AMD Radeon R9 290 Video Card Review

It is time now to look at AMD's Radeon R9 290. This lower-cost R9 290 series video card packs a punch, not only in performance, but also in price. Watch it compete with the GeForce GTX 780, and win while being priced lower. This is the value you have been waiting for with gaming performance.


Evaluation Method

We evaluate what each video card configuration can supply us in terms of a playable gaming experience while supplying the best culmination of resolution and "eye candy" graphical settings. We focus on quality and immersion of the gameplay experience rather than how many frames per second the card can get in a canned benchmark or prerecorded timedemo situation that often do not represent real gameplay like you would experience at home. Then we will follow with apples-to-apples testing in with minimum, maximum, and average framerates.

Test System Setup

Article Image

For the AMD Radeon R9 290 we are using AMD supplied driver Catalyst 13.11 Beta V8. This is the second driver provided to us by AMD for the R9 290 launch review. This new driver improved performance over the Beta V6 driver by tweaking PowerTune and raising the fan speed profile to a new default of 47% over the previous default of 40%. We will talk about this more on a separate page. Understand the performance shown is the default performance you will see on retail cards using Beta V8 driver, and newer. This is the performance profile all shipping R9 290's will ship at.

For the NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs we are using ForceWare 331.58 Beta. We realize there is a newer driver, 331.65, but this driver did not change any performance in the games we are using in this evaluation. The new NVIDIA driver is for Batman: Arkham Origins and BF4, neither of which we are using in this evaluation. The performance shown is up to date.

Article Image

Comparison Cards

Originally, AMD was aiming the R9 290 at the GeForce GTX 770. However, with price competition from both camps, and lowering of prices, AMD has combated this with a new driver update in Beta V8. We will talk about this more later. We included the GTX 770 so you can see where it does line up in regards to GTX 770. We have also included GTX 780, as that is the performance equivalent of the new R9 290. The new MSRP on GTX 780 is $499. R9 290 is still $100 cheaper than the GTX 780.