AMD Radeon R9 270X 2 GB Review 16

AMD Radeon R9 270X 2 GB Review

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With a market presence of close to two years and counting, the Radeon HD 7000 series kept AMD afloat in the discrete PC graphics market. The company pretty much sat out 2012, probably focusing its efforts on getting its next-generation console chips right. Come Q4 2013 and a product stack update is long overdue for AMD. The company feels that the silicon it built its HD 7000 on is still fit for due provided they're repositioned in the product stack much in the same way NVIDIA shuffled its with the GeForce GTX 700 series. Much like NVIDIA, AMD is going into its new generation with just one new chip it codenamed "Hawaii" while repositioning "Tahiti" and "Pitcairn" based SKUs one tier lower.

The R9 290 series will succeed the HD 7900 series in the product stack, and the R9 280 series succeeds the HD 7800 series (sub-$300 class) while the R9 270 series succeeds the HD 7700 series (sub-$200 class). Since such an arbitrary product stack repositioning would create unreal price-performance increments at the price points AMD's HD 7000 series products launched, AMD also tweaked pricing a little, so there really is a different and equally valid way of looking at AMD's new product stack by using price points.

The $199 AMD Radeon R9 270X then draws its lineage more from the Radeon HD 7800 series than any other. The R9 270X is, for all intents and purposes, identical to the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition which launched at $350, but settled down to around $250, holding on to that price-point quite well, and for quite long. At 1050 MHz, its GPU core clock speed is 5 percent higher, and at 1400 MHz (5.60 GT/s effective), it has a significant 16 percent higher memory clock speed than the HD 7870.

The 28 nm "Pitcairn" silicon on which the Radeon R9 270X is based features 1,280 stream processors based on the Graphics CoreNext micro-architecture, 80 texture memory units (TMUs), 32 raster operations units (ROPs), and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface holding 2 GB of memory. Interestingly, it doesn't meet the recommended system requirements for "Battlefield 4," the season's most hotly anticipated game for the PC platform. AMD is trying to project the card as an ideal buy for gaming at 1080p display resolution.

Radeon R9 270XMarket Segment Analysis
R7 260X
GeForce GTX
650 Ti Boost
GTX 660
HD 7870
GTX 580
R9 270X
GTX 660 Ti
GTX 760
HD 7950
GTX 670
HD 7970
R9 280X
Shader Units89676896012805121280134411521792134420482048
Graphics ProcessorBonaireGK106GK106PitcairnGF110PitcairnGK104GK104TahitiGK104TahitiTahiti
Memory Size2048 MB2048 MB2048 MB2048 MB1536 MB2048 MB2048 MB2048 MB3072 MB2048 MB3072 MB3072 MB
Memory Bus Width128 bit192 bit192 bit256 bit384 bit256 bit192 bit256 bit384 bit256 bit384 bit384 bit
Core Clock1100 MHz980 MHz+980 MHz+1000 MHz772 MHz1050 MHz915 MHz+980 MHz+800 MHz915 MHz+925 MHz1000 MHz
Memory Clock1625 MHz1502 MHz1502 MHz1200 MHz1002 MHz1400 MHz1502 MHz1502 MHz1250 MHz1502 MHz1375 MHz1500 MHz

Packaging & Contents

We only received a card from AMD. Retail products will include the usual accessories, like driver CD and adapters.

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back

AMD's R9 270X reference design cooler uses a new design that adds a bit more detail through its red highlights while still adhering to AMD's typical reference cooler design.

Graphics Card Height

Installation requires two slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include two DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. Triple-monitor surround gaming is possible with the card.

The GPU also includes an HDMI sound device. It is HDMI 1.4a compatible, which includes HD audio and Blu-ray 3D movies support.

One CrossFire connector allows you to combine up to two R9 270X cards in a CrossFire configuration.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back

Pictured above are the front and back, showing the disassembled board. High-res versions are also available (front, back). If you choose to use these images for voltmods, etc., please include a link back to this site or let us post your article.

A Closer Look

Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

AMD's reference cooler uses a large copper baseplate that is connected to heatpipes for the transfer of heat. You can also see the thermal pads that cool memory chips and voltage regulation circuitry.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

The card requires two 6-pin PCI-Express power connectors. This configuration is good for up to 225 W of power draw.

AMD uses a CHiL CHL8225G, a very common and popular voltage controller that offers software voltage control and monitoring, and is well supported by most software.

Graphics Card Memory Chips

The GDDR5 memory chips are made by SK Hynix and carry the model number H5GQ2H24AFR-R0C. They are specified to run at 1500 MHz (6000 MHz GDDR5 effective).

Graphics Chip GPU

AMD's Pitcairn graphics processor uses the GCN shader architecture. It is produced on a 28 nm process at TSMC. The transistor count is 2.8 billion.
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