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Report: Radeon R9-290X Won't Need CFX Bridge, to be $600

By - Source: Donanimhaber | B 30 comments

It appears that the Radeon R9-290X won't need CrossFire bridges, and that it doesn't even have the ports.

Even after the AMD Hawaii event, a lot of information about the AMD Radeon R9-290X continues to trickle out from unofficial sources, the latest being from Donanimhaber. One thing that has come to see daylight, or rather, hasn't, is the lack of CrossFire connectors on the upcoming Radeon R9-290X graphics card. At first this might have been mistaken for being part of engineering samples, though on second thought a lot of sources are pointing to the use of "Sideport" technology.

Sideport technology is an older technology, last used in the Radeon HD 4870 X2. In other cards, both AMD and Nvidia have had to use bridge connectors to allow for enough bandwidth between the cards to operate together. Recent developments though, now allow otherwise. While the first PCIe specification, PCIe v1.0, had a bandwidth of about 4 GB/s (for a 16 lane PCIe slot), the PCIe v3.0 specification has almost 16 GB/s for the same slot. The upcoming PCIe v4.0 specification doubles that yet again. As such, the PCIe ports alone might provide enough bandwidth, rendering the use of a CrossFire bridge unnecessary. 

Of course, it is very possible that this might still bring problems. For example, while most motherboards have a PCIe 3.0 x16 interface, what happens to some motherboards when more than one of these ports are populated is that a number of them (or all of them) have to share lanes, meaning that each port, or graphics card, effectively gets either eight lanes, or in some dramatic cases, just four lanes. That said, all of this is still speculation, so take it all with a grain of salt. It is very possible that AMD might not be calling it 'Sideport' technology but perhaps something else.

The AMD Radeon R9-290X is expected to hit retail starting October 15 for a rather surprising price. Numerous sources, including Softpedia, indicate that the card will cost just $599.

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  • 0 Hide
    Smawell , October 1, 2013 12:14 PM
    I had always wondered why something wasn't built into cf capable boards and cards anyways. Could have sworn I saw pics of it with them though, maybe it was an early ref model. Cool news though, one less thing to forget in future builds lol!
  • 1 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 1, 2013 12:17 PM
    Shouldn't this read "Rumor: Radeon R9-290X Won't Need CFX Bridge, to be $600" since the price is nothing more than a rumor.

    Alternatively, you can call it "Radeon R9-290X Won't Need CFX Bridge, price rumored to be $600"
  • 5 Hide
    Smawell , October 1, 2013 12:19 PM
    Quote:
    Shouldn't this read "Rumor: Radeon R9-290X Won't Need CFX Bridge, to be $600" since the price is nothing more than a rumor.

    Alternatively, you can call it "Radeon R9-290X Won't Need CFX Bridge, price rumored to be $600"


    +1 Didn't notice the price wasn't final, trusted the title too much lol
  • -7 Hide
    nikoli707 , October 1, 2013 1:09 PM
    the price will be $600. i can't understand how anyone would doubt that. makes no sense whatsoever
  • 6 Hide
    vmem , October 1, 2013 1:30 PM
    if the performance rumors and price is correct, this card will be a steal for the holiday season
  • 3 Hide
    Smawell , October 1, 2013 1:33 PM
    Would you guys recommend a cf 7950, just adding one to my existing. Or getting a new R9 this holiday? I'm leaning at cf but I hate that my PC generates so much heat in my room.
  • 0 Hide
    vmem , October 1, 2013 1:33 PM
    On a different note:

    Again, I'm an AMD fan (not fanboi) myself, but this literally means you can't CF this card on ANY AMD system until they refresh their chipset and include more x16 PCIe 3.0 lanes that are not shared. In fact, you can pretty much only do this on a few very high-end Intel boards...
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 1, 2013 1:57 PM
    This certainly won't help the situation CrossfireX is in.
  • 0 Hide
    silverblue , October 1, 2013 1:59 PM
    Isn't there an FX board with PCIe 3.0 capability?

    http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/SABERTOOTH_990FXGEN3_R20/

    Apologies if I've misinterpreted you.
  • 1 Hide
    vmem , October 1, 2013 2:16 PM
    Quote:
    Isn't there an FX board with PCIe 3.0 capability?

    http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/SABERTOOTH_990FXGEN3_R20/

    Apologies if I've misinterpreted you.


