AMD Radeon R9 290 Review: Hawaii Just Got Cheaper

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How We Configured Our Test Systems: We tested the graphics cards in this article on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard powered by a Core i7-3960X six-core processor and 16GB of G.SKILL DDR3-1866 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system UEFI and set all values to their "high performance" default settings and disable any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The memory's X.M.P. profile was enabled to ensure better-than-stock performance and the hard drive was then formatted and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the installation was complete, we fully updated the OS and installed the latest DirectX redist along with all of the drivers, games, and benchmark tools necessary to complete our tests.

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7-3960X
(3.3GHz, Six-Core)
Asus P9X79 Deluxe
(Intel X79 Express)

Radeon R9 290
Radeon R9 290x
Radeon R9 280x
Radeon R7 270x
Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost
GeForce GTX Titan
GeForce GTX 760
GeForce GTX 770
GeForce GTX 780

Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX April 2011 Redist
AMD Catalyst v13.11b1/b8
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v331.40/331.70

Benchmarks Used:
Unigine Heaven v4
3DMark "Fire Strike"
Bioshock Infinite
Hitman: Absolution
Alien vs. Predator
Metro Last Light
Sleeping Dogs
Crysis 3

Unigine Heaven v4.0 Benchmark
Pseudo-DirectX 11 Gaming

Unigine Heaven v4.0

Unigine's Heaven Benchmark v4.0 is built around the Unigine game engine. Unigine is a cross-platform, real-time 3D engine, with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark--when run in DX11 mode--also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion). It also features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering.

The Radeon R9 290 put up some decent numbers in the Unigine Heaven benchmark, easily besting the R9 280X and coming within striking distance of the Radeon R9 290X and high-end GeForce cards, but GTX 780 and Titan had a clear advantage in this test.

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jun one year ago

You didn't list the price. Well I found out its $399. An R9 for that price sounds great but its out of my price range /_\. Still waiting for the Geforce 800 series, or the Radeon equivalent.

Marco c one year ago

Perhaps you missed the part where I say, "AMD is launching the Radeon R9 290 at $399, which is $100 below the GeForce GTX 780’s just-reduced price of $499."

DaveMoritz one year ago

Every time I have tried a radeon card I have been burned!

ChadLute one year ago

I've had the same experience with Nvidia I had 3 Nvidia cards in a row suffer from memory failure within a month or so each... my last AMD worked for over 5 years before it started to fail (and I game allot!)

DaveMoritz one year ago

The last AMD/Radeon card I had would not load all the textures in GTA iv and the game would crash plus some other issues with some other games. As soon as I got a Nvidia EVGA card all issues went away.

marco c one year ago

Update: We have pulled our recommendation of the Radeon R9 290. We have been able to replicate the throttling issues some others have reported with certain workloads and performance of the card dipped by over 15%. We will continue to investigate and revisit the issue when we have more data and AMD has provided some insight into their plans to address the issues.

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