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3 years ago

Custom PC UK 2014-01

can become very loud,

can become very loud, and the R9 290 isn’t far behind it. They also both run around 10°C hotter than the GTX 780 thanks to the 95°C target temperature. the performance in real games, it’s obvious why Nvidia quickly dropped the GTX 780’s price. Hawaii’s improvement over Tahiti is also clear. In some tests, it’s as much as 40 per cent, although you’d expect a healthy performance margin given the price disparity. Meanwhile, the R9 290 demonstrates a very substantial real-world performance increase over the GTX 770, although it was only just ahead in the synthetic Unigine benchmark. In the gaming tests, though, its lead over the GTX 770 is over 10 per cent (except in Crysis 3 at 1080p), and it often extends its lead to over 20 per cent. Its performance is also closer to that of the GTX 780 than the GTX 770. We also tested at 3,840 x 2,160 (4K), at which the R9 290X is surprisingly competent, being able to keep both Battlefield 3 and BioShock Infinite playable at their highest settings. It also exhibits a much more convincing lead over the GTX 780 here, ranging from 13 to 20 per cent. The extra memory and bandwidth, as well as its massive ROP count, undoubtedly play a part here. The R9 290 also triumphed over the GTX 780 in every game at 4K, keeping BioShock Infinite playable (albeit barely), while the 780 struggled. The power consumption figures for the two cards are less impressive, however. Even though the R9 290X typically only exhibits marginal performance gains over the GTX 780, it caused our system to draw 82W more. In fact, both AMD cards had higher load power draws than Nvidia’s GTX 690 – a card with two GPUs. Temperatures and noise are other concerns. Our results for the R9 290X are in its Über Mode, where it OVERCLOCKING We started overclocking both cards by setting their power limit, target temperature and maximum fan speeds to the limit (150 per cent, 95°C and 100 per cent respectively). For the R9 290X, we achieved a 12 per cent overclock for both the core and memory, which went up to 1,120MHz and 1.4GHz (5.6GHz effective). This is a decent result that saw healthy performance gains, especially in Battlefield 3; at 2,560 x 1,600, it just managed to beat the GTX Titan at stock speeds. Pleasingly, we hit higher percentages with the R9 290, which we overclocked to 1,110MHz on the core and 1.425GHz (5.7GHz effective) for the memory. The R9 290 saw very tasty performance gains as well, especially in Crysis 3, where its result even beats the overclocked R9 290X and matches the GTX Titan. CONCLUSION Even in the wake of Nvidia’s price drops, the R9 290X still offers a small performance boost over the GTX 780 for just £30 more. It’s a decent overclocker too, but its high power draw, high temperatures and loud noise need to be considered, as your system’s ambient temperature could suffer. Thus, even with the speed advantage, the R9 290X isn’t recommended over the GTX 780 with its current cooler unless you’re intent on playing at 4K on a tight budget. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until later for custom-cooled cards too. The current unavailability of pricing for the R9 290 leaves us unable to form a proper conclusion, but there’s a large gap for it to fill between the GTX 770, now just £240, and the £400 GTX 780. The problems with power, noise and temperature still affect it, but with so large a segment of the market left uncovered, the £300-£350 price bracket could still make the card attractive, especially with its overclocking potential. MATTHEW LAMBERT 21 A WORD ON 4K Currently, 4K displays are in their infancy, with few able to achieve a 60Hz refresh rate suitable for PC use. Those that can output this refresh rate require two video inputs, as the screen is divided into two 2K tiles. As such, you must either physically connect two separate HDMI cables, or preferably use a DisplayPort connection. This must be used in Multi-Streaming Transport mode until hardware on the monitor’s side improves and is able to receive a single 4K 60Hz signal. Such signals can be output by all current AMD GCN-based products, and the HDMI 2 specification will also have enough bandwidth to support it. For the time being, AMD is coding its drivers to automatically detect tiled monitors and configure Eyefinity correctly to emulate the plug-and-play experience. It’s also supporting the VESA Display ID v1.3 specification, whereby monitors will tell graphics cards all the relevant information needed to setup a 4K display without needing additional coding and driver updates. 22 January 2014

