AMD XFX R9 280X Graphics Card Review

AMD is launching three graphics cards today, the R7 260X, R9 270X and the R9 280X. The 280X is the most powerful of the launching cards today and that’s the one we’re looking at here. The 280X isn’t new by hardware standards. Most people know it by its original name – the HD 7970. It’s higher clocked and cheaper this time around though, so maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

AMD Introduces the R9 280X

AMD is not only pushing graphics cards with the Rx launch, they are also pushing some Gaming Evolved enhancements. The most important one, at least in my opinion, is going to be Mantle. Granted, it will only be important if developers jump on the bandwagon, but if they can get big enough partners on board, Mantle may well be a game changer (heh). Mantle is a very low level API that game developers can use to talk directly to the GPU hardware, bypassing the more convoluted layers of API like DirectX 11.

Mantle API

Mantle API

The good thing is they can program directly for the hardware and it should improve efficiency both from a coding and from an execution standpoint. However, the drawback is that it will only work on AMD graphics cards. It remains to be seen how many developers will jump on this bandwagon – especially when it means they’ll basically have to code on two APIs. Gamers don’t just use AMD, they use both AMD and NVIDIA and people that own NVIDIA cards aren’t exactly going to be thrilled if they are unable to use games to their full potential.

If AMD is able to convince enough partners to jump on board the Mantle train – which is entirely possible considering they control the entire console market for an entire generation of consoles – this could be a major coup for AMD graphics performance. Mantle will make its first appearance in Battlefield 4 courtesy of a patch to the game that’s expected to drop in December.

Moving on, AMD appears to have compared the R9 280X to two and three generations past. Why, you may ask? Because the 280X is not new, not even close. It’s a re-badged HD 7970 clocked at 1 GHz. Yes, the 7970 that has been out for almost two years now. If they put the HD 7970 on here, the difference would be near non-existant.

R9 280X Generation Gap

R9 280X Generation Gap

You can’t really blame them though, because starting with the GTX 770 and down, NVIDIA did exactly the same thing. AMD is slated to release two more graphics cards (you’ll have to check out the rumor mill for info on them; we can’t share anything now), but just keep in mind NVIDIA has two cards above the GTX 770 that were new(ish) tech…and AMD seems to be mirroring those efforts.

AMD is putting the R9 280X against the semi-recently released GTX 760, which itself is a slightly weakened GTX 670.

Battlefield 3 vs GTX 760

Battlefield 3 vs GTX 760

Tomb Raider vs. GTX 760

Tomb Raider vs. GTX 760

Bioshock 3 vs. GTX 760

Bioshock 3 vs. GTX 760

The 280X, like the HD 7970 before it, comes with a 3 GB frame buffer.

Meets Battlefield 4 Memory Recommendation

Meets Battlefield 4 Memory Recommendation

Here we have the specifications. You can pretty well ignore the “Up to” 1 GHz part, our card is pegged at 1 GHz and stayed there throughout testing. There is little changed here from the HD 7970 other than the clock speed at 1 GHz, because there is little changed between the two GPUs period. The 280X is last generation’s flagship GCN product, just like the GTX 770 was last generation’s flagship Kepler product.

AMD R9 280X Specifications

AMD R9 280X Specifications

Meet the XFX R9 280X

The R9 280X that AMD sent us is an XFX model, and it’s a great looking card. It’s a bit fat, extending well past the PCIe bracket, but that’s because of the massive cooler and equally massive 100 mm fans.

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X Rear

XFX R9 280X Rear

Have a look around, you should be pleased. XFX did a great job making this card look great.

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X

XFX R9 280X

The XFX R9 280X is a dual-slot card, which leaves plenty of room for CrossFireX configurations on almost any motherboard.

XFX R9 280X Side

XFX R9 280X Side

Power comes courtesy two power connectors, one 8-pin PCIe and one 6-pin PCIe.

