Straddling the R7 and R9 designation
It is often said that the sub-$200 graphics card market is crowded. It will get even more so over the next 7 days. Today AMD is announcing a new entry into this field, the Radeon R7 265, which seems to straddle the line between their R7 and R9 brands. The product is much closer in its specifications to the R9 270 than it is the R7 260X. As you'll see below, it is built on a very familiar GPU architecture.
AMD claims that the new R7 265 brings a 25% increase in performance to the R7 line of graphics cards. In my testing, this does turn out to be true and also puts it dangerously close to the R9 270 card released late last year. Much like we saw with the R9 290 compared to the R9 290X, the less expensive but similarly performing card might make the higher end model a less attractive option.
Let's take a quick look at the specifications of the new R7 265.
Based on the Pitcairn GPU, a part that made its debut with the Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 in early 2012, this card has 1024 stream processors running at 925 MHz equating to 1.89 TFLOPS of total peak compute power. Unlike the other R7 cards, the R7 265 has a 256-bit memory bus and will come with 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 5.6 GHz. The card requires a single 6-pin power connection but has a peak TDP of 150 watts - pretty much the maximum of the PCI Express bus and one power connector. And yes, the R7 265 supports DX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, and Mantle, just like the rest of the AMD R7/R9 lineup. It does NOT support TrueAudio and the new CrossFire DMA units.
|Radeon R9 270X||Radeon R9 270||Radeon R7 265||Radeon R7 260X||Radeon R7 260|
|GPU Code name||Pitcairn||Pitcairn||Pitcairn||Bonaire||Bonaire|
|Rated Clock||1050 MHz||925 MHz||925 MHz||1100 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Memory Clock||5600 MHz||5600 MHz||5600 MHz||6500 MHz||6000 MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||179 GB/s||179 GB/s||179 GB/s||104 GB/s||96 GB/s|
|TDP||180 watts||150 watts||150 watts||115 watts||95 watts|
|Peak Compute||2.69 TFLOPS||2.37 TFLOPS||1.89 TFLOPS||1.97 TFLOPS||1.53 TFLOPS|
The table above compares the current AMD product lineup, ranging from the R9 270X to the R7 260, with the R7 265 directly in the middle. There are some interesting specifications to point out that make the 265 a much closer relation to the R7 270/270X cards than anything below it. Though the R7 265 has four fewer compute units (which is 256 stream processors) than the R9 270. The biggest performance gap here is going to be found with the 256-bit memory bus that persists; the available memory bandwidth of 179 GB/s is 72% higher than the 104 GB/s from the R7 260X! That will definitely improve performance drastically compared to the rest of the R7 products. Pay no mind to that peak performance of the 260X being higher than the R7 265; in real world testing that never happened.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 10, 2014 - 12:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, R7, hd 7770, amd, 250x
With the exception of the R9 290X, the R9 290, and the R7 260X, AMD's recent branding campaign with the Radeon R7 and R9 series of graphics cards is really just a reorganization and rebranding of existing parts. When we reviewed the Radeon R9 280X and R9 270X, both were well known entities though this time with lower price tags to sweeten the pot.
Today, AMD is continuing the process of building the R7 graphics card lineup with the R7 250X. If you were looking for a new ASIC, maybe one that includes TrueAudio support, you are going to be let down. The R7 250X is essentially the same part that was released as the HD 7770 in February of 2012: Cape Verde.
AMD calls the R7 250X "the successor" to the Radeon HD 7770 and its targeting the 1080p gaming landscape in the $99 price range. For those keeping track at home, the Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition parts are currently selling for the same price. The R7 250X will be available in both 1GB and 2GB variants with a 128-bit GDDR5 memory bus running at 4.5 GHz. The card requires a single 6-pin power connection and we expect a TDP of 95 watts.