GRAPHICS CARDS BATTLEFIELD 3 1,920 x 1,080 Ultra Detail, 4x AA BIOSHOCK INFINITE 1,920 x 1,080 Ultra Detail with Depth of Field Radeon R9 290X 94fps 117fps Radeon R9 290X 87fps 97fps Radeon R9 290 86fps 108fps Radeon R9 290 82fps 92fps Radeon R9 280X 68fps 83fps Radeon R9 280X 66fps 75fps GeForce GTX 780 94fps 111fps GeForce GTX 780 82fps 95fps GeForce GTX 770 76fps 91fps GeForce GTX 770 67fps 81fps 2,560 x 1,600 Ultra Detail, 4x AA Radeon R9 290X Radeon R9 290 Radeon R9 280X GeForce GTX 780 GeForce GTX 770 5,760 x 1,080 Ultra Detail, 4x AA 0 30 60 90 120 41fps 43fps 56fps 52fps 62fps 60fps 50fps 65fps 70fps 55fps 65fps 52fps 76fps 73fps 0 20 40 60 80 0 25 50 75 100 2,560 x 1,600 Ultra Detail with Depth of Field Radeon R9 290X 51fps 56fps Radeon R9 290 48fps 53fps Radeon R9 280X 38fps 43fps GeForce GTX 780 49fps 56fps GeForce GTX 770 39fps 47fps 0 15 30 45 60 5,760 x 1,080 Ultra Detail with Depth of Field Radeon R9 290X 38fps 49fps Radeon R9 290X 29fps 36fps Radeon R9 290 34fps 46fps Radeon R9 290 27fps 34fps Radeon R9 280X 27fps 35fps Radeon R9 280X 21fps 27fps GeForce GTX 780 37fps 42fps GeForce GTX 780 29fps 34fps GeForce GTX 770 30fps 35fps GeForce GTX 770 15fps 28fps 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 0 10 20 30 40 3,840 x 2,160 Ultra Detail, 4x AA 3,840 x 2,160 Ultra Detail with Depth of Field Radeon R9 290X 30fps 37fps Radeon R9 290X 26fps 30fps Radeon R9 290 28fps 35fps Radeon R9 290 25fps 28fps GeForce GTX 780 26fps 31fps GeForce GTX 780 23fps 28fps CRYSIS 3 1,920 x 1,080 Very High detail, 0x AA Radeon R9 290X Radeon R9 290 Radeon R9 280X GeForce GTX 780 GeForce GTX 770 2,560 x 1,600 Very High detail, 0x AA Radeon R9 290X Radeon R9 290 Radeon R9 280X GeForce GTX 780 GeForce GTX 770 5,760 x 1,080 Very High detail, 0x AA Radeon R9 290X Radeon R9 290 Radeon R9 280X GeForce GTX 780 GeForce GTX 770 3,840 x 2,160 Very High detail, 0x AA Radeon R9 290X Radeon R9 290 GeForce GTX 780 0 10 20 30 40 40fps 49fps 58fps 66fps 52fps 62fps 57fps 64fps 48fps 56fps 0 18 36 54 72 25fps 28fps 33fps 31fps 32fps 36fps 30fps 38fps 37fps 32fps 41fps 45fps 44fps 37fps 0 12 24 36 48 17fps 19fps 24fps 28fps 23fps 26fps 21fps 22fps 25fps 21fps 0 7 14 21 28 15fps 18fps 17fps 19fps 22fps 21fps 0 6 12 18 24 Stock speed min Stock speed avg Overclocked min Overclocked avg UNIGINE VALLEY 2,560 x 1,600 Radeon R9 290X Radeon R9 290 Radeon R9 280X GeForce GTX 780 GeForce GTX 770 TOTAL SYSTEM POWER DRAW Radeon R9 290X Radeon R9 290 Radeon R9 280X GeForce GTX 780 GeForce GTX 770 0 8 16 24 32 Stock speed min Stock speed avg 0 650 1,300 1,950 2,600 114W 114W 111W 108W 106W 0 100 200 300 400 500 Idle Load Lower is better scores: r9 290X SPEED 38 / 40 FEATURES 20 / 30 VALUE 23 / 30 1,590 1,989 350W 344W 333W 2,157 1,934 426W 418W 2,436 2,295 2,298 Stock speed min Stock speed avg Overclocked min Overclocked avg custom 81 PC OVERALL January 2014 23

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