AMD Radeon R9 and R7 Series Re-branding Introduction

AMD is announcing a new re-branding structure for its video cards. The AMD Radeon R9 and R7 series will make up AMDs new video cards moving forward. Most are re-brands of current series GPUs, but two will be next generation. We will discuss each model announced with specifications and comparison.

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Video Cards Announced Today

Let's review each video card that is being announced today, show you pictures, and specifications. We will save the R9 290X and R9 290 for official releases in the coming weeks.

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AMD Radeon R9 280X

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The AMD Radeon R9 280X will launch at $299 MSRP. The AMD Radeon R9 280X is a re-brand of the Radeon HD 7970/GHz Edition. It is based on the 28nm Tahiti GPU. The streaming processors are the same at 2,048, the ROPs are the same at 32 ROPs, the TMUs are the same at 128. The GPU architecture is based on GCN (Graphics Core Next) 1.0. The clock speed on the AMD Radeon R9 280X will run at 1GHz, and can boost up to 1050MHz, just like the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. The memory will run at 6GHz on a 384-bit bus with 3GB of GDDR5, just like the 7970 GHz Edition. The TDP is exactly the same at 250W.

The selling point here is that the R9 280X is now $299, versus the price of $499 when the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition launched. That's a $200 price reduction, bringing the 280X to a whole new market segment. That 7970 GHz Edition performance can now be had at much more affordable prices.

AMD Radeon R9 270X

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The AMD Radeon R9 270X will launch at $199 for 2GB models and $229 for 4GB models. The AMD Radeon R9 270X is a re-brand of the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition. It is based on the 28nm Pitcairn GPU. The GPU architecture is based on GCN 1.0. There are 1,280 streaming processors, 32 ROPs, and 80 TMUs.

The clock speed on the R9 270X will run at 1.05GHz, which is actually 50Mhz faster than the 7870 GHz Edition. The memory will run at 5.6GHz which is faster than the 7870 GHz Edition's 4.8GHz. On a 256-bit bus this brings the memory bandwidth up to 179GB/sec versus 154GB/sec on the original 7870 GHz Edition. It will run either 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5. The TDP is slightly higher on the 270X, it is 180W versus 175W on the 7870 GHz Edition.

Again, the exciting part here is that the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition was launched at $349. Today, you can get the 270X at $199, a $150 price reduction and the performance should be better still thanks to the faster memory and slightly higher core clock.

AMD Radeon R7 260X

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The AMD Radeon R7 260X will launch at $139. The AMD Radeon R7 260X is a re-brand of the Radeon HD 7790. Finally, the Radeon HD 7790 is re-launched at the price it should have been from the start. It is based on the 28nm Bonaire GPU. The GPU architecture is based on GCN 1.1. Because of this, the Radeon R7 260X will support AMDs new TruAudio as well, it is the only re-branded GPU that will support this. There are 896 streaming processors, 16 ROPs and 56 TMUs.

The clock speed will run at up to 1.1GHz on the R7 260X, this is 100MHz faster than the 1GHz clock speed on Radeon HD 7790. Memory will run at 6.5GHz, which is faster than the 6GHz clock speed on the Radeon HD 7790. This brings the memory bandwidth up to 104GB/sec on the R7 260X versus 96GB/sec on the Radeon HD 7790. It will run 2GB GDDR5 on a 128-bit memory bus. The TDP is 115W on the R7 260X and it was 85W on the Radeon HD 7790, so that got bumped up a significant amount. It still only requires one 6-pin power connector though.

The R7 260X is what the Radeon HD 7790 should have been from the start. The HD 7790 chimed in at $149 for the 1GB model, but the 2GB model was upwards around $170. We even found 1GB models higher than $150, and made horrible competition compared to the GTX 650 Ti Boost. The R7 260X is launching with 2GB models at $139, and we couldn't be happier with that decision. You will also get a higher core clock speed and a memory clock speed boost, which this GPU desperately needed.

AMD Radeon R7 250

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The AMD Radeon R7 250 will launch at $89. This is AMD's way of bringing the GCN architecture to people below $100. You can think of the R7 250 as a Radeon HD 7730 re-branding. The R7 250 has 384 stream processors, same as the Radeon HD 7730. However, the clock speed runs at up to 1.05GHz, which is much faster than the HD 7730's 800MHz clock speed. Memory runs at 4.6GHz on the R7 250 which is also faster than the 7730's 4.5GHz memory. There is 1GB of GDDR5 on a 128-bit memory bus, or the card can support 2GB of DDR3.

The whole point of the AMD Radeon R7 250 is to provide GCN to everyone, under $100, and better than integrated GPU performance. It does not require an external power connector, it operates completely off of the PCI-Express Bus for power at a TDP of 65W. It supports dual-link DVI, and has an HDMI port that supports 4K displays. It's a good card in a HTPC.

AMD Radeon R7 240

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It goes even further, there is also an AMD Radeon R7 240. This is not a video card any of you would likely be interested in, but for comparisons sake it has the following specs. It has 320 stream processors, up to 780MHz clock, 1GB or 2GB of RAM on a 128-bit bus at 4.6GHz. Its TDP is 30W and it does not require a power connector.

What is interested though is that this video card does support DirectX 11.2, and Mantle. So all of AMD's R7 and R9 GPUs, from the bottom up, will support DX 11.2 and Mantle, AMDs new API. That allows AMD to put these technologies in the hands of everyone across every market segment.