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Radeon R7 250X Review: Reprising Radeon HD 7770 At $100

Radeon R7 250X Review: Reprising Radeon HD 7770 At $100
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AMD's name might be new, but we're already intimately familiar with its Radeon R7 250X (formerly known as the Radeon HD 7770). Can AMD take an old piece of hardware and turn it into something you want to spend money on in 2014? Let's have a quick look...

Except for the Radeon R9 290-series cards, sporting AMD's Hawaii GPU, all of the other Radeon R7 and R9 boards we've seen are re-branded versions of the Radeon HD 7000 family. The Radeon R9 280X falls between the Radeon HD 7970 and 7970 GHz Edition. The Radeon R7 270 and 270X are based on the Pitcairn GPU. The Radeon R7 260X hosts the same graphics processor as the Radeon HD 7790.

Clearly, the company feels that the first-generation GCN graphics cards still have a lot to offer, especially with a handful of clock rate tweaks. We wouldn't necessarily disagree; the Radeon line-up offers a viable spectrum of performance, from the entry-level Radeon R7 240 to the flagship Radeon R9 290X.

We'd obviously prefer to be testing genuinely new hardware, rather than re-badged versions of old models. With that said, there seems to be a formula for making already-seen graphics cards more successful: increase performance and reduce price. We saw this from Nvidia's GeForce GTX 770 which, at launch, was essentially a highly overclocked GeForce GTX 680 with a $50 price cut. Even more impressive was AMD's Radeon R9 280X, which surfaced looking a lot like an overclocked Radeon HD 7970 at its core, yet came to market $150 cheaper than the product it replaced. Of course, the R9 280X jumped to $470 shortly thereafter, while the GTX 770 fell to $320, but that's another story...

With all of that in mind, when AMD told us that it was re-badging the Radeon HD 7770 as a "new" Radeon R7 250X, we were really hoping the company would increase clock rates and drop the price so we could get excited about it. Disappointingly, the frequencies aren't changing, though AMD claims pricing should fall to $100 (as of this writing, there is no online availability to confirm).


GeForce GTX 650 Ti
Radeon R7 250
GDDR5
Radeon HD 7770 / Radeon R7 250X
Radeon R7 260
Radeon R7 260X
Shaders
768384
640
768
896
Texture Units
64
24
40
48
56
ROPs
168
16
16
16
Process Technology
28 nm (Kepler)
28 nm (GCN)
28 nm (GCN)
28 nm (GCN)
28 nm (GCN)
Core/Boost Clock
925 MHz1000/1050
MHz
1 GHz
1000 MHz
1100 MHz
Memory Clock
1350 MHz
1150 MHz
1125 MHz
1500 MHz
1625 MHz
Memory Bus
128-bit128-bit
128-bit128-bit128-bit
Memory Bandwidth
86.4 GB/s73.6 GB/s
72 GB/s
96 GB/s
104 GB/s
Graphics Memory
 1 or 2 GB GDDR5
1 or 2 GB GDDR5
1 or 2 GB GDDR5
 1 or 2 GB GDDR51 or 2 GB GDDR5
Power Connectors
1 x 6-pin
N/A
1 x 6-pin1 x 6-pin1 x 6-pin
Maximum TDP
110 W
60 W
80 W
95 W
115 W
Newegg Price Range
$110-$180
$90 to $133
Radeon HD 7770:
$110-$170
$125-$140
$130 to $150
Typical Newegg Price
$130
$90
Radeon HD 7770:
$110
Radeon R7 250X:
$99 MSRP

$132
$130

A $100 mark sounds really nice compared to the Radeon HD 7770's $160 when it launched. But it looks a lot less impressive after a look on Newegg. The 7770 has shown up for as little as $100, although the current average lands around $110. If the the R7 250X can keep that figure down at $100, we'll certainly take the discount. Though, again, it's not something we're going to get excited about.

To be frank, if I didn't think that the Radeon HD 7770 was such an important mainstream graphics card in the first place, I would have probably posted a small news item about the name change and continued on with my work. But in my opinion, the HD 7770 (and now R7 250X) is the most important budget-oriented graphics card available. At $110, it's the cheapest option that lets you play most games comfortably at 1920x1080 with low to medium detail settings.