    Nope, that one only has 16X PCIe 3.0 lanes TOTAL. in CF, those will get split and shared between the two slots, or 8X PCIe 3.0 lanes, essentially the same bandwidth as two 16X PCIe 2.0 lanes. we know that a 7970 or gtx 680 can already saturate PCIe 2.0. so yeah, not enough bandwidth to run a pair of R9-290x in crossfire...
  • 1 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 1, 2013 2:22 PM
    Quote:
    Isn't there an FX board with PCIe 3.0 capability?


    There are FM2+ boards that are available. AM3+ has no native support for PCIe 3.0
  • -9 Hide
    shin0bi272 , October 1, 2013 2:24 PM
    @Smawall the hawaii is just an OC'ed 7970. So look for benchmarks for the 7970 and bump them up a little bit (say 10-20%) and that's what you'd get with R9. If you can find a bench comparing 7950 CF with 7970 you can get a pretty good idea of what performance you can expect. The only benefit to getting an R9 would be the lack of the bridge TBH.
  • 2 Hide
    kvragec , October 1, 2013 2:38 PM
    So, hi! I'm new here, so be gentle to me first few posts :) 
    I have to say one thing that i noticed that i think is wrong. The amd mobos with 990fx chipset have 2x pcie 16x. So 32 lanes per card if 2 cards are in crossfire or sli. When more pcie ports are populated then bandwith goes 16x-8x-8x, and 8x-8x-8x-8x if there are 4. Take that with grain of salt but i think i'm correct if i recall specs correctly
  • 7 Hide
    Martell1977 , October 1, 2013 2:39 PM
    @shin0bi272 - You're thinking of the 280x, which is a 7970 Ghz edition with a few tweaks. The 290x is rumored to have Titan-esque performance with a GCN 2.0 core. If true, the 290x will be an amazing deal for $600...compared to the Titan.
  • 1 Hide
    kvragec , October 1, 2013 2:40 PM
    So, i think that sideport technology would work, atleast for 2 cards in crossfire. Forgot to add that in my previous post. Sorry. Sorry for bad english and greetings from Croatia.
  • 1 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 1, 2013 3:01 PM
    Quote:
    so yeah, not enough bandwidth to run a pair of R9-290x in crossfire...


    Actually there is enough and the new crossfire feature is backwards compatible with 2.0 but there may be a slight performance penalty over 3.0 especially if you are running at x4. Any card that can run dual x16 shouldn't have any issues with bandwidth.

  • 1 Hide
    kvragec , October 1, 2013 3:14 PM
    So, i think that sideport technology would work, atleast for 2 cards in crossfire. Forgot to add that in my previous post. Sorry. Sorry for bad english and greetings from Croatia.
  • 2 Hide
    childofthekorn , October 1, 2013 3:30 PM
    I'm dying to see the respective TDP's.
  • 1 Hide
    DRosencraft , October 1, 2013 5:42 PM
    Being a little greedy, I'd like them to bump the price down another $100 bucks (Imagine getting a crossfire set for the price of a Titan). But that is a pipe dream I suppose. As for the Sideport tech, I do think the lack of seeing the crossfire bridge may be just because of the fact it was a test card. AMD thus far has been slow to even adopt PCIE 3.0 into its motherboards, so I suppose in some respects it would make sense that they might jump to 4.0 support directly, but again, that whole matter of cutting bandwidth of individual lanes when more and more are used is a roadblock. AMD would need to push for motherboard makers to make some advances there. The last thing AMD wants to have happen is for them to jump to sideport and have a ton of problems with crossfire due to lack of bandwidth, creating a storm of negativity.
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