Radeon R9 290X Review: AMD's Back In Ultra-High-End Gaming

Test System And Benchmarks

Test Hardware And Software

Test Hardware
Processors
Intel Core i7-4960X (Ivy Bridge-E) 3.6 GHz Base Clock Rate, Overclocked to 4.3 GHz, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
Motherboard
ASRock X79 Extreme6 (LGA 2011) X79 Express Chipset, BIOS 2.50
Memory
G.Skill 32 GB (8 x 4 GB) DDR3-2133, F3-17000CL9Q-16GBXM x2 @ 9-11-10-28 and 1.65 V
Hard Drive
Samsung 840 Pro SSD 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s
Graphics
AMD Radeon R9 290X 4 GB

AMD Radeon R9 280X 3 GB

AMD Radeon HD 7990 6 GB

Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB

Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3 GB

Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4 GB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860i 860 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 8 Professional 64-bit
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta 5 (All AMD cards)

Nvidia GeForce 331.40 Beta (All Nvidia cards)
Benchmarks And Settings
Battlefield 3
1920x1080, 2560x1440, 3840x2160, and 7680x1440: Ultra Quality Preset, v-sync off, 90-second Going Hunting playback. FCAT for 1920x1080, 2560x1440, and 7680x1440; Fraps for 3840x2160
Arma III
1920x1080, 2560x1440, and 7680x1440: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x FSAA, Anisotropic Filtering: Ultra, v-sync off, Infantry Showcase, 30-second playback, FCAT
3840x2160: High Quality Preset, 4x FSAA, Anisotropic Filtering: High, v-sync off, Infantry Showcase, 30-second playback, Fraps
Metro: Last Light
1920x1080, 2560x1440, and 7680x1440: Very High Quality Preset, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, Low Motion Blur, v-sync off, Built-In Benchmark, FCAT
3840x2160: High Quality Preset, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, Low Motion Blur, v-sync off, Built-In Benchmark, Fraps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
1920x1080, 2560x1440, and 7680x1440: Ultra Quality Preset, FXAA Disabled, 25-second Custom Run-Through, FCAT
3840x2160: Ultra Quality Preset, FXAA Disabled, 25-second Custom Run-Through, Fraps
BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 and 2560x1440: Very High Quality Preset, 75-second Opening Game Sequence, FCAT
3840x2160: Very High Quality Preset, 75-second Opening Game Sequence, Fraps
7680x1440: Ultra Quality Preset, 75-second Opening Game Sequence, FCAT
Crysis 3
1920x1080 and 2560x1440: High System Spec, High Texture Resolution, FXAA, 60-second Custom Run-Through, FCAT
3840x2160: High System Spec, High Texture Resolution, FXAA, 60-second Custom Run-Through, Fraps
7680x1440: Very High System Spec, Very High Texture Resolution, FXAA, 60-second Custom Run-Through, FCAT
Tomb Raider
1920x1080, 2560x1440, and 7680x1440: Ultimate Quality Preset, FXAA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, TressFX Hair, 45-second Custom Run-Through, FCAT
3840x2160: Ultimate Quality Preset, FXAA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, TressFX Hair, 45-second Custom Run-Through, Fraps
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498 comments
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    Top Comments
  • BigMack70
    Thank goodness AMD had some sense with the pricing. Finally, at long last, Nvidia can stop raping consumers' wallets due to lack of competition.

    This is win-win-win for everyone (except maybe Nvidia).

    Hope we never have to deal with a $1000 single GPU fiasco again. Good riddance.
    103
  • beta212
    That's incredible. Especially at high res, I wonder how they do it. But the low price alone is enough to blow the competition away. Seriously think about it, it's around half the price for higher performance!
    - AMD: We're not aiming for the ultra high end.
    I think Nvidia just got trolled.
    81
  • anxiousinfusion
    Wait the 290 X... X? is going to be $550?! Forgive me, padre for I have sinned.
    61
  • Other Comments
  • beta212
    That's incredible. Especially at high res, I wonder how they do it. But the low price alone is enough to blow the competition away. Seriously think about it, it's around half the price for higher performance!
    - AMD: We're not aiming for the ultra high end.
    I think Nvidia just got trolled.
    81
  • slomo4sho
    Great price point. This card has already broken world records just a few hours after release!


    31
  • esrever
    2 of these for 4k looks amazing but Im a little disappointed by the power consumption when you crank up performance.
    -20
  • aznguy0028
    I was thinking about hopping on the 7970ghz when it's on sale, but after seeing this, it's time to break apart the piggy bank for the 290x, what value!
    25
  • Benthon
    Like the conclusion said, you just can't argue about aesthetics and thermals at this price point/performance. Well done AMD, lets see team green's response! Go consumer!
    33
  • tuklap
    This is awesome for us ^_^
    21
  • Shankovich
    Wow, and it's pegged at 73% too. Even if nVidia's "780ti" beats the 290X, it probably won't beat a 290X running at full power. And if mantle does make some big performance boosts, nVidia is going to be in a really tight spot. Looking forward to what they'll do. In the mean time, loving this competition! We all win in the end.
    24
  • julianbautista87
    daaaaayyyyyuuuummmm
    14
  • anxiousinfusion
    Wait the 290 X... X? is going to be $550?! Forgive me, padre for I have sinned.
    61
  • Darkerson
    Good job, AMD!
    21
  • jkhoward
    I just purchased this card from Newegg.
    22
  • CaptainTom
    Wow AMD. GG! You exceeded every possible expectation! Have fun with your GTX 780 Ti Fanboys!!!!!
    16
  • ilysaml
    Time to Upgrade my HD 6950 to 290X, and my 1080P to 2500x Monitor.
    19
  • lt_dan_zsu
    I've never been more blown away by a hardware review. Never have I seen a gpu beat another gpu at just over half the cost.
    37
  • DarkForce_256
    So what's the deal with the 290?
    12
  • shin0bi272
    it always tickles the hell out of me when an amd card ties or about ties an nvidia card in one game then in an nvidia physx game the amd kicks the crap out of the nvidia card... Of course if you know why that happens in metro you know its more of a fault of the coders not physx but its still funny.
    8
  • jimmysmitty
    $550 is not bad for the fact that it beats the 780 easily and even pressures the Titan.

    Most of the higher resolution gaming wins come from the larger memory bandwidth and of course more vs the 780.

    That's a good sign. Maybe NVidia will drop prices and push this to $400-$450 and I will pick one up when there is a Vapor-X version of course,
    11
  • markbro89
    Where to buy?! Newegg still says coming soon D:
    2
  • DarkForce_256
    So what's the deal with the 290?
    -7
  • BigMack70
    Thank goodness AMD had some sense with the pricing. Finally, at long last, Nvidia can stop raping consumers' wallets due to lack of competition.

    This is win-win-win for everyone (except maybe Nvidia).

    Hope we never have to deal with a $1000 single GPU fiasco again. Good riddance.
    103