AMD Radeon R9 290X Review: Challenging the Titan at half the price

By Julio Franco
Oct 24, 2013
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  1. victor123

    victor123 Newcomer, in training

    Waiting eagerly for the custom coolers, that will sort out noise and temp issues. Custom coolers will show the full potential of 290x card.
  2. Phillip Seni

    Phillip Seni Newcomer, in training Posts: 26

    and people wonder why we have global warming. :p
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,257   +110

    I invite you to try looking into flashing to bios that allows some higher voltage. Depending on which GTX780 you have, you may be able to get another 100mhz or more (watch temperatures).
    Burty117 likes this.
  4. amstech

    amstech TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 761   +178

    It's only 5-10FPS faster then a 780? I was expecting more from all the hype. Still, nice to see AMD grab the single GPU crown. The 680 never let the 7970 be a clear winner but for now this 290X looks the part.
  5. slamscaper

    slamscaper TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 102   +10

    Very impressive. The R290X is definitely a force to be reckoned with. I like the direction AMD is headed in as of late. It's a shame that the rest of their 2xx series is somewhat lackluster, however at least they are competitive.
  6. TheBigFatClown

    TheBigFatClown TechSpot Booster Posts: 338   +115

    "cramming 7080 million transistors"

    Well, at least this guy is consistent. :) I would have simply said 7+ billion transistors or 7.1 billion.

    It's a little unorthodox don't you think? Most people would just say 2 billion. No big deal really, just unusual to me.
  7. I might be wrong, but I think the 99th Percentile Frame Time graphs should read (Lower is Better), not (Higher is Better).
    Otherwise, great article, thanks for including GTX660 Ti in the comparison.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,098   +1,189

    Which graph is listed as (Higher is Better)? Unless they have already been edited, I didn't see one and looked at all of them.
  9. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,366   +261

    I have been thinking about this but it is literally the stock cooler and BIOS from Nvidia with PNY's sticker on the fan, I am extremely happy with the 780 setup though, my PSU fan doesn't even spin because it doesn't take enough power for it to get warm. The Cooler is quiet as hell as well so to be honest I'm quite happy to just get another 780 once the prices drop a bit, I'm gaming at 1440p as well so it anything getting another card will actually help.

    If I wanted to flash the BIOS though to a Firmware which keeps the clocks high (At the moment I'm using EVGA precision) is that possible?
  10. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,864   +402

    Lets turn the Jet Engine on high and see what happens :p, I mean they gave us Red LED's that as will make up for the 95 degrees :D

    Challenge Accepted!

    No but seriously, yea I agree, I really want to see the setting on the card to see how far it can go, im curious how high the voltage settings go. I bet with a nice liquid block I could get it up to 1100 at least before I warm up my entire apartment complex :D

    Btw Burty117, try MSI afterburner, you can set it to keep overclocks on restarts/boot up.
  11. Wagan8r

    Wagan8r TechSpot Guru Posts: 572   +37

    I just hope that this mean that NVIDIA will cut their prices all the way down the product line. I would love to pick up another GTX 670 for around $200.
    Boilerhog146 likes this.
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,098   +1,189

    It has been awhile since I have used EVGA Precision. From what I remember, voltage adjustments were the only thing I couldn't do with EVGA Precision that MSI Afterburner does. If I'm not badly mistaken both utilities allow for starting at bootup and maintaining over-clocks. Now EVGA Precision even allows for voltage adjustments, but at the time the lack there of was why I started using MSI Afterburner.
  13. Helvetio

    Helvetio Newcomer, in training

    It's wrong on all 99th Percentile Frame Time graphs in this article. If you check the article
    AMD Radeon R9 270X and R7 260X Review
    you see that the 99th Percentile Frame Time graphs have the correct (Lower is Better) caption.
  14. Helvetio

    Helvetio Newcomer, in training

    Actually, I have to correct myself, it's correct on the BioShock Infinite 99th Percentile Frame Time graph, so not all are wrong.
  15. I just looked and all the "99th Percentile" graphs say "Higher is Better."
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,098   +1,189

    So my GTX 660 (which would be relatively close to the 660Ti) having a higher count would be better than a GTX 690? I think you are misinterpreting these graphs, as lower is clearly better.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,098   +1,189

    Are you by chance looking at this from a mobile device? Because I don't understand why you would see something that does not show on mine. Everyone of the 99th Percentile graphs are labeled "Lower is Better". I hope you are not interpreting lower as being the card listed last as being better.
  18. "95C isn't necessarily an issue. What is an issue is that the card reaches its thermal limit in a relatively short period of time at stock clocks...which begs the questions
    An extended 1-2 hour gaming session. How far in before the card throttles continuously ?
    If the card reaches its thermal limit at stock then an overclock of any note -especially a stable one during extended gaming is going to problematic ?
    If the cooling is marginal, then you're going to either hold off for AIB non-reference cooling (the best course of action IMO), invest in a third-party cooler (ruining the price point), or be committed to gaming in a cold air environment."

    I was only answering the question people were asking about the 95C load temp. I wasn't implying in any way, that it shouldn't bother anyone, but just that you don't have to freak out if you see that temp.

