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Review: AMD Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X

by Tarinder Sandhu on 8 October 2013, 05:00

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qab3rb

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Testing methodology


GPU Comparisons

Graphics Card GPU Clock
(MHz)
Stream
Processors
Shader Clock
(MHz)
Memory Clock
(MHz)
Memory Bus
(bits)
Graphics Driver
AMD Radeon R9 280X 3GB 1,000 2,048 1,000 6,000 384 Catalyst 13.11
AMD Radeon HD 7970 GE 3GB 1,000 (1,050) 2,048 1,000 (1,050) 6,000 384 Catalyst 13.11
AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB 800 1,792 800 5,000 384 Catalyst 13.11
AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB 1,050 1,280 1,050 5,600 256 Catalyst 13.11
AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB 1,000 1,280 1,000 4,800 256 Catalyst 13.11
AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB 1,100 896 1,100 6,400 128 Catalyst 13.11
Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB 863 (900) 2,304 863 (900) 6,008 384 GeForce 331.40
Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB 1,046 (1,085) 1,536 1,046 (1,085) 7,012 256 GeForce 331.40
Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 2GB 980 (1,033) 1,152 980 (1,033) 6,008 256 GeForce 331.40
Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB 915 (980) 1,344 915 (980) 6,008 256 GeForce 331.40
Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB 980 (1,032) 960 980 (1,032) 6,008 192 GeForce 331.40
Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB 980 (1,032) 768 980 (1,032) 6,008 192 GeForce 331.40

HEXUS Graphics Test Bench

Processor Intel Core i7-4770K (3.50GHz, 8MB cache, quad-core)
CPU Cooler Intel reference E97378-001
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H
Memory 16GB G.Skill RipJaws (2x8GB) DDR3 @ 1,600MHz
Power Supply Corsair AX760i
Storage Device Crucial M500 240GB SSD
Chassis Corsair Graphite Series 600T
Monitor Philips Brilliance 272P (2,560x1,440)
Operating system Windows 8 64-bit

HEXUS High-End Benchmark Suite

GPU Benchmarks Mode and Resolutions Quality Settings
3DMark DX11 at 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440 Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme
BioShock Infinite DX11 at 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440 Ultra + DOF
Crysis 3 DX11 at 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440 4xMSAA, High Preset
Far Cry 3 DX11 at 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440 2xMSAA, Ultra Preset
GRID 2 DX11 at 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440 4xMSAA, Ultra Preset
Just Cause 2 DX10 at 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440 8xMSAA, High Preset
Total War: Rome II DX11 at 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440 4xMSAA, High Preset
General Benchmarks Description
Power Consumption To emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record mains power draw both when idle and while playing Far Cry 3
Temperature To emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record GPU core temperature both when idle and while playing Far Cry 3
Noise A PCE-318 meter is used to record noise levels when idle and while playing Far Cry 3

Notes

There's a significant amount of change from our last round of testing. 12 cards have been benchmarked from scratch. We're using the latest drivers as at October 1. We've also moved away from an Intel 3rd Generation Ivy Bridge build to a 4th Generation Haswell, represented here by the range-topping Core i7-4770K.

There's been upheaval in the games, as well, with GRID 2 replacing DiRT Showdown and Total War: Rome II taking the place of Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

Lastly, we've benchmarked these 12 GPUs at two resolutions - 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440. The higher resolution is a departure from the usual 2,560x1,600-resolution testing we've used in the past and is far more indicative of the monitors that you can purchase today.

AMD's new pricing for the R-series cards doesn't necessarily match up against Nvidia's. For example, there's no obvious $299 and $139 reference parts from the green team. In the ensuing performance results you'll see that we've tried to group like GPUs together, specifically comparing the R9 280X to a Radeon HD 7970 GE and Nvidia GeForce GTX 770, though do be aware that they're not available at the same price. Likewise, the R9 270X is compared against a Radeon HD 7870 and GeForce GTX 660. Unfortunately we only had an overclocked GeForce version to hand.

One last thing, AMD sampled reference R9 270X and R7 260X cards for our testing. The R9 280X, however, was provided by an add-in board partner - Asus for us. We received the pre-overclocked TOP version running at 1,070MHz core and 6,400MHz memory. It's not a perfect solution, granted, so we downclocked it to standard speeds for the results you will see in a moment. And finally, the fact that we're dealing with launch cards means we'll leave the overclocking until the inevitable retail cards pass through the labs.