Power Connectors

Power Connectors

Video outputs are typical of the HD 7970 before it, with two DVI, one HDMI and two mini-DisplayPort connectors. For those that want to run three-monitor Eyefinity, remember you can only use one DVI port, so you’ll need an active Mini-DP adapter for the third if your monitor isn’t native Mini-DP.

Video Outputs

Video Outputs

In addition to the large XFX branding on the bottom of the heatsink, there are two other XFX carvings, one more on the side of the cooler and one carved into the PCIe bracket. You don’t need to worry about it blocking airflow since this isn’t a blower-style cooler.

Corner Branding

Corner Branding

Let’s take that massive cooler off and see what lies underneath.

Under the Hood

I mentioned before that this cooler was huge, and I wasn’t kidding.

GPU Cooler Removed

GPU Cooler Removed

There are two parts to the cooler, one that cools the MOSFETs and memory and the huge GPU cooler itself. I like how the supplemental cooler contacts all memory chips as well as the MOSFETs, but I do have to wonder just how much good it’s doing. It seems like it’s plastic, and plastic isn’t the greatest of heat conductors. I have attempted to get XFX’s contact information from AMD and will update in case I’m wrong about the material, but I don’t think I am. The PCB behind the MOSFETs was hot, so much so I couldn’t leave my finger on it. Now, MOSFETs can take heat so it might not be a problem, but long term that might not be so good on the FETs. The plastic was definitely warm and wicking heat, but plastic will never do as good of a job as aluminum would.

GPU Cooler & VRM/vRAM Coolers Removed

GPU Cooler & VRM/vRAM Coolers Removed

The GPU cooler has an impressive six heatpipes going into two separate fin assemblies with lots of heat dissipation area.

Six Heatpipe Cooler

Six Heatpipe Cooler

Six Heatpipe Cooler

Six Heatpipe Cooler

Cooler Base

Cooler Base

As mentioned before, the cooler has two 100 mm fans. I like coolers with larger fans such as this one; they tend to be quieter than coolers with smaller fans, and indeed this cooler is nice and quiet. Even at full blast, you hear a quiet whoooosh of air, no other noise.

2x 100mm Fans

2x 100mm Fans

If you had any doubt that this was an HD 7970 rebrand, I would direct you to the sticker on the underside of the cooler.

What's that say?

What’s that say?

What’s that say in the upper right there? Oh, yea, “797AXXCB”. Anyway…

The PCB on this 280X is good looking as well. It seems well constructed, with no obvious issues on either side.

XFX R9 280X PCB

XFX R9 280X PCB

XFX R9 280X PCB

XFX R9 280X PCB

As you’ve figured out (and been told) by now, the GPU is your standard HD 7970 GPU that we’ve come to know since December 2011.

R9 280X GPU

R9 280X GPU

R9 280X GPU

R9 280X GPU

The GDDR5 memory clocked at 1.5 GHz (6 GHz quad-pumped) comes courtesy Elpida.

Elpida GDDR5 vRAM

Elpida GDDR5 vRAM

Powering the R9 280X is a seven-phase power plane, with six phases dedicated to the GPU and one to the memory.

R9 280X Power Section

R9 280X Power Section

R9 280X Power Section

R9 280X Power Section

R9 280X Power Section

R9 280X Power Section

Well, the card itself looks good, no complaints from a hardware standpoint. Time to install it and see how it does!

Test Setup

Our test setup is the same across all our reviewers, featuring an i7 4770K Intel Haswell CPU and memory clocked at DDR3-1866/ 9-9-9-24.

CPU i7 4770K @ 4.0 GHz
MB ASUS Maximus VI Extreme
RAM G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2600 @ 1866MHz 9-9-9-24
GPUs EVGA GTX 760 SC
ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP
HIS HD 7950 IceQ X2
NVIDIA GTX 770
NVIDIA GTX 780
NVIDIA GTX TITAN
OS Windows 7 Professional x64
XFX R9 280X Installed

XFX R9 280X Installed

Now that it’s installed, let’s see how it overclocks.

