AMD Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290 ‘Hawaii’ GPUs Gaming and Synthetic Benchmarks Exposed

Hassan Mujtaba

In a few days, AMD would unveil their Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290 graphic cards which are based on the flagship Hawaii chip to tackle the NVIDIA GK110 core. Over the time we have acquired some information on the new chips but their performance still remains a mystery since the early benchmarks we saw were performed on engineering samples.

Image is courtesy of PCOnline!

AMD Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290 Gaming and Overclocked Performance Exposed

The new gaming performance results and synthetic benchmarks exposed are from the retail models that have been shipped to tech sites across the world. Only yesterday did multiple Chinese tech sites posted full galleries dedicated to the Radeon R9 290X. AMD hasn't restricted them from showcasing the cards themselves since AMD itself showed the GPU model at their GPU '14 event. We know how the card and the PCB under its hood looks like plus we also have some details regarding the specifications but i won't go into much detail regarding them.

Expreview and ZOL posted their Radeon R9 290X gallery yesterday picturing the card in full detail. we are looking at a Hawaii chip that measure at 438mm2 which is larger than its predecessor and houses around 2816 stream processors. You can check out our other articles for specification overview of the Hawaii chip so we will keep this article focused on the graphics card itself.

We heard from some manufacturer’s that most of the AIC partners would only have reference models of the card at launch, we did saw some early listings of non-reference models such as the ASUS Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II but i don’t believe we would get them at launch which itself is a mystery. The reference design is the same thing we saw at the Volcanic Islands launch event held in Hawaii. AMD has used their legacy Red and Black theme and a simple manufacturer logo is featured on top of the blower color which in this case is from HIS Digital.

The card features a long cooler shroud that features a blower fan which pushes air towards the internal heatsink equipped with aluminum fins. The aluminum fin heatsink block is featured on top of a large copper vapor heatsink block. Display outputs include Dual-Link DVI, HDMI and a display port while power is provided through an 8+6 Pin connector.

The PCB features a 5+1+1 phase (5 Phase Core/ 1 Phase Memory/ 1 Phase PLL) VRM design featuring the Copper MOSFETs, CPL chokes and the IR 3567B PWM chip. The memory modules featured as SK Hynix built labeled with the H5GQ2H24AFR-R0C part with a maximum data rate of 6 Gbps. There are 6 modules in total which represent a 512-bit/4 GB GDDR5 memory.

Let's get back to the performance talk shall we? Their are only two slides courtesy of Chiphell that detail the performance of both the Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290 specifically in games. The poster was nice enough to showcase the overclocked performance of both cards against its competitors. The Radeon R9 290X was over-clocked to 1100 MHz core and 1275 MHz memory giving just around 10% average performance boost over an overclocked GeForce GTX Titan in Battlefield 3/Crysis 3/Tomb Raider/Metro: Last Light. The Radeon R9 290 was overclocked to 1050 MHz core and 1275 MHz memory delivering around 4% performance increase over the GTX 780 Lightning overclocked to 1162 MHz core and 1672 MHz memory. Take a look in the chart below for a more detailed representation of the performance numbers:

Rating Performance (1920x1080 / 2560x1440 AA/16xAAF)

AMD Radeon R9 290X 4 GB 180.4% Average Performance
NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB 174.0% Average Performance
AMD Radeon R9 290 4 GB 165.5% Average Performance
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3 GB 159.6% Average Performance
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2 GB 131.3% Average Performance

Overclocked Performance  @ 2560x1440 Max

R9 290X OC @1100/1275 MHz 153.0% Average Performance
GTX Titan OC @1097/1625 MHz 144.6% Average Performance
R9 290 OC @ 1050/1275 MHz 141.2% Average Performance
Lightning GTX 780 OC @1162/1672 MHz 137.7% Average Performance
Toxic R9 280X OC @ 1232/1707 MHz 115.6% Average Performance

You can see the results for yourself unfortunately these are the only ones that details the performance of both R9 290 series cards. But you can see more synthetic benchmarks of the Radeon R9 290X below which include Unigine Heaven, 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Firestrike.

AMD Radeon R9 290X AMD Radeon R9 290 GeForce GTX 780 GeForce GTX Titan
GPU Codename Hawaii Hawaii GK110 GK110
GPU Process 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
Stream Processors 2816 2560 2304 2668
Base Clock 800 MHz 900 MHz 863 MHz 837 MHz
Turbo Clock 1000 MHz 947 MHz 902 MHz 876 MHz
VRAM 4 GB 4 GB 3 GB 6 GB
Memory Bus 512-Bit 512-Bit 384-Bit 384 Bit
Memory Clock 5 GHz (effective) 5 GHz
6 GHz (effective) 6 GHz (effective)
Power Configuration 8+6 Pin 8+6 Pin 8+6 Pin 8+6 Pin
PCB VRM 5+1+1 5+1+1 6+2 6+2
Die Size ~438mm2 438mm2 551mm2 551mm2
Launch Date October 2013 October 2013 23rd June 2013 21st February 2013
Launch Price $649 $499 $649 $999

Update - PCOnline has posted the first proper review of the Radeon R9 290X graphic card and you can now take a look at more performance charts below. Again we see that the card trades blows with the GeForce GTX Titan but the most notable difference is that the Radeon R9 290X is a hot card with temperatures swirling across the 94C mark and the power consumption is about 60 Watts higher than the Titan. So proper cooling and power supplies would be recommended for use with AMD's next generation flagship card.

Tomb Raider

Metro Last Light

Crysis 3

Splinter Cell Blacklist

Call of Duty Black Ops II

Sleeping Dogs

Far Cry 3

Battlefield 3


Power Consumption

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