Radeon R9 290X Review: AMD's Back In Ultra-High-End Gaming

CrossFire: Battlefield 3 At 7680x1440

Radeon R9 290X scales well in Battlefield 3. A win with one card turns into a win with two, even if both hardware combinations manage frame rates that appear plenty-playable.

Charting frame rate over time shows that AMD's advantage comes from the beginning of the benchmark, inside an aircraft carrier.

A CrossFire'd configuration does incur higher variance, though. Here's the thing: it's subjectively really hard to tell the practical difference between two Titans and two R9 290X cards in this game. There is clear tearing and stutter from both solutions, but this is a persistent issue with Battlefield that I'd chalk up to DICE's engine, rather than a multi-GPU technology.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • markem
    The R9 290X just pawned the 780 and titan in performance and price.. Waiting for world records to get smashed soon.

    I will be buying 2X 290X with 2X water blocks
  • markem
    Only article not biased but fair.. Most articles either delayed to see what others were putting out, or used really low resolutions and settings.

    I cant believe Anandtech article still isn't up... They cant seem to make their minds up.. dodgy as hell
  • mauller07
    You forgot that aureal provided first order audio reflections (reverb being sum of them from all sources) and audio occlusion which still surpasses current audio engines, current 3d surround only down samples 7.1 to stereo. Also they calculated all this taking into account the materials the reflections and occlusions were cast on.

    When they said the reverberations calculasions for the environment would take 15% of a CPU core, they meant for one sound where as the audio dsp can do it for hundreds with lower latency which is why even a current high end CPU cannot do what aureal did and now what amd is picking back up on.
  • technogiant
    So just how does this power tune work then?.....If I set a +20% power limit would that just increase vcore by 20%.....if so is that a static setting or a maximum setting....I guess that is variable as power tune varies clocks and voltage depending on temperature.

    But if it altering vcore how does that impact your overclock stability.....I'm interested as I've got an extreme cooling solution (complete submersion in -30c phase change liquid).
  • coozie7
    " And our next request comes from Bob in his computer room. Hi Bob, what can we play for you?"
    "Didn't you used to be in artillery, Bob?"
    "NO, JUST GOT A R9 290!"
    "OK, for you Bob, here's Paint It Black by the awesome Rolling Stones!"
  • bumnut53
    Its an impressive card no doubt about it, but almost as loud as crossfire 7970's is too loud for me.
  • Kalzakov
    WTS Titan
  • LePhuronn
    Performance for the price is impressive, but as I feared AMD just haven't got the elegance correct - still too power hungry and loud. Also it seems that the Hawaii chip is pretty close to its limits to hit this performance level, whereas GTX 780 and Titan have room to manoeuvre.

    Put them both under water and crank to the maximum and then see what we have. Yes, the 290X is arguably the best card now at stock, but I'm inclined to believe the Titan is still the greatest card overall.
  • RobCrezz
    Great performance for the money. Hopefully Asus/MSI etc will do a better job of the cooling, and keep the noise down.
  • jkay6969
    @All Titan Lovers, Yes Titan SHOULD be the Daddy, the one card to rule them all but it's not!?!? It seems to be very badly balanced, I believe it was released as the paper spec dream, like a top end Corvette, on paper it ticks all the boxes to be a supercar but first corner you're face first into a wall.

    When I saw the specs of the Titan I honestly thought it would change everything but it has just showed how arrogant nVidia is right now to think it's worth £850+ when even their own GTX 780 at £500ish beats it on occasion. nVidia you're not intel, not even close so stop acting like it or you WILL get burned!

    Kudos to AMD for fighting back with a high performance, low cost option. Who cares if it's loud, 3rd parties will take care of that, the important thing is nVidia drops their prices to match.

    Now AMD just needs to release a PCIe 3.0 motherboard to use this card with their CPU range. Why haven't you already AMD? WHY?
  • LePhuronn

    It's not arrogance from Nvidia to produce the Titan, far from it. The Titan was always intended to be a technical exercise in the very best they could produce, much like the GTX 690 was. As a result, the Titan's price was intentionally inflated, again just like the 690.

    But Nvidia didn't see the Titan becoming so popular, hence it became a full production card.

    The kick comes from the GTX 780 being a cut-down Titan and hence near matching the performance. I should image the GTX 780 Ti will be the same as the Titan, just without 6GB RAM.

    The Titan raised the bar and gave AMD something to aim at. And with the 6GB RAM onboard, I still don't see the Titan's price coming down - you STILL need that much RAM to 4K game properly.
  • brianthesnail
    lets keep things simple ... the R9 290X is a exceptional card in these tough economic times ... ok the odd city banker can afford a GTX titan but for the majority of pc gamers £800 is what you will spend on a gaming pc and not a graphic card
    but AMD have saved the day again ... the R7 and R9 series now give the average gamer a chance to experience high resolution gaming without having to mortgage the house or sell the car !
    when the board partners start to release their own versions of the new AMD cards then you will see better cooling solutions and more competitive prices ....and that's good news for us everyday "cash strapped" gamers
    however the most interesting aspect of the R7 and R9 cards is the mantle support ... this may turn out to be a evolution in the way your graphic card operates .. and battlefield 4 will be the first game to support mantle ( around dec 2013 )
    excellent review !
  • CyberAngel
    Just wait and see - better cooling solutions will arrive
    together with new, improved drivers - there's great potential.
    But take a note: Nvidia is not sitting still...let the Battle of Titan's begin!!
    GTX titan 3GB GDDR5?
  • LePhuronn
    Anonymous said:
    GTX titan 3GB GDDR5?


    Although sometimes my Titan only reports 4GB :??:
  • 9a3iqa
    Best GPU in the world right now, I will get one next month when the custom coolers from Sapphire, MSI and Gigabyte are released as that will make it cool + allow high overclockability.

    Can't wait!
  • cyrusbe
    I ordered the 290X and a arctic accelero hybrid. I think even better aircooler design will hold back the performance when the cards are installed in a case without superior airflow. I'm curious how its going to behave with the hybrid. As for the cost, reference Card with hybrid cooler will be in line with aftermarket cooler cards prices...