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AMD Radeon R9 290 Review: Fast And $400, But Is It Consistent?

Results: Tomb Raider

The finishing order is pretty consistent across all three tested resolutions in Tomb Raider. At 1920x1080, our press-sampled R9 290X and 290 cards beat GeForce GTX Titan. Even with TressFX enabled—a big advantage for AMD—the Titan manages to outmaneuver the 290X we purchased, though.

R9 290 even edges out the 290X from AMD at 2560x1440. But if retail 290s behave more like our store-bought 290X, we’d expect performance somewhere between GeForce GTX 780 and 770.

None of these cards are fast enough for Ultra HD. In fact, the GeForce GTX 770 shows why 2 GB cards (and dual-GPU boards with 2 GB per processor like GeForce GTX 690) are wholly unsuitable for such high resolutions. They run out of on-board memory, pure and simple.

Tracking frame rate over time shows us that, although most of these cards achieve playable average frame rates at 2560x1440, they’re still pushed down under 30 FPS in the most demanding part of our benchmark.

The GeForce GTX 770 is hit by disturbingly bad frame time variance in its 95th percentile chart. Everything else suggests smoothness through the test.

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.