Here is a table that details the current product stack of GPUs from AMD under $140. It's quite crowded as you can see.
|Radeon R7 260X||Radeon R7 260||Radeon R7 250X||Radeon R7 250||Radeon R7 240|
|GPU Code name||Bonaire||Bonaire||Cape Verde||Oland||Oland|
|Rated Clock||1100 MHz||1000 MHz||1000 MHz||1050 MHz||780 MHz|
|Memory||2GB||2GB||1 or 2GB||1 or 2GB||1 or 2GB|
|Memory Clock||6500 MHz||6000 MHz||4500 MHz||4600 MHz||4600 MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||104 GB/s||96 GB/s||72 GB/s||73.6 GB/s||28.8 GB/s|
|TDP||115 watts||95 watts||95 watts||65 watts||30 watts|
|Peak Compute||1.97 TFLOPS||1.53 TFLOPS||1.28 TFLOPS||0.806 TFLOPS||0.499 TFLOPS|
The current competition from NVIDIA rests in the hands of the GeForce GTX 650 and the GTX 650 Ti, a GPU that was released itself in late 2012. Since we already know what performance to expect from the R7 250X because of its pedigree, the numbers below aren't really that surprising, as provided by AMD.
AMD did leave out the GTX 650 Ti from the graph above... but no matter, we'll be doing our own testing soon enough, once our R7 250X cards find there way into the PC Perspective offices.
The AMD Radeon R7 250X will be available starting today but if that is the price point you are looking at, you might want to keep an eye out for sales on those remaining Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition parts.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 6, 2014 - 08:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, radeon, R7 250X
The AMD Radeon R7 250X has been mentioned on a few different websites over the last day, one of which was tweeted by AMD Radeon Italia. The SKU, which bridges the gap between the R7 250 and the R7 260, is expected to have a graphics processor with 640 Stream Processors, 40 TMUs, and 16 ROPs. It should be a fairly silent launch, with 1GB and 2GB versions appearing soon for an expected price of around 90 Euros, including VAT.
Image Credit: Videocardz.com
The GPU is expected to be based on the 28nm Oland chip design.
While it may seem like a short, twenty Euro jump from the R7 250 to the R7 260, the single-precision FLOP performance actually doubles from around 800 GFLOPs to around 1550 GFLOPs. If that metric is indicative of overall performance, there is quite a large gap to place a product within.
We still do not know official availability, yet.
Subject: General Tech | January 20, 2014 - 12:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, 3.13, amd, radeon
There is a new Linux kernel in the wild today and it comes with a lot of enhancements. IPTables has been replaced with the NFTables packet filtering and firewall engine, with backwards compatibility for those who actually forced IPTables to behave. There is a new scalable block layer to deal with the previously unreachable I/O that PCIe SSDs can reach and designed specifically for multi-core systems. There is much more but the update many are most excited about is the performance improvements to Radeons of the 7000 family and new models. The benchmarks that Phoronix posted are very impressive but that is only half the story, there are updates to HDMI audio and Radeon Dynamic Power Management is now enabled by default. Check out the full list of updates here.
"Linux kernel 3.13 has been released. This release includes nftables (the successor of iptables); a revamp of the block layer designed for high-performance SSDs; a framework to cap power consumption in Intel RAPL devices; improved squashfs performance; AMD Radeon power management enabled by default and automatic AMD Radeon GPU switching; improved NUMA and hugepage performance; TCP Fast Open enabled by default; support for NFC payments; support for the High-Availability Seamless Redundancy protocol; new drivers; and many other small improvements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD is being sued by investors over Llano expectations @ The Inquirer
- AMD Kaveri: Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Drivers @ Phoronix
- AMD readies ‘native’ 16-core chips based on ‘Steamroller' @ Kitguru
- Specs and highlights of Intel’s 9-series chipset revealed @ Kitguru
- Intel confirms it will axe 5,400 workers in 2014 @ The Register
- HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' @ [H]ard|OCP
- How To Fix Keychain Corruption In OS X Mavericks @ Tech ARP
- The Android Experiment: I miss the Windows windows @ The Inquirer
- How-To: Kill Your Phone @ MAKE:Blog
Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2014 - 12:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, r9 290, hawaii, catalyst, amd
Confirming the results that Ryan and other sites have seen are the results of [H]ard|OCP's testing of two different retail R9 290X GPUs against a pair of press sample cards. Much as with Ryan's findings even using the newer Catalyst 13.11 Beta 5 driver, Quiet mode performance varies far more than Uber mode does but even Uber mode displays some differences between models. However they draw a slightly different conclusion based on their experiences, determining that the variance is not just a matter of press samples versus retail cards but a variance between any and all 290X GPUs. The complexity of this huge chip is such that the differences in manufacturing process and tolerances are to blame and some cards will simply be better than others. They also are disappointed by AMD's marketing team, citing that the key is 'With NVIDIA GTX 600 and 700 series the video cards are "running faster than advertised" and with AMD R9 290X the video card is running "slower than advertised."'