    In fact, 95C is the target GPU temp by default in the CCC. If you look at Ryans review at (I read it and HWC's review after posting here), the cards average clocks after only FIVE minutes of playing, are 840-860MHz for the 5 or 6 games they tested, and I personally think that is insane, even at the $549 price point.

    The 290X is basically AMD's Fermi, but worse IMO, after reading above sites reviews, and seeing the comparisons those reviewers made in relation.
  19. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TechSpot Member Posts: 66

    Finally a review. thankyou..

    Reviewer said."Naturally, the R9 290X supports Crossfire, but there are no bridge connectors on this card. This makes the R9 290X the first graphics card to support Crossfire without needing a hardware strap"

    actually .I have a pair of xfx 6770's that crossfire with no bridge,and they also crossfire with a pair of 5770's that have been flashed to 6770's.that have a bridge, but they all crossfire together, any bridge required unless using just the 2 bridged cards..

    now NVidia will breakout the 780 ti and maybe a full capable Titan. oh ,hangon a sec, wasn't a 780 ti recently announced? and this 290x is already clocked to the near max.oh,and after some intense gaming its throttling already..lololololol,,, not much too see here .move along..

    @ steve, did you guys, during the review , confirm, that after high temps for a while, does the 290x in fact, begin throttling.?
  20. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TechSpot Member Posts: 66

    Wagon8r said "I just hope that this mean that NVIDIA will cut their prices all the way down the product line. I would love to pick up another GTX 670 for around $200. "

    I would like another 2 x 4 gig 670,if they come down in price enough, in coming weeks, hmmmm?,maybe pass them to backup rig and get 780's for 449.00 or less even,dreaming
  21. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,864   +402

    You can keep dreaming...The price is going to drop down to a range of 500-599 for a 780, I doubt the titan will move much because that's just how NVidia is, it may come down to 800. Even so, the 290X is still going to be the best card deal around and is a titan without the titan price.

    The 780ti is only at the rumors and slight "Leaks" phase as no official showing are out yet (At least showing specs). Even if you count in that its going to land in-between a 780-titan, its not going to beat a 290X unless it specifically smokes a titan by overclocking with the additional Cuda Cores which would already diminish the already struggling value of the titan. I mean how many people talk about buying titans anymore, its much better to buy a 780 and overclock it. When theres some actual showings, that will be the time to talk, same goes for the full titan.

    One thing im curious of: Steve Im curious if the fan profile did hit 100% at these temps, ive heard some people say 60% but I find that hard to believe the card would go to that high a temp without hitting 100%. Also is there any word on the R9 290 GPU yet?

    Im now considering just grabbing a pair of these, I would like to see how the CFX performs though without the bridge, its peaking my curiosity.
  22. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,366   +261

    Well LinusTechTips Has done the review whereby they have a stock 780 and stock R290x and overclocks both to as much as they can go:

    It seems the 780 beats it considerably in all games, it's only when you turn the res up they even out, and even then the 780 beats it by a tiny bit in all games they tested. So I guess overclocking headroom is going to be based on having some decent cooling on this thing!

    They have shown it off, just not the specs:

    But unofficially they've "been leaked":

    It seems they are going to do exactly as you said, completely diminish the already low value of the Titan, I don't think Nvidia care though, hell they'll probably just start advertising Titan for its compute capability's I guess?
  23. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,864   +402


    Ironically, I was watching that right as you posted to watch it :D

    Yea it would seem so, however as they said they push things to the limits, plus they are doing it off the stock coolers and as we have seen, unless im mistaken, the card will adjust the clocks based on heat. So we would have to really push the cooling on the card to keep the temps more in-line to actually stop the card from adjusting on the fly so much. On here, the card shows to be above the 780 more and right at a titans level in most games (Which is weird because on here Far Cry 3 smokes on the 780 and titan but on Linus they are about even).

    On the 780ti, yea that's why I phrased it that way, they have shown it, but have not put up specs other than a leak ive seen showing it having something like 2494 Cuda Cores I believe. Oh I see your link is the one I saw so yea it is 2496 Cuda Cores.

    I don't like seeing "Boost" as the official core clocks because that's up to the cards software whether its Nvidia or AMD, I prefer Base clocks because that's what your guaranteed unless the card is going to die.

    I actually read up on the new CFX handled by PCI-E and it seems to work just fine so far as I can see, I might actually be grabbing some of these for my current rig now! That was one thing I was worried was if they would handle well on PCI-E 2.0.
  24. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TechSpot Member Posts: 66

    For the record these 290x ,are hotter than my fermies.. Fermie Upsidedown cake anyone? BTX style.jpg

    though doing the Btx swap recently .really helped with GPU temps. ,should have done it when I first built it..cable management is better too.

    Pcie 3.0 Is supposed to handle the crossfire/ sli bandwidth,with ease .removing the need for a bridge.pcie 2.0 can on lower my 6770's I almost ,would bet that the 290x won't crossfire on a pcie 2.0 board? send me a pair, I'll try it..
  25. slamscaper

    slamscaper TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 102   +10

    Boilerhog, I like that system. It reminds me of my old 680i build that used very similar hardware (even the Zalman 9700 LED, lol).

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