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Review: AMD Radeon R9 295X2

by Tarinder Sandhu on 8 April 2014, 13:00


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Want the world's fastest graphics card? You're looking at it.

AMD's engineers set out to create the world's fastest gaming graphics card when constructing the Radeon R9 295X2 8GB behemoth. Though rival Nvidia has also announced a dual-GPU card based on high-end technology, Titan Z, we can only dole out advice on products that are available for evaluation. AMD expect this card to be in the channel this month.

Common sense informs us that building an air-cooled version of this card would entail performance compromises that AMD simply didn't want to make. The use of liquid cooling for ultra-enthusiast cards is a logical step when sheer grunt is the primary criterion.

And grunt it does, vociferously, when chewing through benchmarks at a 4K resolution. The Radeon R9 295X2 liberally destroys any other card in our line-up. It's not wasted power, either, as performance oftentimes jumps from a juddery 25fps to, say, a smooth 50fps.

Closer examination of what's actually happening when the card's pushing pixels to the monitor is illuminating. Success at a 4K resolution and ultra-quality settings requires massive throughput, lots of memory bandwidth, a clean interface (XDMA) and a large framebuffer for both GPUs. Radeon R9 295X2 has these qualities.

Regularly the bane of dual-GPU offerings, performance is both fast and smooth. There are very few super-slow frames in evidence for our games - something that cannot be said for the previous-generation GTX 690 and HD 7990 - and, dare we say, the $1,499 R9 295X2 performs more like a single-GPU card than ever before.

This fulsome praise does come at an inevitable cost. You can achieve almost the same level of performance by housing two R9 290X or a couple of GTX 780 Ti cards into a system, saving money that could be used elsewhere. Following this line of logic, if you can house two aforementioned cards into a tower chassis why would you pay extra for a single card? Bragging rights and the possibility of adding a second, most likely. A high-quality, high-wattage PSU is also a prerequisite, as is a 4K monitor, because playing on anything lower is a waste of cash and potential.

Based on cooling present on the Asus Ares II, the Radeon R9 295X2 is an obscenely fast card that delivers smooth framerates at ultra-high resolutions. The $1,499 (Ā£1,100-plus) price tag certainly isn't going to win any value awards, but any halo product, especially one that sets new performance standards, is never cheap. Want the world's fastest graphics card? You're looking at it. AMD expects partners to have cards on shelves from April 21.

The Good

Obscenely fast
Very smooth performance
Perfect candidate for 4K gaming
Runs relatively cool and reasonably quiet
More than two R9 290Xs

The Bad

May require a new PSU
Price, but that is the nature of the beast


AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB




At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.

HEXUS Forums :: 38 Comments

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Excellent article, and especially great to see the breakdown of per-frame performance as that is crucial knowledge for this kind of setup.

I was wondering though why you didn't do dual card runs to show a comparison to a real counter-part ? The 690 and 7990 are dual cards sure, but are not really the competition to this, they are old hat, was expecting 780Ti SLI and R90X X-fire to see how this card compares to it's competition

Although I wonder how the 780Ti will fare with only 3GB frame buffer, with even basic FSAA on it would use a huge chunk of that at 4K
500w has to be wrong, 2x 8 pin power connectors providing 150w each + the 75 watt from the motherboard is only 375w?
Don't forget the XDMA accelerators that help this dual card stay smooth - it's not just about the framebuffer.

500w has to be wrong, 2x 8 pin power connectors providing 150w each + the 75 watt from the motherboard is only 375w?
As per the review, AMD are ignoring PCI-E spec.
this is a great card considering the performance, if I was into business of heavy graphics I would go with two of these!
AMD scored high in every test I mean EVERY test but the price is something I won't look at it for well 5-6 years so good guy AMD nice job but not going to buy.