Power Consumption, Sound Levels and Closing Thoughts
Based on the performance metrics of the preceding pages, it should come as no surprise that the single R9 290 uses just about the same amount of power as the R9 290X. Both cards fall within 12 watts of each other in my testing. The GTX 780 is quite a bit lower (44 watts less) so it does have a power consumptoin advantage even though you must consider the performance gap there as well.
Under SLI/CrossFire that wattage gap increases – the second R9 290 adds 222 watts to the system power draw while the second GTX 780 adds only 171 watts.
If we have one major gripe about Hawaii it is the noise it creates. Not in the marketplace, but in your system; actual noise noise. The R9 290 is quite a bit louder than R9 290X since they both use the exact same cooler, yet the 290 runs at 47% maxmium fan speed versus the 40% maximum fan speed in the out-of-box settings on the R9 290X. Obviously, if you run the 290X in "Uber" mode (55% max fan speed) then you'll have even more sound to drown out.
For comparison, the GTX 780s in SLI are running more quietly than the single R9 290X or R9 290. AMD must surely be hoping for a quick release of some improved custom partner-built retail card options.
Performance and Positioning
Where do we start with the AMD Radeon R9 290 when it comes to performance? Clearly the Hawaii GPU has it where it counts and is able to belt out gaming frames at a pace to beat the best NVIDIA has to offer today. The R9 290 is able to perform on par with, and is often faster than, the GeForce GTX 780 3GB card based on a slightly cut down GK110 GPU. Keep in mind that just a couple of weeks ago the GTX 780 was a $650 purchase, and it is getting beat by a $399 AMD card. Even today at $499 for the GTX 780, AMD is making a case for becoming the best performance per dollar option in the market.
The R9 290 is a bit confusing when compared to the R9 290X. Both are based on the Hawaii GPU, though the R9 290 has 10% few stream processors and a 5% lower maximum clock, the R9 290 is often at performance parity with the 290X and actually comes out ahead in several instances, particularly around the 4K resolutions. Why? The R9 290 is running at a maximum fan speed of 47% thanks to AMD's last minute adjustment while the 290X maximum is set at 40% by default. Because of that, and for the many technical reasons outlined in my story posted yesterday (AMD Hawaii – Configurable GPU?), the R9 290 is able to run closer to its maximum clock rate more often than the R9 290X.
The R9 290X running in what AMD calls "Uber" mode, with a maximum fan speed of 55%, would surely push the 290X ahead of the 290, but AMD made the decision to ramp up the fan speed settings of this lower cost Hawaii GPU. For a user that sees both options, the out of box experience for both cards will be pretty close to identical. The only difference will be the $150 you save if you buy the R9 290.
AMD CrossFire is working much better today than it did 6 months ago as our results show, but I might still hold off on buying a pair of Hawaii GPUs until we give AMD some more time to improve the frame pacing variances we still see. If you need CrossFire to run an Eyefinity or 4K panel today, a pair of R9 290s for $800 will treat you quite well.
AMD's Aggressive Product Pricing
This leads us to the issue of pricing and AMD's maybe overly aggressive stance. The R9 290 will cost $399 at launch, clearly making it the best enthusiast graphics card for gamers. Considering the performance it brings and the cards it competes with, the $399 price tag should be an easy sell. The R9 290 is much faster than the $329 GeForce GTX 770, while also running past the $100 MORE expensive GTX 780 3GB. The GTX TITAN shouldn't even be in the conversation for gamers.
For users considering both the 290 and the 290X, going with the higher priced option makes very little sense based on the metrics we are seeing here today. The R9 290X is $150 more yet is proving to be only minimally faster at 2560×1440 and actually comes out behind the R9 290 at 3840×2160 testing.
- AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB – $549 (Newegg.com)
- AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB – $399 (Newegg.com)
- AMD Radeon R9 280X 3GB – $299 (Newegg.com)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB – $999 (Newegg.com)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB – $499 (Newegg.com)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB – $329 (Newegg.com)
AMD promises that availability of the R9 290 4GB card will be "strong" but whether or not that is better than what we saw with the R9 290X will just have to be seen.
Yes, I realize that if you flip the switch to "Uber" mode on the R9 290X that it will definitely turn out faster than the R9 290, but buyers of the $399 option can also just open up the control panel and turn their fan speed maximum to 55% and have, again, another nearly-identical gaming experience.
