AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB Graphics Card Launch Review
A couple of weeks ago AMD launched their new R9 and R7 series cards which replace the 7000 series in the market. The models released up to this point have primarily been tweaked versions of existing GPUs however today we get to see something new from AMD, their R9 290X which is based on the Hawaii chip, priced at $549/£449 and takes on the Geforce GTX 780. Today we will be taking a look at the R9 290X in games such as Battlefield 3, F1 2013 and Total War: Rome 2 to establish whether it can take on the GTX 780 and win.
Before we look at this R9 290X though, here is a quick summary of some changes on the AMD platform which we covered in the first R9/R7 articles…
R9 290X, 290 and R7 260X add AMD TrueAudio which will be supported in future games. TrueAudio tech takes the gaming audio processing task away from our CPU and uses graphics card resource to provide more advanced audio effects (such as improved virtual surround sound), and then passes it to our output device.
Using Thief, one of the first TrueAudio titles as an example of how the tech impacts game development the above slides show what Yves Breton, EIDOS Montreal’s Lead Sound Designer had to say.
Then there is AMD Mantle…
Simply put, Mantle is AMD’s approach to providing the ideal platform for game developers to expose the features/performance of the AMD cards in their games. It is an approach similar to that found in consoles where developers can draw better performance out of the hardware than the PC equivalent… there is no need for the DirectX/OpenGL layer/overhead in the process. It’s GPU>Mantle API/Driver>Game. Using Battlefield 4 as an example there will be a patch released later this year which moves AMD users from the DirectX build to a Mantle build and gives Dice the opportunity to expose more graphics features and performance.
So that’s the basics on what AMD are doing in the current generation, with a little of what we can expect in the future. Essentially putting in place a platform now for developers to take advantage of later if they wish.
So, let’s see this R9 290X!