long ago, it was NVIDIA who was saying that it was perfectly normal for a graphics card to be running at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius (read: boiling point).
Another thing that you will notice on the R9 290X is that the card does not have any CrossFire X ports. That’s right, the CrossFire X ports that are usually found on top of the card are no longer there, as AMD has made doubly sure that this card can run with another card in CrossFire X mode on a software level, thus negating the need for a physical CrossFire X bridge.
Notably, the R9 290X also comes built with its performance switch at the top. The card has two modes: Quiet and Uber mode. Quiet mode makes the card’s fan speed sound less aggressive at a slight cost of performance, while Uber mode pushes your card to its maximum potential, but does so with an audible and hardworking fan.
In terms of benchmarks, the R9 290X aced 3DMark’s Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme benchmarks. Without overclocking, the card scored 9,452 and and 4,894 for Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme respectively. While we did try to overclock the card a little further, we should also mention that out of the box, the R9 290X actually comes quite aggressively overclocked (courtesy of AMD) and that there were no real significant difference in performance, even after we up’d the GPU clock speed by 10 percent.
Real-time performance was no sweat for the R9 290X. On Crysis 3, the game hovered between 42 and 70 FPS with MSAA maxed out. On Arkham City, the card held its own with an average of 60 FPS with MSAA maxed out as well.
Say what you will about AMD, but its graphics cards aren’t just built to perform, they are built to impress. In short: if you’re looking for power away and beyond NVIDIA’s lineup, then this is a card that you want inside your PC.
The card is clocked to the wall by default.