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Oct
23
2013

AMD Radeon R9 290X: Benchmarks, Review and Teardown

Untitled Document

With a new era of UltraHD gaming upon us, AMD has unleashed its latest R9 and R7 series of graphics cards for those who are looking for a more immersive experience. With games and applications becoming more complex, the need for more powerful GPUs has also grown. Utilizing AMD's Graphic Core Next (GCN) architecture and Mantle, the new R9 and R7 series should offer an amazing gaming experience.

The Card

The R9 290X graphics card utilizes a new, fresh design that gives it the much needed aesthetic update as compared to the previous AMD cards.

Bottom

Side

Powering the AMD R9 290X requires one 6-pin and one 8-pin power cable.

Hawaii GPU

PCB

Here you can see the PCB of the AMD R9 290X with its cooler removed.

IO Ports

On the back, you'll find one display port, one HDMI port and two DVI ports.

Specifications

Base Clock     1000MHz
Memory     4GB GDDR5
Stream Processors     2816
Memory Speed     5 Gbps
Power Connectors     1x 6-pin, 1x 8-pin
Compute Performance     5.6 TFLOPS
Manufacturing Process     28nm

Test Bench

Motherboard     MSI MPower Max Motherboard
CPU     Intel 4770k
Memory     8GB Corsair Vengeance 1600Mhz
Hard Drive     250GB Western Digital Velociraptor
Power Supply     Corsair AX 1200i Power Supply

Benchmarks

Temperature

After a 15-minute burn in using Furmark, the AMD R9 290X stuck around 94° Celsius. This makes it the hottest card we have ever tested.

Graphics Tests

Bioshock Infinite

We chose to use Bioshock Infinite to test the video card due to its magnificient visual qualities and the fact that it is one of the most popluar PC games out at the moment. This will allow us to get an accurate benchmark of how the card will perform in real life scenarios. We tested the AMD Radeon R9 290X and the other graphics cards using the built-in benchmark tool under the 1920x1080 resolution with ultra graphics and DDOF enabled.

The AMD Radeon R9 290X was able to achieve 95.5 frames per second on Ultra settings while playing Bioshock Infinite. This means that you can enjoy the latest games on the highest settings without worrying about framerate.

Crysis 3

The Crysis series has always been a staple in the benchmarking world. Considered to be one of the most demanding games out on the market, we put the card through a variety of in game scenarios to determine the average frame rate. For the settings we used 4X MSAA, Very High on a 1920x1080p monitor.

Even though Crysis 3 is considered to be one of the most demanding games out there, the AMD Radeon R9 290X was able to achieve an average framerate of 50.2 fps. It was faster than the GTX 780 but slower than the GTX Titan.

Heaven 4.0

Widely used to test the capability of a GPU, Heaven benchmark puts maximum stress on the GPU allowing you to check stability issues and real time performance of the card. It also generates real-time in game video that gives the user an accurate reading of the cards capability. The settings that we used to test the cards were as follows: 1920x1080p Full Screen, 4x Multisample Anti-Aliasing, and Normal Tessellation.

In the Heaven 4.0 benchmark, the R9 290X performed better than the NVIDIA GTX 780 by a small margin. It finished with an average of 78.2 frames per second, making it slower than the GTX Titan.

3DMark Fire Strike Extreme

3DMark Fire Strike offers extensive features and unbiased results by testing the full potential of DirectX 11 hardware. It is considered to be the best option out there when trying to find out the power of one’s computer as it tests both the graphics and physics capabilities of a GPU.

In this case, the AMD R9 290X performed better than the GTX 780 and the GTX Titan. However, it should be noted that the GTX Titan was not far behind and also ran much cooler.

Compute Tests

CLBenchmark 1.1.2

CLBenchmark is a high-performance compute benchmark tool that allows you to test the CL capabilities of a GPU.

    Raytrace

Raytracing is the method in which a path of waves or particles are tracked. Raytracing is widely used in the processing of special effects of movies and real-time rendering in video games.

LuxMark 2.0

LuxMark is a 100% OpenCL accelerated ray tracer program that tests the abilities of the GPU. The ability of harnessing the GPU's power allows artist to render images and movies much faster.

Conclusion

Utilizing the new Hawaii GPU, the AMD R9 290X is an excellent choice for someone looking to crank his or her settings all the way up. It is a great OpenCL compute card and can handle the most demanding games. With AMD's Mantle API and TrueSound, the possibilities are endless as long as developers utilize the APIs that they have been provided with. Although it beat the GTX 780 and the GTX Titan in some cases, it is important to note that the card ran much hotter than the NVIDIA counterparts. It will be interesting to see how NVIDIA counters AMD's new king.

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