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AMD Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, And R7 260X: Old GPUs, New Names

Results: BioShock Infinite

It would have been easy to recommend AMD’s Radeon HD 7870 over the GeForce GTX 660 when it sold for $200. But a recent drop to $180 balances that price range, making it hard to declare a winner. What we do know is that, for another $20, the R9 270X doesn’t really add anything compelling to the story in BioShock Infinite.

In contrast, it’d be hard to not spend an extra $10 on a GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost, given its advantage over the R7 260X, GeForce GTX 650 Ti, and Radeon HD 7790.

At the top end, Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and R9 280X serve up the best experiences at 2560x1440. To get any more, you’d have to jump all the way up to $400 for a GeForce GTX 770. This big hole in Nvidia’s line-up makes AMD’s new R9 280X the entry point for gamers looking to play demanding first-person titles at 2560x1440 using high detail levels.

The two Tahiti-based cards keep their noses above 50 FPS at 1920x1080, while Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 760 drops to the mid-40s. That’s still fast enough, if you’re playing on a FHD display. But the cheaper Pitcairn-based cards and GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost are quick enough to keep up at 1920x1080.

Gaming at 2560x1440 is a more taxing test of each GPU’s potential. AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and R9 280X maintain at least 35 FPS. Meanwhile, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 760 spends a lot more of its time under 40 FPS, dipping closer to 30 on one occasion.

Frame time variance is a little higher in BioShock Infinite, but even at 2560x1440, the worst-case numbers don’t look too bad.