AMD has definitely gone on the warpath with the Radeon R9 290 4GB graphics card. Seemingly going straight for the juggular of NVIDIA, the R9 290 is able to perform better than a GeForce GTX 780 for $100 less (which seems like deja vu from last month) while at the same time willing to undercut its own flagship to nearly make it irrelevant to anyone other than those that have the temerity to demand ONLY the best at any cost.
It's not a perfect card as there are still the issues we saw with the R9 290X present here including fan noise, uncomfortably high temperature GPUs and even variable clock rates that can make estimating performance more difficult. In fact, the R9 290 is louder than the R9 290X is by default, thanks to the move AMD made to increase fan speed to insure a performance victory over the GTX 780.
We are also seeing availability issues with Hawaii – finding any in stock has been a struggle for gamers even before the release of the R9 290. And I think the R9 290 will be significantly more desired than the 290X thanks to the pricing adjustment.
How will NVIDIA respond at this point? I think a price drop on the GTX 780 (again) is out of the question and the GTX 780 Ti is going after the ultra enthusiast at $699. NVIDIA does have the advantage of the three game bundle (Splinter Cell, Batman Arkham Origins and Assassin's Creed IV) along with the discount on SHIELD. Software like GeForce Experience with ShadowPlay is also a nice bundle, but will it be enough for gamers to justify the $100 price increase (and performance delta)? It's hard to see that happening.
Why aren’t these available
Why aren’t these available yet on newegg?
Its a bit of an odd move for
Its a bit of an odd move for AMD. This card is priced to undercut it owns self. Yea its faster then a gtx770, and around same as 100$ more 780. With nvidia cards you get games with them and cooler and quieter cards. So AMD cards have their upsides but also their down side.
Yeah, really uneven
Yeah, really uneven distribution of their cards has made the 290x obsolete in a way.
Yeah, but only in regards to
Yeah, but only in regards to reference cards. After market cards that allow the 290X to stay closer to the 1GHz clock should allow it pull away a fair bit, especially were the game is shader bound. Anyways, stunning value, I would not have been disappointed if this came in at the rumoured 450$
I am more interested in an
I am more interested in an apples to apples of the 290 and 290x. If Ryan can find a little time I would love to see a few benchmarks of them running at the same maximum fan speed to show the actual performance difference one would get for the extra $150.
givin the heat this gpu makes
givin the heat this gpu makes it won’t be much, there will be some but your talking 100% fan and no one will use it at that. Even at 100% ammount of air pushed through vs say 75% is not that much more.
Let me clarify when I said
Let me clarify when I said “same maximum fan speed” I was referring to manually setting both cards to either 47% or 55% fan speed and performing benchmarks to show a direct performance comparison.
While not exact, we use set
While not exact, we use set the 290X to 20%, 30%, 40%, 50% and 60% fan speeds.
I’m guessing its yield issues
I’m guessing its yield issues that they are getting a lot of cards with a few bad compute units and they expect to sell all of the 290x’s they can make similar to what nvidia does with the titian. Or they could just be happy with the margins on the 290 and are making a grab for increased market share. I’ll be interested so see what the board partners do in the way of custom coolers and I look forward to Joshtekk’s reviews.
EDIT tom’s strapped an arctic accelero xtreme III after market gpu cooler on there 290 and got an almost 13% improvement in performance now i REALLY want to see those custom coolers.
titan is a 2688 cuda core
titan is a 2688 cuda core gpu, the new 780ti is supposed to be according to leaked PDF from galaxy a 2880 cuda core gpu.
GRID 2 single card 4K results
GRID 2 single card 4K results appear to be missing?
GRID 2 has some compatibility
GRID 2 has some compatibility issues at 4K with crashing back to desktop.
I almost bought one just now
I almost bought one just now on Newegg. 399 is a good deal. Then I saw you can get a 780 lightning for $529 plus a 15$ rebate and 3 games. 729 for the shield combo. You can sell the shield and games for over 300 and you have a lightning for the same price as a 290 without the heat and noise.
I’m going to wait for the R9
I’m going to wait for the R9 290 with a 3rd party cooler. Forget the 780 – it’s obsolete now unless it drops to $350 tops.
