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

Results: Arma III At 1920x1080 And 2560x1440

Originally, I planned to skip testing at 1920x1080—it seems like too-mainstream of a resolution for these cards. But I was reminded by someone who sells a lot of high-end hardware that FHD remains massively prolific.

With that said, we’re able to run Arma III at its Ultra quality preset on even an R9 280X and enjoy playable performance. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 690 is actually the fastest card at 1920x1080, followed by its GeForce GTX Titan. However, the Radeon R9 290X still averages more than 60 FPS, alongside the GK110-powered GeForce GTX 780. It’d appear that AMD’s Radeon HD 7990 doesn’t have the CrossFire profile it’d need to properly support Arma.

Stepping up to QHD exacts a more taxing workload. The R9 290X’s increased memory bandwidth and higher pixel fill rate allow it to maintain more of its performance than GeForce GTX Titan or 780…

…the thing is, with minimums under 40 FPS, I’d hesitate before recommending any single-GPU solution in this game.

I’m going to leave frame time variance out of this story at 1920x1080. FCAT is reporting odd frame time behavior at that specific resolution, even though we’re able to verify average frame rates with Fraps. At 2560x1440, however, it’s clear that frame time variance in Arma is very low, even for the dual-GPU cards.

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!