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

CrossFire: Arma III At 7680x1440

When I first started generating CrossFire data (at the request of /u/Schmakk in /r/buildapc), my reaction was, "...the heck? How can a card that offers so much memory bandwidth and pixel fill rate fall behind the card it was faster than in single-GPU testing?" And then I started my clock rate log and everything made more sense. Beyond the possibility of performance being shader-bound, we know for a fact that two R9 290Xes in CrossFire throttle back their clock rate sooner and more severely than one board due to heat.

With that said, two $550 cards are still keeping pace with two $1000 boards in Arma III.

Even with two high-end cards, the Ultra detail preset is a bit much at 7680x1440. You'd probably want to scale back a bit if you own three 2560x1440 screens (incidentally, those 11 million pixels can be had for $1200 or so, which is almost one-third of an Ultra HD screen).

We record higher frame time variance from AMD's cards. The fact that its single- and multi-card solutions are on fairly event ground keeps us from suspecting an issue with CrossFire, though.

  • 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!