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Tuesday, November 05, 2013
AMD Releases The $399 Radeon R9 290 Graphics Card


AMD recently released its new flagship GPU, the Radeon R9 290X. The high-end graphics processor forced Nvidia to aggressively cut the price of its GTX 780. But the release of the $399 Radeon R9 290 sends another ripple into the competitive landscape.

With the AMD Radeon R9 290, AMD is cutting down on both the number of functional units and the clockspeeds in exchange for a lower price.



For the Radeon R9 290, AMD has cut the number of CUs from 44 to 40 while adjusting down the base GPU clockspeed and boost GPU clockspeed to from 727MHz and 1000MHz to 662MHz and 947MHz respectively. But the amount of memory, the memory clockspeed, the memory bus width and the number of ROPs have all remained unchanged compared to the R9 290X: 5GHz for the memory clockspeed, 512-bits for the memory bus width, and 64 ROPs. All these mean that the differences between the 290 and 290X should be limited to the clockspeed differences and the reduced number of CUs.

 
AMD Radeon R9 290X
AMD Radeon R9 290
AMD Radeon R9 280X
AMD Radeon HD 7970
Stream Processors
2816
2560
2048
2048
Texture Units
176
160
128
128
ROPs
64
64
32
32
Core Clock
727MHz
662MHz
850MHz
925MHz
Boost Clock
1000MHz
947MHz
1000MHz
N/A
Memory Clock
5GHz GDDR5
5GHz GDDR5
6GHz GDDR5
5.5GHz GDDR5
Memory Bus Width
512-bit
512-bit
384-bit
384-bit
VRAM
4GB
4GB
3GB
3GB
FP64
1/8
1/8
1/4
1/4
TrueAudio
Y
Y
N
N
Transistor Count
6.2B
6.2B
4.31B
4.31B
Typical Board Power
~300W
~300W
250W
250W
Manufacturing Process
TSMC 28nm
TSMC 28nm
TSMC 28nm
TSMC 28nm
Architecture
GCN 1.1
GCN 1.1
GCN 1.0
GCN 1.0
GPU
Hawaii
Hawaii
Tahiti
Tahiti
Launch Price
$549
$399
$299
$549


As it did with the release of the 290X, AMD has not provided TDP details for the new 290, which is estimated to have a nearly identical TDP to the 290X, right 300W.

The Radeon R9 290 isbuilt on AMD?s Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and supports AMD's Mantle API as well as the AMD TrueAudio technology, which has been designed to surround gamers with realistic audio environments through stereo headsets and speakers using a dedicated audio processor built into the GPU core.

AMD is launching the 290 at a very aggressive price of $399, competing with AMD's own $549 290X and the $299 280X. On the NVIDIA side the competition will be the $499 GTX 780 and the $329 GTX 770.

NVIDIA for their part will have their 3 game Holiday GeForce Bundle on the GTX 780 and GTX 770.

And according to the first reviews that have surfaced online, AMD has managed to offer possibly the best graphics card out there for $399. It is significantly faster than the $500 GeForce GTX 780 while it remains very close to the $550 Radeon R9 290X's performance.

Nvidia's 780 Ti is just around the corner but still, Nvidia will possibly have to cut the price of its existing GPUs even more in order to compete with AMD.




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