The first reviews of the AMD Radeon R9 290X PC graphics card have emerged – and the outlook looks bright for chip maker AMD.
The high-end card has launched in the UK, priced at £449.99. Here’s what the reviewers had to say about it:
"Some thought it was impossible, but there’s no doubt the Radeon R9 290X is every bit as fast as the mighty GeForce GTX Titan. At nearly half the cost [it ‘s a] a gutsy play that should provoke a response from Nvidia," said Techspot.com, which gave the 290X a 95 per cent score.
However, they noted "it’s hot enough to remind us of Fermi and it’s still priced like a premium card compared to more mainstream Radeons."
Tom’s Hardware agreed: "I’ll get more enthusiastic about the R9 290X if third-party designs start showing up with better cooling. Until then, it’d be downright negligent to not recognise this card’s class-leading performance at a price we paid for Radeon HD 7970 two years ago."
Other downsides cited by TechPowerUp include "high power consumption, no analog VGA outputs" and high noise levels, although the website praised the 290X’s good performance, improved multi-monitor output, dual BIOS and more, awarding the card a score of 93.
HardOCP.com gave the card a gold award, and said: "The R9 290X is absolutely the best performer at Ultra HD 4K for a single GPU video card. In the case of 4K gaming, it’s definitely a "Titan killer."
In terms of positives around the 290X’s overclocking capabilities, Guru3D praised AMD for providing enthusiasts with the Uber mode. "You will now have 50 per cent extra on the power limiter and can play around with a fixed core and memory frequency," they said. "These GPUs can take 1050~1100 MHz fairly well really, and at that stage you added another 10 per cent performance already."
KitGuru says the cooler is the only reason the 290X didn’t walk away with its highest award.
"But we are quite sure that when we get modified versions of the 290X in coming weeks that they will get the ‘must have’ award," they said. "AMD has released a monster card able to take on Nvidia in the high end, but they really do seem to have a hard time developing a quiet, capable reference cooler for their hardware."
"It’s looking like neither Nvidia nor AMD are going to let today’s launch set a new status quo," they said. "While we can only speculate on performance, we certainly don’t expect Nvidia to let the 290X go unchallenged.
"The bigger question is whether they’re willing to compete with AMD on price."