AMD Radeon R7 265 Review: Curaçao Slides In At $150

Test Setup And Benchmarks

We tested all of the cards in today's story with each company's latest beta drivers: Catalyst 14.1 beta 6 from AMD and 334.67 beta from Nvidia. Moreover, we used medium- to high-detail settings at 1920x1080 to give the Radeon R7 265 and its competition a realistic workload, which should strike a good balance between image quality and performance for this class of card. I'm also including screenshots to demonstrate how these detail levels appear in-game.


Test System
CPU
Intel Core i5-2550K (Sandy Bridge), Overclocked to 4.2 GHz @ 1.3 V
Motherboard
Asus P8Z77-V LX.
LGA 1155, Chipset: Intel Z77M
Networking
On-Board Gigabit LAN controller
Memory
Corsair Performance Memory, 4 x 4 GB, 1866 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-24-1T
Graphics
Sapphire Radeon R7 260X
1100 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1625 MHz (6500 MT/s)

XFX Radeon HD 7850
860 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHz (4800 MT/s)

Sapphire Radeon R7 265
925 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1400 MHz (5600 MT/s)

Reference Radeon R9 270
925 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1400 MHz (5600 MT/s)

Reference Nvidia GTX 650 Ti
925 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 1350 MHz (5400 MT/s)

Reference Nvidia GTX 650 Ti Boost
980/1033 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHz (6008 MT/s)

Reference Nvidia GTX 660
980/1033 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHz (6008 MT/s)
Hard Drive
Samsung 840 Pro, 256 GB SSD, SATA 6Gb/s
Power
XFX PRO850W, ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta 6, Nvidia GeForce 334.67 Beta

We've almost completely eliminated mechanical storage in the lab, and instead lean on solid-state drives to alleviate I/O-related bottlenecks. Samsung sent all of our offices 256 GB 840 Pros, so we standardize on these exceptional SSDs.

Naturally, discrete graphics cards require a substantial amount of stable power, so XFX sent along its PRO850W 80 PLUS Bronze-certified power supply. This modular PSU employs a single +12 V rail rated for 70 A. XFX claims that this unit provides 850 W of continuous power (not peak) at 50 degrees Celsius (a higher temperature than you'll find inside most enclosures).

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Metro: Last Light
Version 1.0.0.14, Built-in Benchmark
Grid 2
Version 1.8.85.8679, Built-in Benchmark Scene D6
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Version 1.05, Custom THG Benchmark, 40-Sec
Battlefield 4
Version 1.0.0.1, Custom THG Benchmark, 90-Sec
BioShock Infinite
Version 1.1.24.21018, Built-in Benchmark
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118 comments
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  • yankeeDDL
    I think the pricing issue is a moot point.If There's an Nvidia card at $190, an equally-performing (or slightly slower) car will be sold for $180 making a good profit, not at $150 to kill Nvidia.Card manufacturer won't benefit from Nvidia being pushed out of the market.
    -9
  • Novuake
    Compelling card, but sad that a price hike on the 270 had to force it. So seems useless now.
    0
  • meluvcookies
    A 25% increase on the R9 270 was, essentially, a betrayal of consumer trust by AMD. I was totally excited to get in at the $180 price point, but now I'm waiting for Nvidia's offerings in that neighborhood to see if they can offer anything as compelling as the 270 was a couple months ago when it was still at its original price.
    -2
  • huilun02
    War on the high end segment over.Now Jihad style attack on mid end.
    0
  • firefoxx04
    Wow, If it beats the 7850, I wonder how it stacks up against my overclocked 6850. I have two in crossfire but being limited to 1GB vram can be a hindrance. When I bought my original 6850, it was only $150 and my second was $100. I wonder what AMD has for $250 that could smoke my current setup / aka be a good single card upgrade.
    1
  • Tzn
    i am not impressed at all, if it was under 100w then yes.
    -10
  • huilun02
    Anonymous said:
    Wow, If it beats the 7850, I wonder how it stacks up against my overclocked 6850. I have two in crossfire but being limited to 1GB vram can be a hindrance. When I bought my original 6850, it was only $150 and my second was $100. I wonder what AMD has for $250 that could smoke my current setup / aka be a good single card upgrade.


    http://www.guru3d.com/news_story/amd_radeon_r9_280_in_the_works.html
    0
  • TechnoD
    All these price hikes are really becoming an issue. This card is launching at the same price I paid for my 7950 ~5 months ago.
    8
  • jin_mtvt
    And what does using more than 100W at full load has to do with this card? First we have someone complaining about not having enough " additional power pins " than someone compains about more than 100W usage on a "desktop" GPU. You are lame.Onto the pricing problem, i should not have to remind you that the prices in most of the world ( you know everywhere out of north america ) haven't followed the same trends as here . the 290 never went bozo up to 650$ in Europe ( if you use the exchange rate in position before december when the price was set ) . I would like to read more about who is really "jacking" up the prices . This card needs to be 150$, not 180$ of course , else it would be m00t .
    1
  • selvakumar13
    so you are saying that R7 265 is best GPU in this price range?
    0
  • JDFan
    Was about to order a 260x but will probably wait and see now -- The one thing keeping me from ordering twas the 128 bit memory bus since it does start to limit performance as shown in the benches. For the extra few $'s this new card with the 256 bit memory bus will be worth the wait if it actually hits at the $150 mark or below ( and should help bring down the 260x prices to $100-$120)
    1
  • irish_adam
    @meluvcookies

    AMD does not set the retail price and neither does Nvidia, it is entirely up to the board partners and retailers what is charged. If you have a complaint about the price of these boards then moan at whoever you would buy it off, they are the ones screwing you for the cash. AMD is not making more profit from it they are.

