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R9 270X: Pitcairn Gets A Little Boost

AMD Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, And R7 260X: Old GPUs, New Names
By , Igor Wallossek

AMD is introducing a handful of new model names today, based on existing GPUs. Do the company's price adjustments make this introduction newsworthy, or will the excitement need to wait for its upcoming Radeon R9 290 and 290X, based on fresh silicon?

When the Radeon HD 7870 launched, it sold for $350. Now, you can find the cards going for somewhere between $185 and $200. Incidentally, AMD wants to introduce its R9 270X, based on an ASIC it’s calling Curacao (but is every bit similar to Pitcairn on paper), at the upper end of that same range: $200.

Although this isn’t nearly the savings story we heard from the R9 280X, AMD probably isn’t feeling pressured by the 270X’s primary competition. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 660 with 2 GB is currently selling for about $200 as well, and it doesn’t keep up with Pitcairn (just prior to launch, Nvidia announced the 660 is dropping to $180).

Fortunately, for roughly the same price, AMD does bolster the R9 270X’s performance a little.

The Radeon HD 7870 had a Pitcairn GPU with 1280 shaders, 80 texture units, and 32 ROPs on it. A 1000 MHz core and 1200 MHz memory clock were ample for a solid gaming experience at 1920x1080, and an aggregate 256-bit bus with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory helped facilitate high detail settings.

Likewise, R9 270X brings to bear 1280 shaders, 80 texture units, and 32 ROPs. Its Curacao GPU notches up 50 MHz to 1.05 GHz, and the 2 GB of GDDR5 on our press sample runs at 1400 MHz (or 5.6 GT/s). There will be 4 GB models, AMD says, but they’ll be a bit pricier than the 2 GB version’s $200. Whereas the 7870 bore a 175 W board power, R9 270X is rated for 180 W. Fortunately, the small bump is meager enough that you’ll still find yourself using two six-pin auxiliary connectors.

Third-party implementations will likely differ in the display outputs that get exposed, but AMD’s reference model features two DVI outputs, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

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Top Comments
  • 55 Hide
    cangelini , October 7, 2013 9:51 PM
    Hate? The R9 280X won an *award*. I think Tahiti at $300 is pretty much brilliant.

    I wrote one of the least flattering GTX 780 stories out there. I only identified a couple of situations where a Titan made any sense at all. And although the 760 *did* change the balance at $250, that card still didn't get an award. I liked the 770 for the simple fact that it delivered better-than-680 performance for close to $100 less.

    The rest of AMD's new line-up is a lot like what exists already. Again, the 7870 is a better value than 270X. So what are you getting worked up over? The fact that I'm pointing out these aren't new GPUs? They're not. ;) 
  • 27 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 7, 2013 9:26 PM
    So long story short, if you have a HD7970GHz then these do nothing for you.

    Best to hold out till the reviews on the R9-290X I guess. But considering the specs I hope for at least 20% performance increases over a 7970.
  • 21 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , October 7, 2013 10:35 PM
    Would have been nice to see the 770 in there.
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 7, 2013 9:26 PM
    Nothing revolutionary but better prices I suppose.

    The MSI R9 280X Gaming at $299 appears to outperform the GTX 770 at 1600P and is within margin of error at 1080P according to Techpowerup. Not a bad value at $100 less and still overclocks well:



    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/R9_280X_Gaming/26.html
  • 27 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 7, 2013 9:26 PM
    So long story short, if you have a HD7970GHz then these do nothing for you.

    Best to hold out till the reviews on the R9-290X I guess. But considering the specs I hope for at least 20% performance increases over a 7970.
  • 17 Hide
    BigMack70 , October 7, 2013 9:40 PM
    I don't like this new strategy AMD and Nvidia are taking of rebranding an old series at improved price points and then releasing only one new chip at a stupidly expensive price point.

    Are the days of (nearly) annual simultaneous full line GPU launches from $100-500 with a dual GPU chip to follow at $750-1000 really over?
  • 55 Hide
    cangelini , October 7, 2013 9:51 PM
    Hate? The R9 280X won an *award*. I think Tahiti at $300 is pretty much brilliant.

    I wrote one of the least flattering GTX 780 stories out there. I only identified a couple of situations where a Titan made any sense at all. And although the 760 *did* change the balance at $250, that card still didn't get an award. I liked the 770 for the simple fact that it delivered better-than-680 performance for close to $100 less.