"The AMD Radeon R9 290X arrived recently with a high level of performance, and a high level of controversy. There have been reports of performance variance between Radeon R9 290X video cards. We have two purchased retail cards today with stock cooling that we will test and see if performance variances exist."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Asus R9 290X Direct CU II OC @ Kitguru
- ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II and Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X Video Card Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- HIS R7 240 iCooler Boost Clock 2GB GDDR3 Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- NZXT Kraken G10 GPU Bracket Review @ Techgage
- EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified Motherboard Review @ Hardware Asylum
- MSI GTX 780 Ti Gaming 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte R9 290X OC WindForce @ Kitguru
- Palit GTX 780 Ti JetStream @ Legion Hardware
Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2014 - 01:40 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: CES, CES 2014, msi, 290x, radeon, amd, Lightning, R9 290X
The MSI Lightning series of graphics cards continues to be one of the best high end enthusiast lines available as we have seen with our reviews of the MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning and the R7970 Lightning. At CES this week in Las Vegas the company was showcasing the upcoming card in the series based on the latest AMD Hawaii GPU.
The MSI R9 290X Lightning features an updated triple cooler design and heat pipe cooler that appears to be truly impressive. If the weight of the card is any indication, this GPU should be running considerably cooler than most of the competition.
MSI has included a dual BIOS option, updated Military Class 4 components and hardware but be prepared to sacrifice three slots of your motherboard to this monster. Power requirements are interesting with a pair of 8-pin power connectors and a single 6-pin connector, though the 6-pin is going to optional.
The power of the card still comes from AMD's latest R9 290X Hawaii GPU, so you can be sure you'll have enough gaming power for just about any situation. We implored MSI to make sure that the overclocks of this card, probably in the 1050-1100 MHz range, are maintained consistently through extended game play to avoid any awkward variance discussions.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
DisplayPort to Save the Day?
During an impromptu meeting with AMD this week, the company's Corporate Vice President for Visual Computing, Raja Koduri, presented me with an interesting demonstration of a technology that allowed the refresh rate of a display on a Toshiba notebook to perfectly match with the render rate of the game demo being shown. The result was an image that was smooth and with no tearing effects. If that sounds familiar, it should. NVIDIA's G-Sync was announced in November of last year and does just that for desktop systems and PC gamers.
Since that November unveiling, I knew that AMD would need to respond in some way. The company had basically been silent since learning of NVIDIA's release but that changed for me today and the information discussed is quite extraordinary. AMD is jokingly calling the technology demonstration "FreeSync".
Variable refresh rates as discussed by NVIDIA.
During the demonstration AMD's Koduri had two identical systems side by side based on a Kabini APU . Both were running a basic graphics demo of a rotating windmill. One was a standard software configuration while the other model had a modified driver that communicated with the panel to enable variable refresh rates. As you likely know from our various discussions about variable refresh rates an G-Sync technology from NVIDIA, this setup results in a much better gaming experience as it produces smoother animation on the screen without the horizontal tearing associated with v-sync disabled.
Obviously AMD wasn't using the same controller module that NVIDIA is using on its current G-Sync displays, several of which were announced this week at CES. Instead, the internal connection on the Toshiba notebook was the key factor: Embedded Display Port (eDP) apparently has a feature to support variable refresh rates on LCD panels. This feature was included for power savings on mobile and integrated devices as refreshing the screen without new content can be a waste of valuable battery resources. But, for performance and gaming considerations, this feature can be used to initiate a variable refresh rate meant to smooth out game play, as AMD's Koduri said.
Sapphire Triple Fan Hawaii
It was mid-December when the very first custom cooled AMD Radeon R9 290X card hit our offices in the form of the ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II. It was cooler, quieter, and faster than the reference model; this is a combination that is hard to pass up (if you could buy it yet). More and more of these custom models, both in the R9 290 and R9 290X flavor, are filtering their way into PC Perspective. Next on the chopping block is the Sapphire Tri-X model of the R9 290X.
