Radeon R9 290X and Hawaii Basics
AMD's Radeon R9 290X is Finally Out
Following the Radeon R9 280/270 series that were made available since 8th October, today, the Radeon R9 290X is now officially available with true next-generation graphics core and the focus of this article.
Unfortunately, due to the delayed arrival of our test sample card from AMD, we will have to reserve performance comparisons for a future article. This article will squarely discuss on what one can expect from the new GPU core. Also, without the final test card in our hands, we’ve recycled the shots we’ve obtained from our previous preview article:-
The Build-up To "Hawaii"
Last month, AMD held their GPU14 Tech Day event to stress on their new gaming-oriented initiatives and the team’s motto of “AMD = Gaming”. The star of the show is of course AMD’s new Radeon R9 and R7 series of products, but alas, we figured out that most of the ‘new’ products are just rebadged Radeon HD 7000 parts.
When we asked AMD of the reasons behind the new naming scheme, they pin it squarely on their new marketing and initiatives for the GPU division as a whole and thus a new brand name to reflect this change. Primarily, AMD is working more with game developers and making waves in the gaming industry with their new Mantle API initiative. While that bodes well with AMD's directions, this will undoubtedly cause some confusion with end-users who expect a radical change when they purchase newly branded products and not variations of existing products.
While many of those R9 and R7 products are steadily populating the retail channels and booting up AMD’s visibility since 8th October, such as the string of Radeon R9 280X cards we’ve reviewed, the star of the line-up is none other than the focus of today’s article - the Radeon R9 290X (and the slightly slower R9 290 counterpart). The R9 290 series are the real torchbearers for the new GPU line-up as it sports a refreshed GPU core codenamed "Hawaii".
In the below table comparison, here’s how the new GPU stacks up against the competition and you’ll notice that the Radeon R9 290X is also available in a slightly tamer R9 290 version . The latter model will be available at a later date, but the R9 290X is now officially available.
|Model||AMD Radeon R9 290X / 290||AMD Radeon R9 280X||AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780||NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan|
|Core Code||Hawaii||Tahiti XT variant||Tahiti XT||GK110||GK110|
|Transistor Count||6.2 billion||4.3 billion||4.3 billion||7.1 billion||7.1 billion|
|Core Clock||Up to 1000MHz / 947MHz||Up to 1000MHz||1050MHz||863MHz||836MHz|
|Compute Performance||5.6 / 4.9 TFLOPS||4.1 TFLOPS||3.79 TFLOPS||N.A.||N.A.|
|Stream Processors||2816 / 2560||2048||2048||2304||2688|
|Texture Mapping Units (TMUs)||176 / 160||128||128||192||224|
|Raster Operator units (ROP)||64 / 64||32||32||48||48|
|Onboard Memory||4GB GDDR5||3GB GDDR5||3GB GDDR5||3GB GDDR5||3GB GDDR5|
|DDR Memory Bus||512-bit||384-bit||384-bit||384-bit||384-bit|
|PCI Express Interface||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 3.0 x16||PCIe ver 3.0 x16|
|Molex Power Connectors||1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin||1 x 6-pin, 1 x 6-pin||1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin||1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin||1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin|
|Typical Board Power||~300W||250W||250W||250W||250W|
|Multi GPU Technology||XDMA AMD CrossFire||CrossFireX||CrossFireX||SLI||SLI|
|AMD TrueAudio Technology||Yes||No||No||N.A.||N.A.|
|API Support||DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, AMD Mantle||DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.3, PhysX, CUDA|
|Launch Price||US$549 OR
US$579 (with BF4 bundle) / US$399
(Current street price: ~US$299)
We've a lot more about the Radeon R9 290X covered over the following few pages, so read on for the details:-