Radeon R9 295X2 8 GB Review: Project Hydra Gets Liquid Cooling

Results: Battlefield 4

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Thanks to a slightly higher clock rate, the Radeon R9 295X2 inches past a couple of R9 290X cards in CrossFire. However, a recent driver update from Nvidia gives two GeForce GTX 780 Tis the upper-hand in Battlefield 4…at least at this resolution. Two GTX Titans hang in there as well, even if lower core frequencies and fewer shaders force the $1000 boards in behind a pair of AMD’s single-GPU flagships.

In comparison, the once-mighty Radeon HD 7990 and GeForce GTX 690 are humbled. At least they’re still plenty-fast at Battlefield 4’s most taxing detail preset.

The highs and lows are best-seen by charting out frame rate over time.

Both AMD and Nvidia do a great job of pacing frames out consistently. Our 95th percentile numbers—a near-worst-case—remain under 3 ms, and only Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 690 approaches that figure.

Aside from a few major spikes from Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 690, measured frame times in Battlefield 4 are low.

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Battlefield 4 uses quite a bit of graphics memory. So, it’s not surprising to see the dual-Hawaii-based configurations doing really well, while two GeForce GTX 780 Ti cards (each with 3 GB on-board) experience lower minimum frame rates at 3840x2160. Titans have 6 GB each and manage more playable minimums. But because they come equipped with fewer shaders and lower clock rates, average performance drops to fourth place.

Once, and only briefly, the Radeon R9 290Xes and 295X2 fall under 40 FPS. Otherwise, they’re perfectly playable.

The GeForce GTX 780 Tis are almost as fast on paper. However, you can see more punctuated dips in the frame rate over time chart. In fact, as you play through the Tashgar level used for this test, you’ll see the characters pop in and out of view. A log of memory use through the run shows 3 GB being exceeded easily, which is why I’d hold off on recommending GeForce GTX 780 Tis for 4K.

Overall, frame time variance is reasonable, though the 690 throws off our bar and line charts. Spikes from the 780 Tis correspond to dips seen in the frame rate over time graph.

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115 comments
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    Top Comments
  • JoeArchitect
    @marciocattini

    "Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval..."

    This is addressed in the conclusion of the article:

    "We have an estimated price and an estimated date for availability. The past several launches were peppered by misses on both fronts, and we’ve learned our lesson about recommending gear before you can buy it."
    18
  • tristangl
    ok that just prove that 4k gaming for the average joe is still not around the corner
    17
  • ekagori
    I like what AMD has done, it's good to know they are making a better effort with high end parts. Hopefully all this goodness trickles down to the next generation 20nm consumer friendly products.
    17
  • Other Comments
  • SVMreborn
    The pricing of this beast really impressed me.
    6
  • Marsian Gustrianda
    Many people doubt about Dual GPU Hawaii will be Blow Up. It seems AMD really do well job. Nice Looking Card
    10
  • ohim
    This card is like the Veyron of WV , show the world what you can do (R295x2) but you`ll still relay on the sales of your WV Golf for revenue (270x, 280x)
    9
  • ferooxidan
    Finally the review of this beast! Now continue reading
    -2
  • outlw6669
    Impressive performance, temperatures and fairly low noise!
    I would prefer a bit lower price, but this looks like a great card for the gamer that has everything!
    13
  • getochkn
    Surprised you didn't do a mining hashrate test on it to see what it can push out.
    9
  • gunfighter zeck
    the name Dreadnaught originated from Dread Nothing or, fear nothing.
    Boss ship.
    0
  • Maxamus456
    Hope this price stays low and not get bloated from bit con miners like its predecessors.
    11
  • blubbey
    So let me get this straight. It runs pretty cool, quiet, performs well and (for the moment) is able to play a good selection of games at 4k admirably and is priced competitively. Plus if you are going to drop a bit more on watercooling your GPUs (which is a possibility if you're spending $1200+) that gives this card even greater value. Nice work AMD.
    11
  • marciocattini
    Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval? =( clearly this card diserves some love!
    -2
  • spp85
    Sheeeer muscle power
    7
  • Plusthinking Iq
    this is what i want for all my high end gaming, but i would rather like to see aio water cooling only and a 140mm version that could go silent if needed, full cover water block like the tundra series is some of the best. but single card is the best like a 780ti cooled with a 140mm aio at 500rpm and quiet pump. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
    0
  • ferooxidan
    After reading the article my conclusion is: we need a beefier GPU next year for a truly comfortable 4K gaming experience. OMG games this day really take tolls on our rig. Some games only hit around 40-ish and some even down to 30-ish fps on 4K. Imagine next year AAA titles, even this beast will be tamed.
    0
  • Wisecracker
    Vesuvius erupts !! ... nice job, Toms.

    Conspicuous by their absence are power, temp and noise numbers from the Green Team -- which likely means they got smoked (in a really good way) across the board by dual Hawaii.
    0
  • AMD Radeon
    good guy AMD
    4
  • tristangl
    ok that just prove that 4k gaming for the average joe is still not around the corner
    17
  • chuckydb
    I hope some OEM make the cooler with a double radiator. That card can be cooler and completely silent.
    0
  • JoeArchitect
    @marciocattini

    "Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval..."

    This is addressed in the conclusion of the article:

    "We have an estimated price and an estimated date for availability. The past several launches were peppered by misses on both fronts, and we’ve learned our lesson about recommending gear before you can buy it."
    18
  • St0rm_KILL3r
    Well, at 1440p r9 295x2 = gtx 780ti sli. But at 3840x2160 it totally dominates every gpu. Wondering if gtx 790 will be able to keep up with it.
    2
  • ekagori
    I like what AMD has done, it's good to know they are making a better effort with high end parts. Hopefully all this goodness trickles down to the next generation 20nm consumer friendly products.
    17