    The rest of AMD's new line-up is a lot like what exists already. Again, the 7870 is a better value than 270X. So what are you getting worked up over? The fact that I'm pointing out these aren't new GPUs? They're not. ;) 
  • 3 Hide
    Shankovich , October 7, 2013 10:01 PM
    Ok Chris, I agree with you, sorry for the over reaction. But I really don't like how nVidia made price increases for some of the rebrands. Looking forward to your 290 and 290X reviews :D 
  • -3 Hide
    ingtar33 , October 7, 2013 10:14 PM
    i'll take a 7950 at $129 thank you very much (or two). There is a major retailer selling them for that this week. Best buy all year. two 7950s for the price of one r9-280x? yeah... i'll do that all day every day.
  • 5 Hide
    tomfreak , October 7, 2013 10:23 PM
    Radeon 7790 has true Audio = but not enabled boooooo = as a 7790 owner I somewhat disappointed :(  . Anyone have any idea if we can crossfire 1GB 7790 and 2GB 260x?
  • 0 Hide
    net_nakul , October 7, 2013 10:27 PM
    By the time a R9 380X comes out, the GCN Tahiti XT achitecture may be 4 years old (assuming end of 2015). AMD better come up with an awesome new architecture by then, considering the R&D time they have.

    That goes to you too Mr. NVIDIA
  • 4 Hide
    ingtar33 , October 7, 2013 10:28 PM
    Quote:
    Radeon 7790 has true Audio = but not enabled = as a 7790 owner I somewhat disappointing :(  . Anyone have any idea if we can crossfire 1GB 7790 and 2GB 260x?


    you won't want to. the 260 is more expensive, and you'll only get 1gb of it's memory in a xfire with a 7790. (in xfire/sli, the video memory is duplicated on both cards... not shared... so the total memory of the xfire/sli setup is equal to the smallest total mememory on each of the cards. so a 2gb + 1 gb gpu in xfire will have basically 1gb of vram for the xfire setup.
  • 21 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , October 7, 2013 10:35 PM
    Would have been nice to see the 770 in there.
  • 3 Hide
    tomfreak , October 7, 2013 10:37 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Radeon 7790 has true Audio = but not enabled = as a 7790 owner I somewhat disappointing :(  . Anyone have any idea if we can crossfire 1GB 7790 and 2GB 260x?


    you won't want to. the 260 is more expensive, and you'll only get 1gb of it's memory in a xfire with a 7790. (in xfire/sli, the video memory is duplicated on both cards... not shared... so the total memory of the xfire/sli setup is equal to the smallest total mememory on each of the cards. so a 2gb + 1 gb gpu in xfire will have basically 1gb of vram for the xfire setup.
    I know crossfire dont add up VRAM, I was just curious if it can crossfire or not since it is diff VRAM.

    the true audio thing is still a mystery. We have to see if this thing really takes off or not. If this thing is at least has a just small success like physyx, I guess I wont mind shelling out just extra $10-20 for it.
  • -2 Hide
    ingtar33 , October 7, 2013 10:39 PM
    Quote:
    Would have been nice to see the 770 in there.


    the 7970/r9-280x is not competing in the 770's price bracket anymore. the 770 is 400 min... until that price comes down reviewing it against the 7970 would make as much sense as reviewing a 7950 against a gtx 650.
  • 7 Hide
    cangelini , October 7, 2013 10:40 PM
    Someone, that would have been the next card to add if I had time after getting 10 boards benchmarked in time for this. I'll add to these numbers for the next launch though, don't worry!
  • 0 Hide
    Novuake , October 7, 2013 11:41 PM
    I am happy with this IF the R290X shapes up to be a decent board at a decent price...
  • 3 Hide
    blackjackedy , October 7, 2013 11:47 PM
    Quote:
    i'll take a 7950 at $129 thank you very much (or two). There is a major retailer selling them for that this week. Best buy all year. two 7950s for the price of one r9-280x? yeah... i'll do that all day every day.


    What retailer is doing this deal? I've been holding out to upgrade my 5850 for a while now and a pair of these would be a nice little (gigantic) upgrade
  • -4 Hide
    Novuake , October 8, 2013 12:01 AM
    I hope that the XFX cards are not as poor this iteration of GCN.
  • -1 Hide
    yannigr , October 8, 2013 12:14 AM
    I am an AMD fan and I am FURIOUS. If I wanted a company that thinks that it's customers are MORONS I would be going for another brand.
  • 6 Hide
    slicedtoad , October 8, 2013 12:20 AM
    Kind of a boring announcement from AMD but it is very nice to see a price drop.

    It feels like the price per pixel (in games at a given setting) has stayed the same for a while despite the increase in average display resolutions. Which would equate to gaming getting more and more expensive if you like to max the settings. I don't know if this is AMD/NVidia's fault or the game developers fault or both but it's kind of annoying.
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