R9 270X: Pitcairn Gets A Little Boost
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.