Đánh Giá R9 290

We have all the makings of a dramatic launch: new high-over hardware, a last-minute delay for more performance, a crazy twist based on retail hardware, và our own home-baked solution to AMD"s noise problem. Does Radeon R9 290 impress us or fall short?

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Digging Deeper Inlớn Hawaii’s Behavior

The reactions to lớn last month’s Radeon R9 290X launch were polarizing, to say the least. On one h&, you had this new GPU largely based on a familiar architecture, but still equipped with new technology &, overall, typically faster than GeForce GTX 780 & Titan. On the other, it proved to be power-hungry, purportedly designed lớn run at a cringe-inducing 95 °C, & cooled by a bạn that gets very loud, if you let it.

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So two factions faced off—those who saw the value in a very fast gaming thẻ priced hundreds of dollars less than the competition, versus others who weren’t impressed by a new GPU edging out Nvidia’s eight-month-old flagship.

Regardless of which side you chose, we can all agree that more performance at a lower price point is good for PC gaming, though. Just look at the aftermath: Nvidia dropped the GeForce GTX 770 to an attractive sầu $330 and its GeForce GTX 780 to lớn $500. We even know now that the GeForce GTX 780 Ti will go for $700 when it emerges.

Adding value is exactly what today is about, too. Using the same Hawaii GPU it just unveiled, AMD is introducing a Radeon R9 290.

Hawaii Gets A Haircut

The R9 290 is a derivative hàng hóa, which means its specifications don’t fall far from the 290X. As you know, Hawaii is a 6.2-billion transistor processor manufactured at 28 nm. But instead of enabling all 44 of its Compute Units, AMD fuses off four of them, dropping the chip’s shader count to 2560 (from 2816). This has the dual effect of trimming texture units from 176 lớn 160. Although AMD isn’t specific about the four CUs that get disabled, company representatives do say they’re turned off in a manner to yield consistent performance from one board khổng lồ the next.

And khổng lồ clarify a point from my R9 290X review: Hawaii doesn’t offer 1/4-rate double-precision compute like Tahiti did. Instead, AMD drops DP performance khổng lồ one-eighth of the chip’s FP32 throughput, và instead saves the more potent compute potential for its FirePro cards, taking a page out of Nvidia’s playbook. That makes the 290’s peak floating-point performance about 4.84 TFLOPS, while its DP rate is 606 GFLOPS.

Radeon R9 290XRadeon R9 290Radeon R9 280XGeForce GTX TitanGeForce GTX 780ProcessTransistorsGPU ClockShadersFP32 PerformanceTexture UnitsTexture FillrateROPsPixel FillrateMemory BusMemoryMemory Data RateMemory BandwidthBoard Power
28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm
6.2 Billion6.2 Billion4.3 Billion7.1 Billion7.1 Billion
Up to lớn 1 GHzUp to lớn 947 MHz1 GHz836 MHz863 MHz
176 GT/s152 GT/s128 GT/s188 GT/s166 GT/s
64 GP/s61 GP/s32 GP/s40 GP/s41 GP/s
5 Gb/s5 Gb/s6 Gb/s6 Gb/s6 Gb/s
320 GB/s3trăng tròn GB/s288 GB/s288 GB/s288 GB/s
250 W (Claimed)250 W (Claimed)250 W250 W250 W

Hawaii’s other vital specs remain remarkably intact, though. A geometry engine in each of four Shader Engines maintains as many primitives per cycle. Every Shader Engine is also equipped with four render back-ends, enabling up to 64 pixels per cloông xã across the GPU. The aggregate 512-bit memory bus carries over as well, and Radeon R9 290 sports the same 4 GB of 1250 MHz GDDR5 RAM.

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With so many similarities between R9 290X và 290, aside from shader count, AMD also dials back maximum frequency to lớn keep the two cards from landing on top of each other in performance. The 290X runs at up khổng lồ 1 GHz, while Radeon R9 290 peaks at 947 MHz.

Clochồng Rate Inflation: Marketing Gone (Too) Wild

Let’s talk a little bit about core clochồng rates though, since that was a point of contention from Radeon R9 290X Review: AMD"s Baông xã In Ultra-High-End Gaming. In essence, it appears that AMD has a base cloông chồng rate around 727 MHz with its R9 290X, though the Hawaii GPU wants to lớn run as cthua kém to lớn 1000 MHz as possible. By the time the chip approaches its 95-degree ceiling, you’ll probably find the fan already spinning at 40% duty cycle using AMD’s “Quiet” firmware. From there, the GPU clocks down. Depending on the chip’s quality and the workload you run, Hawaii might slide all the way to 727 MHz và stay there if its tín đồ can’t keep it cool enough.

On the R9 290X we received from AMD, & in the seven games we tested, a 40% người speed is good enough to average about 874 MHz. But when you’re actually gaming on a hot card (& not just benchmarking a cold one), our two-minute Metro: Last Light demo suggests you’ll be spending more of your time in the upper-700 MHz range. In fact, in some titles, you’ll dip under 1000 MHz before even getting out of the thực đơn system và inkhổng lồ the action (Arma and BioShock).

You could hotline that questionable marketing. After all, the only way you’ll actually see a sustained 1000 MHz is if you either let the R9 290X’s fan howl lượt thích a tommèo looking for action or play platform-bound games. Then again, if you’re still seeing better performance from 290X than competing cards, what does it matter how Hawaii gets there, right?

With that in mind, how does the R9 290 fare in comparison?

I maintained the same scale and enforced the same 40% bạn tốc độ limit to give you an idea of how much more variance there is between the troughs and crests. AMD gives the 290 an “up to” rating of 947 MHz, but our seven games average 832 MHz. In the most taxing situations, the cloông chồng rate floor, or base cloông xã, appears lớn be 662 MHz. If the GPU can’t be kept cool, even down at that base frequency, you’ll see the 40% fan limit forcibly exceeded (it crept up to lớn 44% in a three-run căng thẳng kiểm tra of Metro: Last Light).

When you think about it, this is basically the reverse of Nvidia’s GPU Boost công nghệ. AMD is selling its cards using the highest-possible frequency you’ll see, & then slowing them down. Nvidia is citing a base cloông xã và then allowing the GPU’s headroom to push higher. The company makes it a point lớn specify the base and typical boost numbers, though. AMD’s scheme undoubtedly suffers a laông xã of clarity, and after piling praise onkhổng lồ the R9 290X’s value story, I now have khổng lồ hope that Nvidia doesn’t follow AMD down this muddy little rabbit hole.

Ultimately, the performance figures are what matter most. Just be careful before drawing definitive conclusions. The longer you run any of these tests at stoông chồng settings on AMD’s reference design, the more averages will come away from the rated 947 MHz figure. Our sample doesn’t have a Quiet & Uber mode. Both of its firmware switch positions share the same 40% tín đồ tốc độ maximum. And to lớn complicate the situation, prior lớn launch, AMD rolled out an updated driver that overrides the BIOS setting in software lớn allow fan speeds up to 47% by mặc định. What is the impact of that modification?

As we know, overcoming AMD’s throttling mechanism requires manually increasing the OverDrive applet’s maximum duty cycle. By upping its shipping người speed from 40% khổng lồ 47%, AMD allows its reference cooler lớn blow harder, maintaining higher frequencies for longer durations, at the expense of greatly increased noise. Once again, we find ourselves pinning hopes for a quieter, more consistent R9 290 on the company’s partners.

But all we have sầu for now is the reference thiết kế. With that in mind, let’s have sầu a look at the Radeon R9 290 itself.