Overclocking

Voltage control isn’t quite there on the recent version of Afterburner (beta 14). The slide works, but it doesn’t do a thing to the voltage, so we’re limited to the 1144 mV that is default on the 280X. Without any voltage control, the GPU managed to get to 1085 MHz for a stable, 24/7 overclock. It made it as high as 1100 MHz for easier benches, but for full stability, that had to be dropped a bit. The memory side was more forgiving, making it up to 1650 MHz (1700 MHz through some benches).

Overclocked Settings

Overclocked Settings

3DMark Fire Strike - Overclocked

3DMark Fire Strike – Overclocked

3DMark Fire Strike - Overclocked

3DMark Fire Strike – Overclocked

It’s not much of an overclock, even without voltage. The original HD 7970 didn’t have voltage control at the time either but it clocked to 1125 MHz perfectly stable. My guess is they reduced voltage a tad to get slightly better power consumption numbers out of the R9 280X.

Temperature & Power Consumption

The cooler on this GPU is huge and does a good job keeping things cool. We let the stock BIOS control fans when doing temperature testing and it kept the fans very close to silent, while keeping the GPU at very reasonable temperatures.

Temperatures

Temperatures

Power consumption is on par with the HD 7970 that came before. It saves several watts over the GTX 760 at idle, and the two are neck and neck under load.

Power Consumption

Power Consumption

Cooling and power consumption are right where they should be, looks normal here.

Performance Results

Performance was measured per our GPU testing guidelines. Long story short – benchmarks are run at their default settings and games are run at 1080p with all settings (think MSAA, detail, etc) turned to their maximum.

Synthetic Benchmarks

If you’re not convinced that this is a rebrand of the HD 7970 that’s just clocked at 1 GHz, then you will be now. Just look at the score comparison to the ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP, which itself is, wait for it…clocked at 1 GHz.

Positioning wise though, AMD is aiming for the GTX 760. With the GTX 760 priced between $249 and $299+ depending on board partner, at $299 MSRP, the R9 280X performs perfectly for its price.

3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage

3DMark 11

3DMark 11

3DMark Fire Strike

3DMark Fire Strike

HWBot Heaven Xtreme

HWBot Heaven Xtreme

While the R9 280X doesn’t compete with the GTX 780 or TITAN, it’s not priced to compete with them.

Game Testing

As mentioned, all the games here are tested at 1080p (by far the most common gaming resolution) with all MSAA/detail/etc. settings turned to their maximum.

The R9 280X does exactly how you would expect it to do, within one to three FPS of the HD 7970 DCU TOP. The kicker here is that it is doing a solid job keeping up with the more expensive GTX 770 even with the 280X at stock.

Aliens vs. Predator DX11 Benchmark

Aliens vs. Predator DX11 Benchmark

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3

Civilization 5

Civilization 5

Dirt 3

Dirt 3

Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Crysis 3

Crysis 3

The slightly lower priced GTX 760 doesn’t hold a candle to the 280X anywhere outside Civilization V. In all other metrics, the 280X is clearly ahead.

AMD Eyefinity / NVIDIA Surround

Unfortunately, my Eyefinity/Surround testing didn’t extend to the GTX 760, so there isn’t a head-to-head run at 5760×1080.

AMD Eyefinity / NVIDIA Surround

AMD Eyefinity / NVIDIA Surround

The R9 280X performs right where the HD 7970 did though, so no surprises here. Overclocked, it even comes close to competing with the GTX 780.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

Well, if you came here hoping to be surprised, I’m sorry to disappoint. There isn’t a thing surprising here. As the rumor mill has been talking about for a while, the R9 280X is a HD 7970 refresh. Speaking of, the 7970s currently on the market are available for very good prices; some as low as $279.99 after rebate. Those won’t last very long there though, AMD anticipates they’ll be long gone before the holiday season arrives, so the R9 280X will be their go-to mid-range card for the foreseeable future at an MSRP of $299.

Now, with aftermarket coolers, you can expect a small price increase, around $10-$20 is my guess. At the $299-329 price point, the R9 280X is going to be a strong contender. Sure, there’s not much at all new about it (ok, other than the model number), but at this price it is very hard to beat. Slightly below it resides the GTX 760, from $50 below the 280X to about the same as the 280X. As you can see, the performance is well worth that difference. To get better performance out of an NVIDIA GPU – and in some cases to even get performance that’s on par – you have to jump to at least $399.

So while AMD isn’t bringing anything new to the table (yet, hint hint) with this release, they’re pricing them so competitively, it’s hard not to be impressed. Reviewers and hardware enthusiasts are going to understandably be disappointed with the lack of anything new, but we’ll all be hard pressed to complain about a price like $299. AMD expects the R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X to be available starting on October 11th.

Overclockers_clear_approved

Jeremy Vaughan (hokiealumnus)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

69 Comments:

SF101's Avatar
lost stability after 1100mhz due to voltage lock?
barely more clock for clock efficient than 7970..

If this is the case im pretty disappointed with these results most 7970's were stable to around 1200 atleast.

can only hope they get those voltages unlocked soon otherwise i don't see much point in buying this over the 7970s kicking around ive seen some down to 250-225$ on sale.
wagex's Avatar
except the 7970 stock will probably be sold out soon. so you will only be able to buy them used. this much power coming from a mid range card seems kinda good to me.

edit: err im kinda confused by the numbering. is this mid range or high end? would be kinda dumb to use a refresh of the last series as anything more than a mid range...
hokiealumnus's Avatar
This:
Voltage control wasn't available on the 7970s at first. Afterburner will be updated eventually and we'll have voltage control over these too. Of the three 7970s to pass through my hands, only one would do over 1200MHz - and it stopped at 1280MHz. The other one would do 1200 and the worst did ~1150. This 280X isn't a great chip at stock voltage, but I'm quite sure it would do what every other HD 7970 would do given voltage control.

In any case, if you missed it, this is literally a HD 7970, just clocked at 1000MHz and selling for cheap. If you think you'd have better luck with a 7970, buy one now before they're gone - but don't buy one that costs more than $299 (ok, probably $319 with a good cooler), because the 280X will be a better deal.
wagex's Avatar
edit: dont pay attention to this post

the post that quotes this one two posts down is correct
Humanoid1's Avatar
Even then, its nice to see the 7970 / 280X doing so well against the GTX 770 in so many benchmarks - nothing new ofc...

I know this is just the beginning of the fun, but seems to me AMD have really stepped up their strategic side of the game for this round!

and really... R9 290 for perhaps only $399 going by that recent rumoured slide... and a bunch of Free games I seem to own none of that I actually want too!

Think I am going to go and quickly put my Asus 7950 Direct CUII TOP up for sale ^_^
...kinda missed my trusty old modded fanless 8800GT anyways xD
Humanoid1's Avatar
Mantle is supported by any GCN GPU
wagex's Avatar
poop, i stand corrected.
sorry i was unaware of this. thank you lol.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
This:
All GCN GPUs will support Mantle.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Side note: We're working to add some more games as time goes on (though we won't be re-testing all previous GPUs). The XFX R9 280X managed 73 FPS in Bioshock: Infinity.
bluezero5's Avatar
so basically.. R9-280x is about the same as GTX 770.. its counterparty.. but a little cheaper?

... I guess I will wait for 290X's performance before making a conclusion, but for now.. very underwhelming... ...

...
wagex's Avatar
so im still kind of confused like if these were the 9xxx series would this pretymuch be the 9870 (mid range?) still folowed by the 290/x290x (9950/9970) (high range?) so wouldnt this be expected performance?
Janus67's Avatar
I thought I read that Mantle worked on all graphics cards (AMD+nVidia) as it is an open API?
ninjacore's Avatar
That kinda makes sense. Does anyone remember launch prices for the 7950/70?
EarthDog's Avatar
Not sure on that, but I know it isn't used now and will make its debut by the end of the year in BF4 with an update to the game.
ninjacore's Avatar
Nice review, by the way. LOL at the 797AXXCB sticker


EDIT: Also, anyone else notice that the 7950 (and maybe 7970?) prices went up by 2-5% recently?
wagex's Avatar
6970 was as fast as the 7870 cept in the freakish games of dirt 3 and civ v it was very similar performance.
"mid range" "9870"(280x) being (literally) same as "7970" i dont think its too far off and therefor don't see a reason to be disappointed by performance, im guessing people are just getting confused that the flagship gpu's NDA still aren't to release for another week.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Heh, R9 280X is about the same as GTX 770, but is also powered literally by a HD 7970. There's nothing new here, just a MSRP price drop, higher stock clock speed and eventually Mantle, which also works on a 7970.

AMD isn't calling it a rebrand, just like NVIDIA didn't call the GTX 770 & 760 rebrands, but the rest of us can call a spade a spade. There isn't anything here that's meant to be really exciting other than the reduced MSRP. I guess what I'm saying is to save your judgement for the 290/290X, about which I know nothing. Nothing I tell you!
That's a pretty good analysis if they kept with the old naming scheme. You can also look at it as the same thing NVIDIA did. Maybe I should have put a chart in the review. Disregarding higher clocks and/or slight optimizations/knee-cappings, this is how both companies "new" lineups break down:

NVIDIA

GTX TITAN - New
GTX 780 - New
GTX 770 = GTX 680
GTX 760 = GTX 670

AMD

R9 290X = New
R9 290 = New
R9 280X = HD 7970
R9 270X = HD 7870
R7 260X = HD 7790

Not quite sure how it would. Mantle is specifically designed to give hardware-level access to GCN GPUs and is not an open source project as far as I understand it.

The HD 7970 had no competition when it launched (GTX 680s hadn't come out yet and it trounced the GTX 580). It was priced at $549.

FTFY.
wagex's Avatar
thanks hokie, i was just making sure i had it all right. so no reason to complain about performance people, flagship is still to come i suspect it will be rather well considering how its looking now.
Humanoid1's Avatar
During the AMD presentation last month they talked a lot about cross platform (but they were talking about Console and PC's with AMD (GFx) hardware.)

What they did say is that Mantle is compatible with MS DX HLSL (High Level Shading Language for DirectX) so porting over game assets would be straight forward to provide games with Mantle support.

There was a specific slide saying Mantle is compatible with GCN GFx cards ( - which NVidia is not)
ninjacore's Avatar
Any idea if the 280X will work in Crossfire with a 7970, then, or was there enough architectural change to make them incompatible?
hokiealumnus's Avatar
I very highly doubt they would work together. Completely different BIOSes, even if the biggest part of the change is the model number.

Oooo...I forgot to put another amusing thing in the article.

With WHQL Catalyst 13.9, this is what GPUz looked like for the 280X:



...with the Catalyst 13.11 beta used in the review, it looked like this:



MattNo5ss's Avatar
The GTX760 (1152 shaders) is a cut down GTX670 (1344 shaders), so GTX760 = GTX670 isn't correct. The only direct rebrand from NVIDIA is the GTX770 = GTX680. Needed to clear that up
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Heh, I would direct you to the text above the model numbers.

If you want me to be more specific...

NVIDIA

GTX TITAN - New
GTX 780 - New
GTX 770 = GTX 680 (pretty close to exact)
GTX 760 = GTX 670 (kneecapped shaders)

AMD

R9 290X = New
R9 290 = New
R9 280X = HD 7970 (higher clocked)
R9 270X = HD 7870 (higher clocked)
R7 260X = HD 7790 (higher clocked)
Kemosabe89's Avatar
SO in a nut shell for $299 you can get the 280x which out preforms the gtx 770 for about $100 less and free games! Guess who's the winner this round???
SF101's Avatar
which is a amazing feature to gain on all the 7000 series cards in itself.

I have yet to regret going amd on my 7970 series card it just keeps getting better and when i put it in my guest pc its nice to know they are still adding functions like mantel to its capability and the card isn't just fading away easily.

things like that make my decision to buy a 290x all the more easy to pull the trigger on.
SF101's Avatar
No i just expected some optimizations/enhancements to it is all . maybe a 5% performance increase like the 580 saw over the 480 but i guess this wasn't a die shrink or anything so its tough to squeeze out those extra ponies.
Avulsion's Avatar
Not so sure of that part yet....A few of the reviews/articles I've read today state that the 200 series, as of now, will not be included in the Never Settle Bundle.

As far as benchmarks, I've seen quite a range of FPS/scores compared to the nVidia house. Overall, I wouldn't say that the 200 series "absolutely crushes" or "outperforms" the GTX 700 series...The 760, yes, but the others not so much. It is a pretty close run between them.

As far as pricing, the 200 series is indeed nice and I am still considering it for my next upgrades. But I'll wait a little longer for 2 reasons, the final specs of the 290x and for other companies to release all their versions of the 280x. Not to mention, I wouldn't doubt it if the prices for the 200 series dropped a tiny bit more in a few weeks after the hype dies.

The prices now are great, and I love that. It just means I can just grab a few 280x's and xFire if need be. But then you have to look at personal usage. Benchmarks and all aside, would I really need 2 for one monitor running 1080? Not really, could a 760 suit my needs? It very well could. Hard to say it will be the "zomghaxxorzpwncard" when it varies from party to party. I do love the green team, as I have never experienced any issues from them like I did AMD. However, times have changed and I will not strictly say that I am a fanboy of either group. I go for value/performance overall, I'll sit back for the 290x and decide a little while after its release.

It is indeed too early to judge right now, as this is just the first bit of it. So I'll wait...somewhat patiently lol

Here's a small bit of the reviews/articles I read:

AnandTech

PC World

H-OCP

Techpower Up

Tom's Hardware

Tech Report
SF101's Avatar
The prices on the 7970's saw massive sale type 100$ off adjustments within a month after release i got my Giga OC 7970 about a month or 2 after 7970 release and it was 150$ off sticker price i got it for i think under 500$ which at the time was the price of the stock reference cards.

So i'm probably going to wait a bit with these aswell unless a sale hits again.
Bluefalcon13's Avatar
You need to remember, nvidia blew amd's line out of the water a few months after amd's line was out. Nvidia saw the amd performance and actually held titan back for almost a product cycle. I remember reading how kepler was going to be massive and amazing, then the release cards were aroung the midgrade of what the leaks were saying out of nvidia. As far as I can tell, the rumors for the 600 series turned out to be the truth of the 700 series. There was a pre-kepler rumor thread here I was ninja trolling :-)
Hardin's Avatar
Well the 770 is the winner because it came out in May or so..... Now Nvidia can probably do a price drop or release a new card or something.

These cards are rehashes despite what AMD says. True Audio is something to be excited about, but we will have to see if games will support it. Mantle is probably the most exciting thing about this launch, and that will be available on the 7000 series.
Knufire's Avatar
BIOS flash possible? (Either a 7970 to a 280x or a 280x down to a 7970)
Avulsion's Avatar
I've done a little reading on the xFire between the series, and apparently it will work. That is just one site though, so take it as you will

Clicky-Clicky
ninjacore's Avatar
The Anandtech article mentions that, if anyone else was wondering

I find it hard to imagine AMD not eventually including 200-series cards in the Never Settle bundle. It does expire December 31, however, so maybe they won't include it with the cards at release and launch another program in 2014? Pure speculation there and I hope it isn't true. I was hoping for BF4 to be added to Never Settle at some point
Avulsion's Avatar
Yep, I'd imagine something along those lines. 2014 is probably the likely time to see it bundled, but still too early to really say for sure. Only time will tell
wagex's Avatar
thats awesome, they do say its 100% works and they get almost double the frames with it.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
That's crazy, thanks for the link. Our 7970 DC II is also 1000/1500, I'll see if I can get ours to work too.
Robert17's Avatar
I'm also thinking that although NVidia also announced some price drops along with 7** GTX versions that until Maxwell in the spring of '14, AMD seems to have timed this brilliantly. Intro of cards at this time gives reviewers time to report, competition to heat up as the various AIBs get product into the channel, and enthusiasts time to save up for Christmas, or at least get the begging to an annoying pitch.
xsuperbgx's Avatar
I think I saw somewhere that you can flash a 7970 to the 280x.
magellan's Avatar
Didn't the GTX 770 at least feature clock speeds that were significantly higher than the GTX 680? And optionally, more video memory?
EarthDog's Avatar
Nope. There are 680 varients with 4gb and varying clocks.


@ xsuper - seen the contrary on H forum... But not sure if that wasn one sample or what bios...etc. here is to hopng!
Kemosabe89's Avatar
Really comes down to semantics. If you think the gtx 770 wins over the 280x. Granted benchmarks are a reference and not the be-all sign of a clear cut winner, depends on if your a die-hard green fan or red fan. And the fact that you state that nVIDIA can, and i quote, "probably do a price cut", doesn't make it a winner. If its any price cut like the gtx 600's, if they knock off $20 on the gtx 770 its still not a winner if you can pay $80 less and get either the same, or near same performance cheaper. Just because it came out first doesn't make it a winner. I would need at least a 5-10% increase to make me pay almost $100 more. Just means for now, till 20nm comes out and its amazing and huge increase, nVIDIA has nothing to counter back other then trying to reach the price-point of AMD.
Culbrelai's Avatar
So if this is between a 760 and a 770, then it can be surmised that the R9 290x will be between a 770 and 780, since AMD themselves said they were trying to compete with the GTX Titan (ololol wonder why)

Perhaps they won the battle but not the war?

Story of my life.
doz's Avatar
R290 will be between the 770 and 780. R290x will be between the 780 and Titan.
ninjacore's Avatar
Nice! Not sure I'll ever do it, but if I ever decide to go CF, at least it gives me more options to shop for
briansun1's Avatar
nice review and that is a really nice looking card
magellan's Avatar
Good review. Is the R9 280X the exact same GPU as the 7970? Or are the audio processing capabilities the only difference?

I don't understand the need for audio processing capabilities on a video card at all -- especially
when the video card still needs a separate sound device to actually output the sound. I'd rather
have a faster GPU than a GPU that can do audio as well as video processing.

Sorry, I meant to write 7970 in place of 6970.
ninjacore's Avatar
I think you mean the 7970? Yes, it is, just clocked a bit higher. I don't think the 280X has the new audio capabilities.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
As mentioned above, TrueAudio does not apply to the R9 280X (nor the R9 270X), only the R7 260X and the big dogs that aren't released yet.

Also as mentioned, this is the same GPU as the HD 7970.
magellan's Avatar
So Nvidia played the same game AMD is playing now w/the R9-280x?
EarthDog's Avatar
What game is that? Rebrands? Yes. The 7 series (770 and 760) are rebrands. The 780 is a cut down Titan.
SupaMonkey's Avatar
At least they've finally stopped putting those stupid vapour chambers on them.
GatorChamp's Avatar
We have a bunch of threads about these cards so I hope this is not posted somewhere already but this has my attention. Not fond of the price point over normal 280x but its price to performance looks solid. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7406/t...toxic-review/1
Kemosabe89's Avatar
For a yellow build thats like the perfect center piece.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Yesterday I received an ASUS Matrix Platinum R9 280X. Won't have time to get to it until next week, but it is pretty. Seems like it's nearly identical to the Matrix Platinum HD 7970, which stands to reason. I will try, but will probably be hard pressed to tell any differences aside from the model number.
magellan's Avatar
They use magnetos to power 7970's?
Ivy's Avatar
It has been revealed weeks ago how AMD is handling it... and that means, the same way just as Nvidia regarding the 700 series. Compared to the GTX 770, previously the archrival of the 7970, the GTX 760 cant hold a candle (thats well said) and the GTX 770 have to accept defeat and a price cut could be the result. But im truly not sure about the full testing conditions but even without OC, the GTX 770 is not able to match performance. Thats not different from the 7970 but the 280X is that agressively priced (300$) that it will be the better deal as long as Nvidia isnt catching up.