Sapphire's triple fan cooler already made quite an impression on me when we tested a version of it on the R9 280X retail round up from October. It kept the GPU cool but it was also the loudest of the retail cards tested at the time. For the R9 290X model, Sapphire has made some tweaks to the fan speeds and the design of the cooler which makes it a better overall solution as you will soon see.
The key tenets for any AMD R9 290/290X custom cooled card is to beat AMD's reference cooler in performance, noise, and variable clock rates. Does Sapphire meet these goals?
The Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 4GB
While the ASUS DirectCU II card was taller and more menacing than the reference design, the Sapphire Tri-X cooler is longer and appears to be more sleek than the competition thus far. The bright yellow and black color scheme is both attractive and unique though it does lack the LED light that the 280X showcased.
Sapphire has overclocked this model slightly, to 1040 MHz on the GPU clock, which puts it in good company.
|AMD Radeon R9 290X||ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II||Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X|
|Rated Clock||1000 MHz||1050 MHz||1040 MHz|
|Memory Clock||5000 MHz||5400 MHz||5200 MHz|
|TDP||~300 watts||~300 watts||~300 watts|
|Peak Compute||5.6 TFLOPS||5.6+ TFLOPS||5.6T TFLOPS|
There are three fans on the Tri-X design, as the name would imply, but each are the same size unlike the smaller central fan design of the R9 280X.
The First Custom R9 290X
It has been a crazy launch for the AMD Radeon R9 series of graphics cards. When we first reviewed both the R9 290X and the R9 290, we came away very impressed with the GPU and the performance it provided. Our reviews of both products resulted in awards of the Gold class. The 290X was a new class of single GPU performance while the R9 290 nearly matched performance at a crazy $399 price tag.
But there were issues. Big, glaring issues. Clock speeds had a huge amount of variance depending on the game and we saw a GPU that was rated as "up to 1000 MHz" running at 899 MHz in Skyrim and 821 MHz in Bioshock Infinite. Those are not insignificant deltas in clock rate that nearly perfectly match deltas in performance. These speeds also changed based on the "hot" or "cold" status of the graphics card - had it warmed up and been active for 10 minutes prior to testing? If so, the performance was measurably lower than with a "cold" GPU that was just started.
That issue was not necessarily a deal killer; rather, it just made us rethink how we test GPUs. The fact that many people were seeing lower performance on retail purchased cards than with the reference cards sent to press for reviews was a much bigger deal. In our testing in November the retail card we purchased, that was using the exact same cooler as the reference model, was running 6.5% slower than we expected.
The obvious hope was the retail cards with custom PCBs and coolers would be released from AMD partners and somehow fix this whole dilemma. Today we see if that was correct.
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 12, 2013 - 05:20 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, amd, radeon, hawaii, r9 290, R9 290X, bitcoin, litecoin, mining
If you already listened to this weeks PC Perspective Podcast, then feel free to disregard this post. For the rest of you - subscribe to our damned weekly podcast would you already?!?
In any event, I thought it might be interesting to extract this 6 minute discussion we had during last nights live streamed podcast about how the emergence of Litecoin mining operations is driving up prices of GPUs, particularly the compute-capable R9 290 and R9 290X Hawaii-based cards from AMD.
Check out these prices currently on Amazon!
- Radeon R9 290X - $725+
- Radeon R9 290 - $499+
- Radeon R9 280X - $429+
- GeForce GTX 770 - $409+
- GeForce GTX 780 - $509+
- GeForce GTX 780 Ti - $699+
The price of the GTX 770 is a bit higher than it should be while the GTX 780 and GTX 780 Ti are priced in the same range they have been for the last month or so. The same cannot be said for the AMD cards listed here - the R9 280X is selling for $130 more than its expected MSRP at a minimum but you'll see quite a few going for much higher on Amazon, Ebay (thanks TR) and others. The Radeon R9 290 has an MSRP of $399 from AMD but the lowest price we found on Amazon was $499 and anything on Newegg.com is showing at the same price, but sold out. The R9 290X is even more obnoxiously priced when you can find them.
Do you have any thoughts on this? Do you think Litecoin mining is really causing these price inflations and what does that mean for AMD, NVIDIA and the gamer?