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

AMD's Radeon HD 7770 Becomes The R7 250X

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 TiRadeon R7 250 GDDR5Radeon HD 7770 / Radeon R7 250XRadeon R7 260Radeon R7 260X
Shaders768384640768896
Texture Units6424404856
ROPs168161616
Process Technology28 nm (Kepler)28 nm (GCN)28 nm (GCN)28 nm (GCN)28 nm (GCN)
Core/Boost Clock925 MHz1000/1050MHz1 GHz1000 MHz1100 MHz
Memory Clock1350 MHz1150 MHz1125 MHz1500 MHz1625 MHz
Memory Bus128-bit128-bit128-bit128-bit128-bit
Memory Bandwidth86.4 GB/s73.6 GB/s72 GB/s96 GB/s104 GB/s
Graphics Memory1 or 2 GB GDDR51 or 2 GB GDDR51 or 2 GB GDDR5 1 or 2 GB GDDR51 or 2 GB GDDR5
Power Connectors1 x 6-pinN/A1 x 6-pin1 x 6-pin1 x 6-pin
Maximum TDP110 W60 W80 W95 W115 W
Newegg Price Range$110-$180$90 to $133Radeon HD 7770:$110-$170$125-$140$130 to $150
Typical Newegg Price$130$90Radeon HD 7770:$110Radeon 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.

  • RedJaron
    Hmm, so they still don't have an attractive alternative to the 7750? Bad move, AMD. Baaaad move . . .
    Reply
  • rolli59
    Renaming is a trend nowadays so no surprises!
    Reply
  • icraft
    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.
    Reply
  • Immaculate
    Why do the reviewers keep using a 2500K?
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    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.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    12650126 said:
    Why do the reviewers keep using a 2500K?

    Why wouldn't we? What's wrong with an overclocked 2500K?
    Reply
  • cleeve
    12650223 said:
    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. ;)

    Reply
  • The_Trutherizer
    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.
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    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.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    12650126 said:
    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.
    Reply