AMD Radeon R9 270: A Worthy Radeon HD 7870 Replacement
On average, how does AMD's Radeon R9 270 perform compared to the previous-generation Radeon HD 7800s? How about when we put it up against the Radeon R7 260X, R9 270X, and the GeForce cards it competes against?
The Radeon R9 270 performs so much like the Radeon HD 7870 that even the most seasoned gamer wouldn't be able to tell them apart. With that said, what was the point of creating a new model?
Most notably, the Radeon R9 270 sheds one six-pin auxiliary power connector in its transformation from Radeon HD 7870, making it the fastest reference board we've ever tested that only requires one six-pin input. It just slightly bests the GeForce GTX 660 to earn that title. In a different suite of benchmarks, this competition could have gone the other way; it was that close.
But pair the R9 270's performance with a $180 price tag, and you're looking at $10 less than the lowest-priced GeForce GTX 660. AMD has a card worth buying, so long as you're stepping up from the right level of performance. It's true that the Radeon HD 7870 was recently priced around this same level, so the value isn't particularly stunning. But those cards were discounted to make room for these newly rebranded models, and the 7800s are probably going to disappear shortly.
The Radeon R9 270 ensures that the HD 7870 won't be missed. However, we can't help but worry about the imminent discontinuation of the Radeon HD 7850. While the Radeon R7 260X does an admirable job given its modest specifications, it's simply unable to compete against Nvidia's GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost (especially when you consider their similar $140 price points). AMD's new naming scheme doesn't leave any obvious room between the R7 260X and R9 270, but hopefully the company comes up with something to fill the hole it's creating. Our suggestion would be to drop the R9 270's price sooner than later.
In the end, AMD's Radeon R9 270 doesn't break any value barriers like the R9 280X did. But it remains a solid value proposition with less strenuous power supply requirements than before. Barring a significant price drop on Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660, we might expect the Radeon R9 270 to secure a spot in our monthly Best Gaming Graphics Cards for the Money guide.