AMD's Radeon R9 290X, which launched a couple weeks ago, severely disrupted NVIDIA's high-end lot. At $549.99, it isn't low by AMD standards, but is made to look great because of NVIDIA's overpriced offerings in the segment. Today, the company launches its second graphics card based on the "Hawaii" silicon, the Radeon R9 290 (with just the "X" missing from the name). As with most "second best" offerings based on high-end GPUs from both AMD and NVIDIA, the R9 290 is a slightly trimmed down version of the company’s flagship at a significantly lower price that could very well cannibalize even AMD's own R9 290X.
At $399, the same price at which NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 770 and a whole $150 (27 percent) cheaper than the Radeon R9 290X launched last month, the Radeon R9 290 is another disruptive product from AMD designed to wreck the competition's lineup. What makes it extremely catchy at that price is how much AMD left on the chip after cutting it down from that of the R9 290X.
The Radeon R9 290 features 2,560 of the 2,816 stream processors physically present on the "Hawaii" silicon, which is only a 9% reduction from the R9 290X—compare that to the 12.5% reduction in stream processors the Radeon HD 7950 was left with when it was carved out of the 2,048 stream processors-laden "Tahiti" silicon. The TMU count is down to 160 from 176, and the GPU core clock speed is 948 MHz instead of 1000 MHz.
Absolutely everything else is the same as on the R9 290X. You still get four independent tessellation units, 64 ROPs, a 512-bit wide memory interface, and 4 GB of memory running at 5.00 GHz, churning out 320 GB/s of memory bandwidth.
At its $399 price, the R9 290 reviewed today has several NVIDIA products in its crosshairs. It's priced just $70 higher than the GeForce GTX 770, and the GTX 770 retails for $329.99 while only performing on par with the $299 Radeon R9 280X. The R9 290 is also a whole $100 cheaper than the recently price-adjusted GeForce GTX 780 now going for $499.99, though the Radeon R9 290X convincingly beats the GTX 780 in terms of performance. It will be extremely interesting to see if the R9 290 can repeat that performance lead.
| HD 7970|
| Radeon R9 |
| Radeon |
| Radeon |
|Shader Units||2048||1536||2048||1536||2304||2560||2816||2x 2048||2688||2x 1536|
|ROPs||32||32||32||32||48||64||64||2x 32||48||2x 32|
|Graphics Processor||Tahiti||GK104||Tahiti||GK104||GK110||Hawaii||Hawaii||2x Tahiti||GK110||2x GK104|
|Transistors||4310M||3500M||4310M||3500M||7100M||6200M||6200M||2x 4310M||7100M||2x 3500M|
|Memory Size||3072 MB||2048 MB||3072 MB||2048 MB||3072 MB||4096 MB||4096 MB||2x 3072 MB||6144 MB||2x 2048 MB|
|Memory Bus Width||384 bit||256 bit||384 bit||256 bit||384 bit||512 bit||512 bit||2x 384 bit||384 bit||2x 256 bit|
|Core Clock||1000 MHz||1046 MHz+||1050 MHz||1006 MHz+||863 MHz+||947 MHz||1000 MHz||1000 MHz||837 MHz+||915 MHz+|
|Memory Clock||1500 MHz||1753 MHz||1500 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz||1250 MHz||1250 MHz||1500 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz|