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AMD Graphics Hardware

AMD's Radeon R9 290 Delivers 290X Performance For $150 Less 183

crookedvulture writes "The back and forth battle for PC graphics supremacy is quite a thing to behold. Last week, Nvidia cut GeForce prices in response to the arrival of AMD's latest Radeons. That move caused AMD to rejigger its plans for the new Radeon R9 290, which debuted today with a higher default fan speed and faster performance than originally planned. This $400 card offers almost identical performance to AMD's flagship R9 290X for $150 less. Indeed, it's often faster than Nvidia's $1000 GeForce Titan. But the 290 also consumes a lot more power, and its fan spins up to 49 decibels under load. Fortunately, the acoustic profile isn't too grating. Radeon R9 290 isn't the only new graphics card due this week, either. Nvidia is scheduled to unveil its GeForce GTX 780 Ti on November 7, and that card could further upset the balance at the high end of the GPU market. As AMD and Nvidia trade blows, PC gamers seem to be the ones who benefit." Additional reviews available from AnandTech, PC Perspective, Hot Hardware, and Tom's Hardware.
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AMD's Radeon R9 290 Delivers 290X Performance For $150 Less

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  • 290X (Score:5, Informative)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @09:08PM (#45341583) Homepage Journal
    I read the headline as a this new card delivering 290 times the performance of something else.
    • You're not the only one. I was about to get my credit card to order parts for a Final Fantasy XIV, DX11 box.

  • Anandtech Fucked Up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @09:15PM (#45341615) Homepage Journal

    They used a shitty case with absolutely horrible acoustic profile to measure the card noise and got a whopping 57 dB.

    Had they bothered to use a real case, they'd have had it almost half as loud (looks like everyone else managed to stay under 50 dB.)

    It's like Anandtech never heard of Delta Fans, either.

    • Okay, I'll bite. What's wrong with the Phantom 630 case that Anandtech used? It has reviewed reasonably well, as far as I can tell.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        The acoustic profile is absolutely horrible compared to say a HAF 922 or Fractal Define R4, hence Anand's nearly double-loudness noise measurement versus everyone else with a brain on choosing a proper computer case.

        Well, they could've gone worse. They could've gone with an old SGI tower.

        • by aliquis ( 678370 )

          Then again they are measuring the noise of the graphics card, not the noise dampening of a case.

          They could measure it with no case at all..

      • As long as they are consistent it doesn't matter too much, BUT someone that cares about the noise levels of a card would find the Anandtech review useless as they would not be using such a case and people that afford these cards and care about the noise level nearly always go for proper cases as well so really Anandtech should either be using a better case or simply not reviewing noise levels.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's probably more to do with taking measurements at a 12 inch distance rather than something reasonable or even standard like 3 feet. While they're not perfect, I find that that techpower up [] has the best measurements regarding noise and the largest sample size of different cards.

    • by GeorgieBoy ( 6120 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @09:44PM (#45341791) Homepage
      If they tested all the cards in the same case, then they did nothing wrong in their testing. Maybe it wouldn't be 57dB for the 290 in another PC case, but it would be lower for all the other cards too. Perhaps it wouldn't necessarily be a linear drop across all the cards, but you can't simply say their choice of case invalidates their findings that this card is REALLY loud compared to other cards. Plenty of people will own cases with "horrible acoustic profile[s]".
    • according to many other tests the 290 and 290X in fact heat more and thus have beefier fans than their geforce counterpart (the 780 and its cousin the titan) - and that, by a rather large factor.
      If you don't care for a little noise tho, the AMD is a pretty good value right now. My 780TF is nearly silent under load. I choose the noise - but if i had a really good case, i'd be tempted.

    • by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:40AM (#45342787) Journal

      Noise measurements (all noise measurements, not just those related to PC hardware) are always suspect:

      What is the ambient noise level?

      What is the test environment? (Is it a well-isolated anechoic chamber, a common desk with a computer near the corner of the room, or is it on the deck of a boat, or on the back of a llama? It makes a huge difference.)

      What is the distance between the rig under test and the measurement rig with the microphone?

      Is this test rig calibrated? (To what standard?)

      What are the properties of the noise? (if it is 57dBa at only 1.5kHz, it is very annoying to me. If it's 57dBa only at 25kHz, it is annoying only to my dog.)

      Is the noise different in differing directions?

      How do you know?

      Did you measure it?

      It's all important, lest the resultant number be absolutely unimportant.

      Also: Meh. "This blue car sounds better than that other blue car!" is roughly as accurate as a non-descrip "noise measurement" of computer hardware.

      • Ambient heat makes a bigger difference, as the fan will have to work harder, spin faster, louder, to keep up.

        Particularly when the mode of cooling is basically shoving as much ambient air at the problem to solve it.

        You can try to correct for it, however then you assume the cooling curve is consistent, which it isn't.

        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          A bigger difference? How so?

          Sound falls of at 6dB per doubling of distance. There's a world of difference between Joe's measurement at 3 inches from the card, and Sherli's measurement at 1M from the card.

          And that's just -one- vector for process-induced measurement SNAFU.

          Sure, ambient heat (or rather, the speed of the fan, which may or may not be directly related to ambient or any other temperature, depending on yet other test conditions) makes a profound difference. A bigger one? Nope, sorry. Not buyin

    • Oh yes, I still remember the Delta fan of that particular Globalwin copper CPU cooler. I have built the PC for an almost deaf gramps and he actually complained about how loud the PC was. Vacuum cleaners pale in comparison.

    • I've had a HD4870X2. With the fan at 100%, looked like a jet turbine. And the current video cards from AMD have the exact same fan.
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @09:22PM (#45341667)

    seriously, it could only have been worse if there was "ON SALE NOW!" in the summary. then again, there is "Nvidia cut GeForce prices" so meh.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Not really. Running harder to reach similar performance as a higher level card with high energy consumption, lots of noise and a GTX 780ti coming soon.

      May sell to some, not to others.

      • You must have read the fucking summary, cheater.

        May sell to some, not to others.

        I built a quiet gamer for the kid after years of wind tunnel simulators, spent quite a bit extra on that silence, too.
        The extra I spent would buy one of these things actually. The point I was getting to is, that I recently realised that the gunfire and explosions pretty well drown out most other noises in the region and we could have stepped up to a faster card anyway.
        It'll make a nice Home Theater when we move on.

        • The point I was getting to is, that I recently realised that the gunfire and explosions pretty well drown out most other noises in the region

          That's what headphones are for. Seriously, even if noise wasn't an issue, I used to notice that headphones actually made me a better player in online games, because I could more accurately judge where an enemy was just from the sound alone. So, unless you've got a perfectly positioned surround sound setup hooked up to the PC, headphones are probably best for everyone.

          • True about the hearing other players, (or so I've heard), but the cheap-ass $100 headphones have never lasted. I got an extra little baby Mackie and a Rode* condenser mic but still haven't scored the good quality headphones for that upgrade. (Got any brand recommendations for that?) I think the kid likes to rumble the neighborhood anyway.
            Hmmm... 5.1 eh?
            *I can't render that letter, do I spell it Rude?

            • I don't think price is necessarily anything to go by when it comes to headset quality, and I can't recommend any as I've not bought any for years sorry. Just check plenty of Amazon reviews and you should get a good idea of build quality, etc

              • Yeah, I'm gonna get some regular studio-grade or audiophile-type, but I haven't shopped for those since 1978. I''ll be fooled by a reasonable facsimile of durablity, reckon they'll pack that with viable transducers. I don't even know who the manufacturers are these days.
                The hoboroadie buys one piece at a time, so it takes a while to integrate.

                • I know that Sennheiser make good headphones, though avoid the ones with carbon fibre headbands. Mine cracked after a few months of popping them on and off my head. I then used a metal/leather headband from a cheaper Sennheiser set that my flatmate wasn't using, and it was comfortable. The transducers were great though, and you could replace the cabling very easily if needed, so I think a pair with a good headband would last you a long time.

            • (there is a lot to be said for a good bassy rumble though :D )

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Considering how shitty nvidia drivers have been since ~292.xx? They'd have to pay me to buy one of their cards at this point, seems that they've done a great flip as has happened in the past, and they outsourced their driver development to 3 cats and a dog.

      • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:54AM (#45342803)
        I was always (post 3DFX) an NVidia GPU user until this year, and it was the drivers and their negative effects that prevented me from choosing NVidia this time around.

        It wasnt always that way. For the most part you could just use the latest drivers and everything would be OK, but about 2 years ago I started having issues where a game wouldnt work with one driver while another game wouldnt work with the ones that would work with... which bothered me but didnt push me over the edge. Then the reports in June of the newest drivers killing cards, and rendering horrible artifacts in many games...

        Its a shame, because I was really eyeballing that vanilla GTX 650 that runs on 64 watts...

        In the intrim I picked up an A10-6800K with its integrated HD 8670D which I am extremely impressed with (low expectations shattered), and now I am eyeballing the HD 7790 that runs on 85 watts.
        • It wasnt always that way. For the most part you could just use the latest drivers and everything would be OK, but about 2 years ago I started having issues where a game wouldnt work with one driver while another game wouldnt work with the ones that would work with...

          Maybe YOU haven't been having these problems, but these problems have literally been a part of the nVidia world since the geforce, if not earlier.

        • I was looking at lower end cards to get a 3 year old desktop with integrated AMD graphics to last another year, but run Star Citizen. Tower had a 300 watt power supply and I was looking at having to replace both the power supply and get a video card at around $150. Or about 1/10th of what I'm planning to spend next year when it will be time to upgrade PC's anyway.

          Well ended up getting the R7 240 which runs on 30 watts. I know it's about the equivalent of a 6670, but it will run Star Citizen on Low/Medium

  • by Lawmeister ( 201552 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @09:25PM (#45341677) Homepage

    The real story is a $400 AMD card can perform as well as or better than a $1000 Nvidia one....

    • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

      The FPS per dollar scatter plot on page 9 of the linked article (here []) is really telling. There's a surprisingly tight correlation between dollars and FPS for almost all of the cards, and then the GTX Titan is way off in no man's land. Nvidia's going to have to drop the price, unless it's just there to soak up money from people with more dollars than sense.

      • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @12:13AM (#45342501)

        The Titan isn't positioned as a high-end gaming card as much as it is a low-end scientific computing card. It's the cheapest GPU that has reasonable double-precision floating-point performance. For whatever reason, most Kepler cards run DP operations at 1/24th the speed of single-precision, but the Titan and most of the Tesla cards are able to do so at 1/3rd the speed. There, the Titan runs thousands less than the similar Tesla cards (the K20 is listed on Newegg for $3500, and the K20X is on Amazon for $7700).

        The fact that the Titan also gets some buys from gamers with way too much money is just a side bonus. Even since the 780 came out, it's been extremely wasteful to get a Titan for gaming. And Nvidia's own 780 Ti is likely to out-perform the Titan in games for $300 less. Really, I think the only reason they ever marked it as a gaming card was as a publicity stunt - they held the title of "fastest card ever" for quite a while, and they held it by an impressive lead.

        • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:17AM (#45342709)


          Yesterday and today I installed 20 Titans in a compute cluster at work, replacing the crappy GTX480's that crash constantly. The cost of these ($20K) would buy us TWO nodes on the local K20 cluster.

          We don't really care that much about the float performance, even; much of our code is memory-bandwidth bound, and much of the rest runs iterative sparse-matrix solvers that can be run in "mixed precision", where you iterate a hundred times in single precision, do one update in double precision, a hundred more in single... So we could use the cheaper gamer cards, but the Titan's a price/performance sweet spot that we can't beat. It's even faster than the K20, and compared to the other gamer cards the 6GB memory gives us a huge amount of flexibility.

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @10:54PM (#45342115) Homepage
      I was modded down the last time I talked about this, so let me be even clearer: if you buy a Titan for gaming, you're either stupid or have a lot of money to waste. The sole reason Titan is at the price it is is because it has the full double-precision speed, similar to Quadro cards which retail for many thousands of dollars (well, that and the fact NVIDIA had zero competition at such a high range for the better part of a year). They're effectively semi-pro cards for number crunching. NVIDIA thinks that this is enough to warrant the price and to be honest I'd probably take one over a Quadro (which can run up to something like $5,000!).

      But again, for gaming, it's entirely unnecessary. Heck, it's extremely likely that the 780Ti, which should be revealed in a few days, will basically be a Titan with higher clocks, slower double-precision operations (whereas the 780 has a few cores less) and less VRAM.
  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @09:41PM (#45341777)

    Who the hell spends $400+ on a video card anymore? How many games will come out in the next year that will get any benefit from any card over $200? 2? maybe 3? And don't forget, a year from now the $200 mid range cards will out perform this card anyway.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) []
      Thats a year of gaming on top settings or emerging 4k resolutions to consider. We have the generation of games, ssd, Windows 8.1, cpu, bandwidth, ram, lcd at ~usable levels.
      The "GPU" as a card or more cards is the interesting part to get right with drivers and ongoing issues.
      Drop the resolution, quality and todays mid range cards are good, but where is the fun in that :)
      How the brands write their code, deal with the heat and work over 2 or
    • Since dual cards (SLI/CF) of the top of the line from AMD/Nvidia barely put out 30fps at 4K in recent games, i'm guessing, we need better video cards, not worse.

      • my 22" monitor's picture doesn't get better after 1080p. Heck, a 40" tv doesn't... 4k is a novelty for anyone with less than a 70" except maybe die hard flight sim and racing fans.
        • 1080p was a "novelty" at first, too.

          • But the human eye can't tell the difference.

            unless you've got your nose to the monitor and have a 30" screen

            This is just like the audiophile garbage. We hit "Max Quality" in audio some time in the 80s after CDs came out. And yes, if you have crap speakers you can still get poor quality but the fact of the matter is any stereo at walmart that costs more than $200 would produce sound indistinguishable from a $10k "audiophile" amp you got from a boutiq

    • Re:um (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Tuesday November 05, 2013 @10:56PM (#45342125)
      People who play at a higher resolution than 1080P. I currently game using three Dell 30" monitors, so I have a total of 12 million pixels to push, which is 50% higher than 4K. I could use a pair of 290X cards in crossfire, once they get after market coolers. Yes, I know I'm not a typical user, but you did ask, "who the hell spends $400+ on a video card". The answer would be me and people like me. Considering that I have $3,000 worth of monitors on my desk, $1,000 for a pair of 290X cards in crossfire is not really all that crazy.
      • by TheLink ( 130905 )

        What sort of games do you play? Flight sim?

        The larger monitors tend to have higher latencies, so they're not so good for games where higher lag would make a difference. Should be fine for flight sims I guess. []
        There aren't as many big monitors with 16ms lag (16ms = 1 frame at 60Hz), except maybe some Sonys? For some reason the lag tends to get crappier the bigger the screen gets Despite what the database says I don't consider 30ms lag to be great when it comes to

      • Flight- and driving-sim enthusiasts, the ones who spend £500 on full replica flight controls for an A-10, or mount a Recaro bucket seat and pro-grade pedal / wheel combo in a dedicated frame in front of their PC for the full rally experience. Where previously they'd need to run SLI / CrossFire cards, they can now do it with one card.

        Also, 14 year olds who have daddy's credit card number and want super-realistic explosions while playing CoD / Battlefield online.
    • I do, but it's not as bad as you think. I started buying the $1k cards about 10 years ago, then sell them after a year for roughly $700-800. There always seems to be people looking for "older" cards to SLI their current setup. So although I initially did pay $1k to buy into the game, so to speak, I rarely spend more than $200-300 to upgrade to the latest and greatest at any given time. It's not like I'm dropping $1k a year.

      Do I need it? Definitely not, since the popularity of consoles has gimped the ad

  • You're spending how much video hardware and you're still running air cooling?

    Put in a good water loop already, sheesh... :-/

  • by GauteL ( 29207 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @09:15AM (#45344259)

    I mean, there are no roads where you can safely and legally drive it at its top speed, so you may as well get a Mazda MX-5. Similarly; every single time there is a new graphics card out, the Slashdot response is the same. "Who needs this? There is minimal difference between this and this! Are there any games taking advantage of this?"

    If you have the money and your an avid gamer, why not? If you can afford to spend $500 on a graphics card every year, I'm sure you also have a top notch monitor with a massive resolution. Also, I'm sure there is always another setting you can switch on in Crysis N. Most of the people who buy these cards aren't suckers. They know a card won't provide them with 3x as much enjoyment even though it costs 3x as much. They simply can afford to stay above the affordability sweetspot.

    They also pave the way for the rest of us and ensure that there will be a card next year which does the same for half the price.

    I can't help but think this reaction is mostly about penis^H^H^H^H^Hgraphics card envy.

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