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

Results: BioShock Infinite At 3840x2160

The finishing order in BioShock is identical to the previous two games, though Uber mode does have an impact, indicating the benefit of increased fan speed to maintaining higher clock rates. GeForce GTX Titan and 780 follow, the former averaging a few frames per second less than R9 290X, and the latter a few frames behind that.

Here’s where the average frame rates are made and broken. Notice that there is a performance spike favoring AMD at the beginning, and another one about halfway through the benchmark. Those same sequences turn into valleys on Nvidia’s hardware. In talking to both companies, there’s no clear explanation for why this divergence would be happening, except that the intro sequence in BioShock might not be taxing enough. Then again, if it’s not taxing at Ultra HD, why didn’t the Nvidia cards hit a ceiling at FHD or QHD (AMD’s cards still spiked; Nvidia’s were flat)?

Variance is a non-issue in BioShock, even at this extreme resolution.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • 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.
  • slomo4sho
    Great price point. This card has already broken world records just a few hours after release!

  • esrever
    2 of these for 4k looks amazing but Im a little disappointed by the power consumption when you crank up performance.
  • 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!
  • 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!
  • tuklap
    This is awesome for us ^_^
  • 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.
  • julianbautista87
  • anxiousinfusion
    Wait the 290 X... X? is going to be $550?! Forgive me, padre for I have sinned.
  • Darkerson
    Good job, AMD!