If you're interested in the technical aspects and features of AMD's Cape Verde GPU, check out AMD Radeon HD 7770 And 7750 Review: Familiar Speed, Less Power. Today's story focuses on gaming performance and value calculations. So, let's get on with the benchmarks.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    cleeve , February 10, 2014 1:53 PM
    Quote:
    Why do the reviewers keep using a 2500K?


    Why wouldn't we? What's wrong with an overclocked 2500K?
  • 14 Hide
    cleeve , February 10, 2014 1:55 PM
    Quote:
    why would you get this card? why not get the 7770 that's now in the same price range and has 256 more shaders instead. I mean the r250 is the same as the 7700 in every way except the 7700 has 640 more shaders compared to the r250's 384. so it wouldn't make sense to buy an r250 esp now since the 7700 is in the same price range.


    If you read this review you would see that the R7 250X is *exactly* the same as the 7770.

    It does not have 384 shaders, it has 640. You're thinking of the R7 250, not the new R7 250X. ;) 

  • 12 Hide
    cleeve , February 10, 2014 5:56 PM
    Quote:
    I really dislike the way that the performance numbers for these low-end cards are only shown compared to other low-end cards. To see the big picture, we really need to see a much wider array of boards.


    We'll have to agree to disagree on that. We use detail settings that make sense for the boards we test.

    Seeing a 290X get 200 FPS at low settings doesn't provide much insight, nor does it make sense to use high resolutions and details playable on the 290X that deliver 8 FPS on low-end cards.

    Quote:
    Also, what's with the exaggerated Newegg hints? Yeah, we get it.... they sponsor you. But tailoring your articles to drop their name? Geez.


    That's not how it works, Achoo. I mention Newegg because I use them as a price indicator, not because we have any directive to do so.

    The content management system will automatically target any keywords that pay and highlight them as links. Welcome to the future...
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    rolli59 , February 10, 2014 12:35 PM
    Renaming is a trend nowadays so no surprises!
  • 0 Hide
    icraft , February 10, 2014 12:38 PM
    Eh. I used the HD 7770, and while it is a good budget card, it had its issues. They should have put much faster memory on there, especially for 2GB cards, and bumped core to 1100 or better. My card saw better performance with a 200Mhz memory bump than with a 100Mhz core bump, so memory bandwidth is an issue here.
  • 21 Hide
    cleeve , February 10, 2014 1:53 PM
    Quote:
    Why do the reviewers keep using a 2500K?


    Why wouldn't we? What's wrong with an overclocked 2500K?
  • 14 Hide
    cleeve , February 10, 2014 1:55 PM
    Quote:
    why would you get this card? why not get the 7770 that's now in the same price range and has 256 more shaders instead. I mean the r250 is the same as the 7700 in every way except the 7700 has 640 more shaders compared to the r250's 384. so it wouldn't make sense to buy an r250 esp now since the 7700 is in the same price range.


    If you read this review you would see that the R7 250X is *exactly* the same as the 7770.

    It does not have 384 shaders, it has 640. You're thinking of the R7 250, not the new R7 250X. ;) 

  • 1 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , February 10, 2014 2:07 PM
    Some might say it's unfair to NVidia and Intel, but R7s HAVE to be paired with a Kevari in reviews for people to really get a sense of the options provided by AMD these days. It's just soo relevant. And with games supporting Mantle as well. ASAP. Battlefield already does... Isn't the time more than ripe for people to get a feel for what the future may hold? Personally I've ran the swarm stress test Mantle demo and I know there is a massive difference between D3D and Mantle in both performance and quality. Fair enough... I have a 280x and an Intel 4670 cpu - I'm pretty much agnostic about brands. But I'd sincerely love to see what AMD has actually been cooking up on the entry level.
  • 1 Hide
    tourist , February 10, 2014 2:37 PM
    Why use dx10 for metro test ? And no it is not explained in the review.
  • 7 Hide
    InvalidError , February 10, 2014 3:59 PM
    Quote:
    Why do the reviewers keep using a 2500K?