Regarding performance, im not sure the clocks, its not fully visible. The TOP should be clocked to 1 GHz i assume? Thats not more than a standart GHz edition, confusing.

Well as far as i can see, the only cards with a "true" improvement (known as GCN 2.0) is the 290 specced cards, comparable to GTX 780 + Titan. Of course thats rather disappointing but have to remember that Nvidia did exactly the same considering the 700 series and the "fans" was still hyping it like crazy. So far AMD didnt release any "bomb", because they are still hiding the two GCN 2.0 beasts from the public, for whatever reason. Bomb would mean: To beat 780 + Titan, thats the stuff most of the people want to know. In term its only a match... its at least "good news" but nothing able to nuke. When i look at the specs i know so far (shader count, ROP, memory bus, TFLOP*), its possible to have a "bomb attack". But those cards will surely surpass the price of the "mainstream old tech cards" by a clear margin (much higher priced), comparable to Nvidia.* Expected TFLOP for 290X is above 5 TFLOP (officially stated by AMD), while a GTX 780 is around 4.5 TFLOP, Titan slightly higher (prehaps 4.7 or so).
DHP's Avatar
Hello, which R9 280X would you recommend ? Do any of you have a comparision reviews of different model ? I'm looking for a silent model with decent performance. perhaps I should wait fore more model to come out.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
We don't have others published yet, but we have a HIS card and an ASUS card in for review. The HIS should publish soon (Lvcoyote is writing that one) but I haven't had a chance to start on the ASUS yet.
GatorChamp's Avatar
i linked a sapphire card a few post back.
SF101's Avatar
to bad you didn't get a non reference HIS to try out they make some pretty solid coolers and tend to oc well. but i suppose the voltage locks are still in place anyways.
EarthDog's Avatar
also an msi gamer version.
Ivy's Avatar
Still curious, so the 260X and the still hidden flagships are the only cards with the new audio chips, is that correct?

Well, im disappointed, this is a partial cheap rebrand game but cant truly blame AMD because Nvidia was doing the same stuff way sooner and was showing AMD a possible path. The true gain simply is that a 7970 chip can be gotten for less than 300$ soon (out of the box and fresh from vendor), so people who think that they cant afford good hardware may be wrong. Rebrands arnt new at all but it was usualy used on OEM hardware only, so the market has moved to a uncommon rebranding spot, a sign of weakness i assume. But i do believe that AMD will release truly new stuff at the same time Nvidia is releasing Maxwell. So they had in mind not to taunt Nvidia and executing the same hilarious game such as Nvidia for now.
neo668's Avatar
I'm posting this just as a matter of interest.

Went down to our computer mall in Hong Kong to see if the R9 290 had been released yet. But all I could see was the R9 280X. So I took a few photos (courtesy of the shop) for my son with the relevant price tags. The prices are in Hong Kong Dollars which is roughly US$1 = HK$7.75. And here they are:

I might be getting the HIS IceQ X depending on what the price of the R9 290 will be.


HIS IceQ X - HK$2,450 (US$316).





XFX Dual Fan - HK$2,450 (US$316)





Sapphire Dual-X - HK$2,550 (US$329)





Sapphire Vapor-X - HK$2,750 (US$355)





On the other hand, the HD7970 seem to be more expensive. Here is an XFX model going for HK$2,799 (US$361).





The R9 280X supposedly comes with 1 game (but not BF4). BF4 will only be bundled with the 290.

Does anybody have any opinion which is the best one to get out of the above? Thanks.
hokiealumnus's Avatar
Yes. It's not audio chips though, it is a feature built directly into the GPUs, which is why they're just in the 260X & 290/290X. If you could just add a chip, they may have added it to the 270X/280X, but since it's part of the GPU they couldn't re-use older GPUs that didn't originally come with the feature. The only reason the 260X has it is because the Bonaire core in the 7790s had it, it was just not enabled on those cards.
magellan's Avatar
The pictures of the R9 280x in Hong Kong kinda remind me of Bladerunner.
Leave a Comment