R7 260X: TrueAudio’s First Outing On The Back Of Bonaire
As you saw during our coverage of AMD’s GPU14 Tech Day in Hawaii, there are three SKUs in AMD’s line-up with TrueAudio support: R9 290X, R9 290 (neither of which are available yet), and R7 260X.
The Tensilica (a fabless semiconductor company) DSPs that enable TrueAudio are built onto AMD’s GPUs, which might make you think, “Ah ha, a new feature on-die—surely we must also be dealing with a new GPU, too.” Disappointingly, no. This functionality was actually part of the Bonaire processor that launched alongside Radeon HD 7790 (AMD Radeon HD 7790 Review: Graphics Core Next At $150, from March of this year), but was simply not enabled. Now, at least, it’s available for middleware developers to play with and, eventually, expose.
Bonaire, as it appeared on the Radeon HD 7790, boasted 896 shaders, 56 texture units, and 16 ROPs. The sample we reviewed had a GPU running at 1 GHz with 1 GB of GDDR5 memory at 6 GT/s on a 128-bit bus. Power, interestingly enough, was rated at 85 W, deliverable through the PCI Express slot and one six-pin lead. Bonaire was also AMD’s first GPU with an updated version of PowerTune featuring a second-generation voltage regulation controller able to control voltage in 6.25 mV steps. The result of this functionality is much faster response to changes in input (temperature, activity, or telemetry) and corresponding voltage/clock rate/fan speed adjustments.
The GPU that shows up on R7 260X features all of the same vital specs, including the newer PowerTune implementation. Only, its engine clock operates at up to 1.1 GHz. Its memory (now 2 GB instead of 1) streaks along at 1625 MHz over an aggregate 128-bit bus, serving up to 104 GB/s of bandwidth. It’s still serviceable by a single six-pin power cable, but the result of higher clock rates all around are a board power that jumps to 115 W. That’ll hardly be an issue for most folks.
As of this writing, Gigabyte has a Radeon HD 7790 running at 1075 MHz with 2 GB of memory at 1500 MHz selling for $140 on Newegg. AMD plans to sell the R7 260X for the same $140. Most of the other 7790s are 1 GB models, so AMD is still adding some value. But there’s really not much to get excited about in the shift from Radeon HD 7790 to R7 260X, aside from TrueAudio getting switched on. And even then, we need to wait for the feature to get enabled in upcoming games.