AMD Launches Another Graphics Card: Radeon R9 280

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 4, 2014 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: radeon, r9 280, R9, hd 7950, amd

AMD continues to churn out its Radeon graphics card line. Out today, or so we are told, is the brand new Radeon R9 280! That's right kids, it's kind of like the R9 280X, but without the letter at the end.  In fact, do you know what it happens to be very similar to? The Radeon HD 7950. Check out the testing card we got in.

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It's okay AMD, it's just a bit of humor...

Okay, let's put the jokes aside and talk about what we are really seeing here.  

The new Radeon R9 280 is the latest in the line of rebranding and reorganizing steps made by AMD with the move from the "HD" moniker to "R9/R7". As the image above would indicate, the specifications of the R9 280 are nearly 1:1 with that of the Radeon HD 7950 released in August of 2012 with Boost. We built a specification table below.

  Radeon R9 280X Radeon R9 280 Radeon R9 270X Radeon R9 270 Radeon R7 265
GPU Code name Tahiti Tahiti Pitcairn Pitcairn Pitcairn
GPU Cores 2048 1792 1280 1280 1024
Rated Clock 1000 MHz 933 MHz 1050 MHz 925 MHz 925 MHz
Texture Units 128 112 80 80 64
ROP Units 32 32 32 32 32
Memory 3GB 3GB 2GB 2GB 2GB
Memory Clock 6000 MHz 6000 MHz 5600 MHz 5600 MHz 5600 MHz
Memory Interface 384-bit 384-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 288 GB/s 288 GB/s 179 GB/s 179 GB/s 179 GB/s
TDP 250 watts 250 watts 180 watts 150 watts 150 watts
Peak Compute 4.10 TFLOPS 3.34 TFLOPS 2.69 TFLOPS 2.37 TFLOPS 1.89 TFLOPS
MSRP $299 $279 $199 $179 $149
Current Pricing $420 - Amazon ??? $259 - Amazon $229 - Amazon ???

If you are keeping track, AMD should just about be out of cards to drag over to the new naming scheme. The R9 280 has a slightly higher top boost clock than the Radeon HD 7950 did (933 MHz vs. 925 MHz) but otherwise looks very similar. Oh, and apparently the R9 280 will require a 6+8 pin PCIe power combination while the HD 7950 was only 6+6 pin. Despite that change, it is still built on the same Tahiti GPU that has been chugging long for years now.  

The Radeon R9 280 continues to support an assortment of AMD's graphics technologies including Mantle, PowerTune, CrossFire, Eyefinity, and included support for DX11.2. Note that because we are looking at an ASIC that has been around for a while, you will not find XDMA or TrueAudio support.

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The estimated MSRP of $279 is only $20 lower than the MSRP of the R9 280X, but you should take all pricing estimates from AMD with a grain of salt. The prices listed in the table above from were current as of March 3rd, and of course, we did see Newegg attempt get people to buy R9 290X cards for $900 recently. AMD did use some interesting language on the availability of the R9 280 in its emails to me.

The AMD Radeon R9 280 will become available at a starting SEP of $279USD the first week of March, with wider availability the second week of March. Following the exceptional demand for the entire R9 Series, we believe the introduction of the R9 280 will help ensure that every gamer who plans to purchase an R9 Series graphics card has an opportunity to do so.

I like what the intent is from AMD with this release - get more physical product in the channel to hopefully lower prices and enable more gamers to purchase the Radeon card they really want. However, until I see a swarm of parts on or at, or very close to, the MSRPs listed on the table above for an extended period, I think the effects of coin mining (and the rumors of GPU shortages) will continue to plague us. No one wants to see competition in the market and great options at reasonable prices for gamers more than us!

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AMD hasn't sent out any samples of the R9 280 as far as I know (at least we didn't get any) but the performance should be predictable based on its specifications relative to the R9 280X and the HD 7950 before it.  

Do you think the R9 280 will fix the pricing predicament that AMD finds itself in today, and if it does, are you going to buy one?

March 4, 2014 | 08:36 AM - Posted by Kyle Tuck (not verified)

I am so glad I picked up a 7870 Myst card last fall for $170 (it was actually $140 after rebate). That's the card that uses a Tahiti LE chip with 1536 shaders and 256 bit memory at 6000MHz, and should probably have been called a 7930.

March 4, 2014 | 09:46 AM - Posted by eddie (not verified)

was wondering when they would re release this core.

March 4, 2014 | 01:25 PM - Posted by DiamondMines

If the prices are reasonable, one can consider it. But AMD has to fix this. And they also need to fix DX9 support for frame-pacing and CrossFireX support.

March 4, 2014 | 05:12 PM - Posted by arbiter

So its a 7950 re-badge with a small overclock.

March 4, 2014 | 07:41 PM - Posted by icebug

Now that I have my 3x Vertical Eyefinity set up I need a friend for my 7950 to hold hands with and help push those pixels. Good news, just hope the prices can stay down until I can buy one!

March 4, 2014 | 09:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I hope the price doesn't rise to $5000000 like the higher end cards. (exaggeration)

March 5, 2014 | 09:33 AM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

The Prices of AMD cards has made me not even care about AMD news, glad they are getting better but thats just how it is.

March 5, 2014 | 10:54 AM - Posted by coop (not verified)

Goon news for me as i cant find a HD7950 anywhere at the moment in the uk to crossfire my MSI HD7950 :)

March 5, 2014 | 07:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

R9 280 @ msrp = insta-buy

March 5, 2014 | 08:56 PM - Posted by jmasta111

Took this screenshot last October when I was shopping around for a replacement for my dead 7770. Ended up waiting a bit too long and in the end pulled the trigger on a Gigabyte Windforce card for ~$205.

At the time I was slightly salty that I missed the lower price because I wanted to see if it would go any lower, but still felt I got a pretty good deal. Not until now do I fully realize how lucky I really was.

March 6, 2014 | 06:07 PM - Posted by daffy (not verified)

$20 bucks difference between the 280 and 280X, are they serious! How stupid would you be not to get the 280X. Differential needs to be $50-60.

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