    I've honestly had enough of everyone bitching about AMD for the price of their boards, i'm sure they are just so upset that they made such an awesome compute capable GPU that they cant cant make them fast enough to keep the price down. It must be such a depressing situation for them to be in *rolls eyes*
    2
  • JDFan
    Anonymous said:
    @meluvcookies

    AMD does not set the retail price and neither does Nvidia, it is entirely up to the board partners and retailers what is charged. If you have a complaint about the price of these boards then moan at whoever you would buy it off, they are the ones screwing you for the cash. AMD is not making more profit from it they are.

    I've honestly had enough of everyone bitching about AMD for the price of their boards, i'm sure they are just so upset that they made such an awesome compute capable GPU that they cant cant make them fast enough to keep the price down. It must be such a depressing situation for them to be in *rolls eyes*


    Exactly -- it's the retailers that are the problem -- figure Newegg has to cover the market fluctuations in the Bitcoin market now as well, which is the main reason for the demand on the 290s, since they are now taking Bitcoin for payment and the extra $100-$150 increase in the market price of the cards helps cover the loss in the exchange rate of the coins from day to day so they still make their profit margin.
    \
    AMD is still getting the same $ for the parts they are shipping to the manufacturers of the cards. It is the manufacturers and retailers that are increasing their prices and limiting the availability.
    4
  • cleeve
    Anonymous said:
    so you are saying that R7 265 is best GPU in this price range?


    Yes, if it makes it to market at $150.
    8
  • mohit9206
    This is becoming too confusing with a cluster of cards within very small price gaps.240,250,250X,260,260X and now 265 all 6 cards within $70 of each other which means approx $10 gap between each card.Flooding the market with so many variants not to mention other variations like some having either DDR3 or GDDR5 memory while some having either 1 or 2GB models is bound to confuse the hell out of prospective buyers.That and the fact that 7000 series cards like 7750,7770 and 7790 are still easily available complicates the matter furthur.This is getting ridiculous.
    9
  • ElMoIsEviL
    I'm sorry but I'm getting more than a little irked by this author "Don Woligroski" he writes poor articles. I mean... this.."In short, you'll have to pardon our skepticism that Radeon R7 265 will show up on time and at the price point AMD is claiming. We've seen fingers pointed at gun-shy add-in board partners, performance-thirsty cryptocurrency miners, price-gouging retailers, and foundries unable to keep up with supply. But at the end of the day, we're left wondering why AMD is setting prices if it can't control what you pay for its hardware? After piling praise onto the Radeon R9 280X at $300 and 290X at $550, it's our credibility on the line now, and we've been burnt too many times to give you guidance on a card you can't buy yet."It's called economics 101. It is basic knowledge to most Human Beings on the surface of this planet. You may have heard of it. It is called Supply vs. Demand. In this case the Demand is incredibly high because of Litecoin, DOGEcoin and other such miners (let alone gamers and OEMs).So AMD is setting the prices by selling the boards and GPUs to the 3rd party manufacturers at the correct pricing. Where the issue stems from is AFTER this transaction. It is so obvious too.When those boards make it into the stores, they're sold instantly. Heck most have been sold prior to even arriving at the store (Retailers filling in back orders).So the issue is clearly, clearly occurring where the back order is occurring. The issue is with the Retailers not able to get enough cards to fill orders and thus raising the prices. They're the ones making the extra profits therefore they're the culprits.The reality of the situation is that if people are willing to pay these prices, then those are the market prices for AMD cards. I guess they're worth more than nVIDIA cards if people are willing to pay that much for them.AMD setting prices is only part of the equation. AMD does not own the "Market".
    -3
  • panzerknacker
    Pricing is just a matter of supply and demand. AMD can set a target price @ $150 but ultimately it are the shops deciding the final retail price. Somehow there has to be a high demand for graphics cards at the moment considering the raising prices. I guess everyone is upgrading right now, buying new systems.
    1
  • ZolaIII
    Great budget gaming card if pricing remains normal!Another god news for AMD is that Catalyst 14.1 beta fixes performance on Linux (up to 45% on R9 290).
    3
  • JDFan
    Anonymous said:
    Pricing is just a matter of supply and demand. AMD can set a target price @ $150 but ultimately it are the shops deciding the final retail price. Somehow there has to be a high demand for graphics cards at the moment considering the raising prices. I guess everyone is upgrading right now, buying new systems.


    Nope - it is more the bitcoin miners buying up as many of the high end cards as they can get their hands on to mine more coins to buy more cards with causing the price increases at the moment - once the bitcoin market settles down and the price of the coins stabilizes there will be a flood of used cards available bringing the price way down but for now the high end cards are in short supply and thus the mid range cards are now increasing as well since those that would normally buy the higher end cards are being priced out and the supply is limited so they are now buying 2 mid level cards for crossfire setups rather than a single high end card they can not get so the mid level cards are also seeing higher demand in the short run.
    1
  • TechieNewbie
    @ElMoIsEviL (Quote button is being finicky with me) I think Don qualifies his skepticism very well. If 3rd party manufacturers and Coin miners cause the price for this card to raise much above the 150 mark then it's really a wash between it and the 660 (especially for gamers and double especially for gamers using custom loops as heat is no longer as much of an issue). Also I think it was wise of Don to cite AMD's recent track record with pricing and launching cards. I don't think this is simply a case of supply and demand as AMD isn't in control of the price once the boards/GPU's are out of their hands. If these cards sell out at their current price then raise even a small factor, I might as well spend the extra 20 bucks for a few extra frames. Of course who knows the overclocking potential.I hope this comes out at the price AMD is quoting since my 6850 is getting a bit long in the tooth and I would like to finally take the plunge into custom loop cooling. Having two of these would be nice. Although... Maxwell looms (supposedly) so who knows.
    2