Agreed. Nvidia’s entire line
Agreed. Nvidia’s entire line up from 770 to Titan is virtually obsolete now, glad I didn’t waste my money on any of those Nvidia GPU’s.
funny how its “obsolete” when
funny how its “obsolete” when amd card is 6 months late to the game. Funny how back 1 year ago one first things people jumped on difference between nvidia and amd card was amd had game bundle with it. Yet NOW its nvidia that has the games with it and AMD has 0 with it yet not a peep about that is even thought of? Sadly though biggest missed part is heat made by this card is terrible as a gamer. Yea amd says its made to run at that temp but sure a lot of people agree with me that just cause it can run 95c all day long doesn’t mean we want that kinda heat in our computer. If it got 95c on an open air test bench its gonna be quite a bit worse when you stick it in an inclosed case. temp diff is usually a good what around 5-10c warmer even with good air flow cause well some that air is stuck in case for short time.
You demonstrate several times
You demonstrate several times in that one paragraph how little you understand about the fundamentals of building a solid system. System heat is defined by the amount of power going into the GPU, not by the temperature said GPU runs at… It’s also going to run at 95c in a case because it is thermally limited.
So, yeah, keep attacking those imaginary fanboys flying around your head all day. It’s fun to watch. 😀
Ryan as the chart says i
Ryan as the chart says i think with a corsair ax 860 i will be fine for 2 of these bad boys.
I really want to see how
I really want to see how third party vendors improves on the fan,heat and noise aspects of these cards.
I could see my self switching my GTX 680 out for a 290 or a 290x, but not a reference version though.
that is hopes atm, is the AMD
that is hopes atm, is the AMD reference cooler is just that bad and its not that gpu makes that much heat. would be interesting to see how well it tests in an enclosed case with more on avg air flow and not open air bench which does kinda mess with results compared to real world use.
Tom’s Hardware showed that
Tom’s Hardware showed that the cards for press are MUCH faster than the retail cards… what do you think?
if it was ever proven that
if it was ever proven that they sent out cards were faster then retail, would be a pretty big PR nightmare later.
edit: i am lookin at toms’s review now and that is very suspect to me. difference between Press card and retail is around 15-20%. if it was ~5% could call within spec of slight differences in the cards but that is a little to much. since 290 on their test is almost same wonder if that is a press card as well? Love to get Ryans thoughts on that data though.
I have purchased some retail
I have purchased some retail cards last night to investigate just this. We will find the truth!
AMD deserves to be
AMD deserves to be shamed if the story is truly as it seems
Make sure to run a LONG test
Make sure to run a LONG test inside a case also please. Part of their findings show it tanked more in speed as it got hotter (well duh I guess). Running open air is one thing, but how hot does it get running loops in a pc (or like you would see say, playing BF3/4 for hours)? Does it get so hot that it’s dropping core speed to stay at 95 temps? Toms saw speeds drop into the 700’s (~750 if memory serves) and he wasn’t running his retails in a closed case either.
We need to start seeing tests running in a closed box if this is really what happens. I’m also wondering how a card like this affects your OC’ed CPU. If everything inside the box is hotter, wouldn’t it affect your OC at least some (those not on water I’d guess).
One more point: It seems to me all NV has to do is release the same type of driver adding 10-12DB’s of noise with a higher default clock speed and call it a day. That is all AMD did here right? I wouldn’t be surprised by them doing this to get 780 speeds up just enough to top AMD, then 780TI on top of everything, though there are those 3 AAA games and lower tempts/noise that will mean something to some.
780 TI scores above, 2880 cores, and faster clocks takes down a 690 is some stuff. Clock frequencies of 876MHz/928 MHz for the core/boost and 7GHz for the memory are specified. OCing 780TI will produce some fantastic perf with FULL SMX’s on. I rather like NV’s way here, of adding more resources than clocking it to death to win.
Not that confusing, Rory Read
Not that confusing, Rory Read wants to HURT Nvidia’s high end gaming position and he now has the tools to do it.
Oxide Games -> “which lets us see dramatic increases in performance on Mantle-enabled systems” – is another indication Mantle is indeed going to bring, well, dramatic performance increases.
Eidos Montreal is implementing Mantle and is part of Square Enix …
Just to stay competitive with the 290 Nvidia will need to drop the price of the 780 to $400.
What’s Nvidia going to do in a week when APU13 reveals the full extent of AAA Mantle games in the pipeline and a working demo shows what Mantle is really capable of?
And aftermarket 290 and 290x cards start arriving to unlock even more power with much less noise and better temps?
Nvidia will be in a position it cannot be competitive with AMD 2xx cards without selling at a loss.
Rory Read is about to put a 4×4 up against Nvidia’s head.
the 780/titan OC’ed to 1ghz
the 780/titan OC’ed to 1ghz is on about same level as the amd card.
