Tech Tuesday: AMD Radeon R9 290
It’s not often we get the privilege of testing something as powerful as the AMD R9 290. This is one of the newest high-end graphics cards on the market and requires a small nuclear reactor to power it, so naturally we put it through its paces to see just exactly how good it is.
Warning: hardware jargon alert
Let’s get the techno-babble out of the way first. As you can imagine a card like this does not skimp on options anywhere. It is running 4GB of GDDR5 memory, has a clock speed of up to 947MHz and has a memory bandwidth of up to 320GB a second!
The R9 290 uses GCN architecture making it more than just a gaming device. Its unique design has it assist your computer during heavy workloads and help out with other tasks such as programming. The card is future ready boasting 4k output and focuses a lot of its power into improving Direct 11 Tessellation, improved anisotropic filtering and texturing. The AMD Radoen R9 290 also offers Eyefinity for games that support it, giving gamers the ability to play using multiple monitors.
It has 3D support for editing and watching supported films and even offers improved performance for web browsing or office work. However, the simplest and most impressive feature for me (being a person who suffers regularly from massive power bills) is the AMD ZeroCore Power technology meaning this card will go to sleep when it’s not in use, which is a huge advantage. Not only does it idle when unused, but it also will disengage when you turn your monitors off.
Honestly, I have never used a graphics card this powerful. Every game I tested ran without a hitch. I started off with titles I wanted to test such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Crysis and Deus Ex: Human Revolution just to get an idea of the potential. Every game ran seamlessly with every setting on high, and I do mean high. After playing around with this for a while I got serious.
I started throwing the latest and most graphically intensive titles I had at this mammoth card. Far Cry 3 ran smooth as silk. Tomb Raider looked awesome (but not as good as the Definitive Edition) and Battlefield 4 was utterly spectacular, showing off its true power with almost unlimited draw distance and jaw dropping effects.
Verdict – Price versus power
So it’s powerful, but is it worth the price attached? I would definitely suggest it. This bad boy is more than just a upgrade, it’s an investment in your PC’s future. The technology behind it is not only looking towards even higher performance gaming, it’s future proofing its self by offering 4k resolution support and enough grunt to support everything else from 3D films to heavy HD modelling or anything else you may need. The AMD Radeon R9 290 is an amazing piece of tech and though it will hurt your wallet for a while, it will more than work for its keep for a long time to come.