Radeon R9 295X2 8 GB Review: Project Hydra Gets Liquid Cooling

Results: Tomb Raider

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AMD’s new dual-GPU juggernaut takes a first-place finish in Tomb Raider, followed not far behind by GeForce GTX 780 Tis in SLI, Radeon R9 290Xes in CrossFire, and twin Titans.

There’s one particularly demanding sequence in our benchmark that pushes every solution hard. It’s responsible for knocking the Radeon HD 7990 and GeForce GTX 690 down under 40 FPS.

However, Nvidia’s cards are at a notable disadvantage in that they don’t handle the Ultimate preset’s TressFX feature properly. Rather than flowing naturally, Lara’s hair shimmers and pops.

Although this is an AMD Gaming Evolved title, the Radeons demonstrate higher frame time variance than Nvidia’s cards. The results aren’t bad, but you can clearly see in the frame time chart there are a few spikes and overall-higher averages.

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More so than Thief, Tomb Raider gobbles up memory. The GeForce GTX 690 crashes before our benchmark finishes, in fact. A pair of Hawaii GPUs, each with 4 GB of fast GDDR5, handle this game best. Even if the Nvidia boards were able to deliver comparable frame rates, they’re still not able to render the TressFX effect correctly.

The Radeon R9 295X2 and two 290Xes in CrossFire perform almost identically. Frame rate over time also shows us how hard Nvidia’s cards get hit when the compute-intensive TressFX technology is featured prominently in the benchmark scene (those big dips correspond to up-close views of Lara’s hair).

The longest bars come from AMD’s Radeon HD 7990, which isn’t playable at 4K using Tomb Raider’s Ultimate quality preset anyway.

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  • JoeArchitect
    @marciocattini

    "Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval..."

    This is addressed in the conclusion of the article:

    "We have an estimated price and an estimated date for availability. The past several launches were peppered by misses on both fronts, and we’ve learned our lesson about recommending gear before you can buy it."
  • tristangl
    ok that just prove that 4k gaming for the average joe is still not around the corner
  • ekagori
    I like what AMD has done, it's good to know they are making a better effort with high end parts. Hopefully all this goodness trickles down to the next generation 20nm consumer friendly products.
  • Other Comments
  • SVMreborn
    The pricing of this beast really impressed me.
  • Marsian Gustrianda
    Many people doubt about Dual GPU Hawaii will be Blow Up. It seems AMD really do well job. Nice Looking Card
  • ohim
    This card is like the Veyron of WV , show the world what you can do (R295x2) but you`ll still relay on the sales of your WV Golf for revenue (270x, 280x)
  • ferooxidan
    Finally the review of this beast! Now continue reading
  • outlw6669
    Impressive performance, temperatures and fairly low noise!
    I would prefer a bit lower price, but this looks like a great card for the gamer that has everything!
  • getochkn
    Surprised you didn't do a mining hashrate test on it to see what it can push out.
  • gunfighter zeck
    the name Dreadnaught originated from Dread Nothing or, fear nothing.
    Boss ship.
  • Maxamus456
    Hope this price stays low and not get bloated from bit con miners like its predecessors.
  • blubbey
    So let me get this straight. It runs pretty cool, quiet, performs well and (for the moment) is able to play a good selection of games at 4k admirably and is priced competitively. Plus if you are going to drop a bit more on watercooling your GPUs (which is a possibility if you're spending $1200+) that gives this card even greater value. Nice work AMD.
  • marciocattini
    Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval? =( clearly this card diserves some love!
  • spp85
    Sheeeer muscle power
  • Plusthinking Iq
    this is what i want for all my high end gaming, but i would rather like to see aio water cooling only and a 140mm version that could go silent if needed, full cover water block like the tundra series is some of the best. but single card is the best like a 780ti cooled with a 140mm aio at 500rpm and quiet pump. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
  • ferooxidan
    After reading the article my conclusion is: we need a beefier GPU next year for a truly comfortable 4K gaming experience. OMG games this day really take tolls on our rig. Some games only hit around 40-ish and some even down to 30-ish fps on 4K. Imagine next year AAA titles, even this beast will be tamed.
  • Wisecracker
    Vesuvius erupts !! ... nice job, Toms.

    Conspicuous by their absence are power, temp and noise numbers from the Green Team -- which likely means they got smoked (in a really good way) across the board by dual Hawaii.
  • AMD Radeon
    good guy AMD
  • tristangl
    ok that just prove that 4k gaming for the average joe is still not around the corner
  • chuckydb
    I hope some OEM make the cooler with a double radiator. That card can be cooler and completely silent.
  • JoeArchitect
    @marciocattini

    "Wheres Tom's Hardware seal of approval..."

    This is addressed in the conclusion of the article:

    "We have an estimated price and an estimated date for availability. The past several launches were peppered by misses on both fronts, and we’ve learned our lesson about recommending gear before you can buy it."
  • St0rm_KILL3r
    Well, at 1440p r9 295x2 = gtx 780ti sli. But at 3840x2160 it totally dominates every gpu. Wondering if gtx 790 will be able to keep up with it.
  • ekagori
    I like what AMD has done, it's good to know they are making a better effort with high end parts. Hopefully all this goodness trickles down to the next generation 20nm consumer friendly products.