At some point in time, with
At some point in time, with all the driver issues and bandwith constraints, of communicating data GPU to CPU over a 64 bit bus, or even uHSA over a 64 bit, designed for general purpose computing data bus, to regular memory is going to become too restraing for future games. At what point in time will GPUs with much larger data buses, available bandwidth, and much faster dedicated GPU memory, have to include a CPU/s on die with the GPU, a CPU that shares the same fat data bus with the GPU. Whould having a dedicated gaming CPU/GPU gaming box, on a PCI card be the way to go in the future? Imagine if AMD had the freedom to do with its x86 IP license, and its GPU IP, the same thing it does with the dedicated console hardware, unconstrained by the limited gaming compute/hardware restraints of the motherboard general purpose CPU.
Stupid question, but do any
Stupid question, but do any of those DVI ports output to the old VGA just incase you need to hook up to a monitor with VGA (temporarily)?
It looks like the dvi ports are DVI-D, which do not output analog signal for the VGA cable…
It’s time to upgrade your
It’s time to upgrade your benchmarks with Battlefield 4.
It is odd to me that one of
It is odd to me that one of the arguments is how much cooler 80C is…176F, that is still toasty 😛
Tom’s has a R9 290 with an aftermarket cooler modded to fit.
temps weren’t discussed, but quiet was, and it was quiet and overclock to 1.15Ghz. That quiet R9 290 destroyed the GTX 780.
I’ll make a prediction that the non-reference cards are gonna be better and that the GTX 780Ti is gonna need a price drop when the numbers post.
Nv has too much riding on the 780Ti. It can’t just “beat” the 290 and 290X it has to rip them apart, not likely.
edit: also. gsync is NEVER going to work with AMD cards EVER.
It really is about time that
It really is about time that graphics cards have come down to reasonable prices. $1000 for a single gpu configuration?! It seems crazy now, and it has seemed crazy for the last 5 years at least. The highest end cards in the early 2000’s rarely passed $600 and it was just four years ago in 2009 that AMD released their highest end single gpu card the Radeon 5870 at $379. Now imagine a 290X at that price instead – it would compete handsomely with the consoles. It seems odd, but now AMD will be competing with itself as soon as the PS4 and XBone are released.
Think competition with consoles and general GPU computing vs intel not necessarrily competition with Nvidia. By stealing market share from NVidia they can only gain a relativley small and well definedf amount of new customers – however there is a much larger market and millions of new customers awaiting to be tapped in the console market
The consoles have weak
The consoles have weak hardware compared to even a modestly specced PC. A high end PC blows all current (and next gen) consoles out of the water.
So why do console games look so impressive? One of the big reasons is a streamlined graphics API.
So just wait for AMD’s mantle. I think quite a number of people are going to be truly shocked by improved performance with a high end PC due to mantle. Developers are jumping on board. Not long to go now for the 1st game (BF4) to show us what mantle can do !
WTF? How did I get 3 replies
WTF? How did I get 3 replies LOL !
An NVidiot’s stupidity is
An NVidiot’s stupidity is infinite. Why?
Before the release of the AMD R9 290X, the GTX 780s were selling in the $650 to $820 price range.
The NV boys were happily buying the GTX 780s and Titans.
In a few games, the AMD R9 290 at $399 beats the GTX 780s and Titans. NV boys are crying and making excuses now.
“Both the R9 290X and the R9 290 are showing faster results than the GTX 780, as we would expect based on the past pages of gaming benchmarks.” from Ryan’s Review. PCPER, hardocp and techpowerup reviews are in agreement.
AMD brings lower prices to GTX 780s and NV boys are not happy.
One thing I haven’t really
One thing I haven’t really seen discussed is that this card basically cannot be overclocked. It already will not run at its nominal clock speed in real world gaming situations unless you are willing to tolerate a jet engine under your desk. On the other hand, 780 GTX’s and Titans are clocked very conservatively and almost all of them can easily run at 200+ MHz over their nominal clock.
what would the Price to
what would the Price to Performance be a crossfire pair of HD7870 / R9 270x compared to the R9 290? which at $200 each should make for a nice comparison.
the main reason i want to know is that i have a HD7870 and next year i was planning on upgrading to a second GPU. but if it out performs this at the same price i will probably get a R9 290 instead.
The thread below add a more
The thread below add a more highlight on the two gpu thing.. But sometime it is more confusing to compare if you have a old system – http://forums.techarena.in/monitor-video-cards/1472739.htm