    Because:
    1) it works
    2) for most games and low/mid-range GPUs, it is also just about as fast as the fastest current CPUs so there is no actual urge to use the highest-powered, newest and latest CPUs available.
  • -6 Hide
    Immaculate , February 10, 2014 4:03 PM
    @Cleeve , Nothing is really wrong with it. Just saying I know you guys got 4670Ks to use.
    You can't even buy a 2500K new. Use something newer that a new build with this card might actually have in it or be able to buy new.
  • 5 Hide
    Brian Redelings , February 10, 2014 5:14 PM
    Meh. I literally JUST bought a Saphire Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition for $99 on newegg.
  • 0 Hide
    Damon Palovaara , February 10, 2014 5:15 PM
    I think they made a good moveIt should have Mantle support since it's part of the new r7 lineup which will benefit those who have quad-core processors. Also there is a price drop so it's pretty attractive
  • 12 Hide
    cleeve , February 10, 2014 5:19 PM
    Quote:
    cleeve I did read it, maybe you should actually read what I wrote I was talking about the r250 not r250x. like I said it doesn't make sense to buy a r250 when you can find 7770's as cheap or even an r250x rebrand for the same price an an r250.


    You're kidding, right?

    You responded to a thread titled:

    "Radeon R7 250X Review: Reprising Radeon HD 7770 At $100"

    with the words:

    "why would you get this card? why not get the 7770 that's now in the same price range and has 256 more shaders instead."

    ...I mean, come on. That doesn't make a lot of sense in context.
  • 11 Hide
    cleeve , February 10, 2014 5:20 PM
    Quote:
    @Cleeve , Nothing is really wrong with it. Just saying I know you guys got 4670Ks to use.
    You can't even buy a 2500K new. Use something newer that a new build with this card might actually have in it or be able to buy new.


    An overclocked 2500K is worlds faster than a stock 4650K. Stock they're incredibly close when it comes to gaming.

    Really, Intel hasn't improved IPC much since Sandy Bridge. Ivy and Haswell have been all about graphics improvements.
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , February 10, 2014 5:34 PM
    Quote:
    @Cleeve , Nothing is really wrong with it. Just saying I know you guys got 4670Ks to use.

    They may have some i5-4670k rigs but that does not mean all reviewers have access to it: individual reviewers have their own permanent rigs based on their long-term testing requirements (act as a reference CPU so all future benchmarks for the foreseeable future remain valid comparisons against the original rig) and other parts may get shuffled around between reviewers located in different cities, states or even countries. Using "one of their 4670k" is easier said than done if the reviewer lives 500km from the nearest other THG reviewer who happens to have one to spare.
  • 12 Hide
    cleeve , February 10, 2014 5:56 PM
    Quote:
    I really dislike the way that the performance numbers for these low-end cards are only shown compared to other low-end cards. To see the big picture, we really need to see a much wider array of boards.


    We'll have to agree to disagree on that. We use detail settings that make sense for the boards we test.

    Seeing a 290X get 200 FPS at low settings doesn't provide much insight, nor does it make sense to use high resolutions and details playable on the 290X that deliver 8 FPS on low-end cards.

    Quote:
    Also, what's with the exaggerated Newegg hints? Yeah, we get it.... they sponsor you. But tailoring your articles to drop their name? Geez.


    That's not how it works, Achoo. I mention Newegg because I use them as a price indicator, not because we have any directive to do so.

    The content management system will automatically target any keywords that pay and highlight them as links. Welcome to the future...
  • 3 Hide
    InvalidError , February 10, 2014 8:36 PM
    Quote:
    To see the big picture, we really need to see a much wider array of boards.

    Most people shopping for a new graphics card already know either the price range or performance level they are interested in and ignore anything that is more than about a rung up/down from that since this is all they usually need to confirm that prices seem to line up with expectations.

    Having more models for a full-blown roundup/chart, sure. But for a review more intended to pin down for whom this model may make sense, comparing it to its nearest equivalents and next models up/down the food chain is fair enough IMO.
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