Published in Graphics

Radeon reviews go live, no Hawaii yet

by on08 October 2013

Bonaire and revamped Tahiti

The first reviews of AMD’s new 200-series Radeons are out, but most of the samples have a familiar bit of silicon under the bonnet, so they are not exactly new.

The R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X are out and AIBs are announcing low-end R7 250 and 240 cards as well. The 280X and 270X are based on Tahiti silicon and they are priced at $299 and $199 respectively. Although this might sound steep for old, rebranded parts, bear in mind that their predecessors launched at $499 and $349.

So what has AMD done to breathe new life into these Tahiti cards? The 270X is based on the Curacao XT, which is basically the Pitcairn XT part used in the HD 7870 GHz Edition. The clocks are somewhat higher, 1050MHz GPU and 5600MHz memory. It supports DirectX 11.2 and AMD’s new Mantle API.

The R9 280X is based on the same Tahiti core used in the HD 7970. The clocks are a bit higher, 1GHz vs. 925GHz for the GPU, while the memory was bumped from 1375MHz to 1500MHz.

The $139 R7 260X is a Bonaire XTX card, so it is practically a revamped HD 7790. The GPU clock was upped from 1GHz to 1.1GHz, while the memory went up from 6GHz to 6.5GHz. It’s got Mantle support, too.

So what are the reviewers saying? Well for the most part the response is positive, but they were hardly swept off their feet, since these are hardly new products. In case you’re on a tight budget, scouting for discounted HD 7970 and HD 7870 cards might not be a bad option. However, they won’t be around forever and once they go out of stock the rebranded ones will take their place.

Although we’re not fans of rebrands, the price points are attractive and the reference coolers appear to be better and quieter than the ones used in the 7000 series. While they don’t offer much of a performance gain over outgoing cards, they are competitively priced and they are somewhat faster. More importantly, they are faster than most Nvidia cards in the same price range.

No surprises then, we'll have to wait and see how the 290 and 290X perform and more importantly, how AMD decides to price them.

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