AMD Radeon R7 260X, R9 270X, and R9 280X Tested

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We’re going to compare and contrast the Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, and Radeon R7 260X to their most closely-related cousins in the Radeon HD 7000 series, since the cards are ultimately very similar. In case you missed the news that hit last week, we should mention that the Radeon R9 280X is built around AMD’s Tahiti GPU, which also powers the Radeon HD 7970. The R9 270X features the same piece of silicon as the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and the Radeon R7 260X is powered by AMD’s Bonaire GPU, which first arrived on the Radeon HD 7790. These new cars, however, have been tweaked and enhanced in a number of ways.

Radeon R7 260X

  Radeon R7 260X Radeon HD 7790
Stream Processors  896 896 
Engine Clock  Up to 1.1GHz 1GHz
Compute Performance  1.97 TFLOPS 1.79 TFLOPS 
Memory Configuration  2GB / 128-Bit 1GB or 2GB / 128-Bit 
Memory Speed  6.5Gbps 6 Gbps 
Power Connectors  1 x 6-Pin 1 x 6-Pin 
Typical Board Power  115W 85W
PCI-E Standard  PCIe 3.0 PCIe 3.0
API Support DirectX 11.2
OpenGL 4.3
DirectX 11.2
OpenGL 4.3

First up we have the Radeon R7 260X. As you can see in the spec table above, the Radeon R7 260X sports higher engine and memory clocks than the HD 7790 and 260X’s default memory configuration is 2GB as well. The card’s higher clocks result in increased compute performance (1.97 vs. 1.79 TFLOPS) and memory bandwidth, and an increased TDP as well. Outputs on the card consist of dual, dual-link DVIs, a full sized HDMI, and a DisplayPort. Though there are only four ports, the card can power up to 6 monitors through the use of a DisplayPort MST hub. This is true for the other cards shown here as well.

Radeon R9 270X

  Radeon R7 270X Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition
Stream Processors 1280 1280
Engine Clock Up to 1.05 GHz 1GHz
Compute Performance  2.69 TFLOPS 2.56 TFLOPS 
Memory Configuration  2GB or 4GB / 256-Bit 2GB / 256-Bit 
Memory Speed  5.6 Gbps 4.8 Gbps 
Power Connectors  2 x 6-Pin 2 x 6-Pin 
Typical Board Power  180W 175W
PCI-E Standard  PCIe 3.0 PCIe 3.0
API Support DirectX 11.2
OpenGL 4.3
DirectX 11.2
OpenGL 4.3

Next up we have the Radeon R9 270X. The comparison between it and the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition also yields a number of similarities, and the R9 270X’s clocks have been goosed up as well. The R9 270X’s GPU clock peaks at up to 1.05GHz and its memory clock has been increased to an effective 5.6Gbps. Versus the 1GHz and 4.8Gbps of the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, the Radeon R9 270X offers slightly higher compute performance (as seen in the table), but much more memory bandwidth--179.2GB/s vs. 153.6GB/s to be exact.

Other improvements to the R9 270X include tweak to its fan shroud, which is notched to allow for better airflow when two cards are installed in adjacent slots and the same output configuration as the Radeon R7 260X.

Radeon R9 280X

  Radeon R7 280X Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
Stream Processors 2048 2048
Engine Clock Up to 1GHz Up to 1.05GHz
Compute Performance 4.1 TFLOPS 4.3 TFLOPS 
Memory Configuration 3GB / 384-Bit 3GB / 384-Bit 
Memory Speed 6Gbps 6 Gbps 
Power Connectors 1 x 6-Pin, 1 x 8-Pin 1 x 6-Pin, 1 x 8-Pin
Typical Board Power 250W 250W
PCI-E Standard PCIe 3.0 PCIe 3.0
API Support DirectX 11.2
OpenGL 4.3
DirectX 11.2
OpenGL 4.3

And finally we have the Radeon R9 280X. The large image above is of a reference card, but word on the street is that virtually all R9 280X cards sold by AMD’s AIB partners will feature custom designs, like the XFX card also pictured above.

Unlike the Radeon R9 270X and R7 260X, however, the Radeon R9 280X isn’t clocked any higher than AMD’s current flagship Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. In fact, the R9 280X has a slightly lower peak engine clock, though memory bandwidth is similar.

Tags:  AMD, Radeon, Gaming, graphics, GPU, R9, R7, 270X, 280X, 260X

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PengTuckKwok one year ago

Great article, good to hear that power draw is a little lower on the 280x.

No BF4 beta benchmarks ?

Dave_HH one year ago

It's hard enough to get consistent data from BF for benchmarking, much less the beta. :) That said, we'll be looking at BF4 for future testing since obviously the engine is gorgeous and the game is very popular.

BrendanMargetts one year ago


realneil one year ago

Good review Marco, I like that they're trying to offer these cards for a little less money. I hope that it affects GPU prices overall.

JeffGreen one year ago

It's too bad that there is some negative hype with the 290x being delayed. From what I can tell, none of it is true (at least as of 10/13 on AMD's twitter). I've always owned Nvidia cards but am glad that there's a healthy competition between the two.

CalPalJr one year ago

This is great. I really think that this can change what people think of console gaming to pc gaming/ being on a pc in general. I have some friends who dont want to "convert" to PC gaming, mainly because of the high price range. Especailly for GPU's. These are not only gonna change the Gpu market (credit to realneil for that), but the console and PC market in general. Rock on PC!

Sihtric one year ago

Minor delays are fine as long as they ensure a quality product on release - much rather have an extra wait than to shell out the bucks and have to wait for driver updates to use it

BigKihd one year ago

Great article, waiting for the rest of the cards to be tested ;)

JessyTruong 5 months ago

Great cards for budget pcs

rrplay 5 months ago

with the prices back to sane levels after the mining rush jacked the prices into stratosphere, those R9 280X cards that have solid air cooling solutions from various vendors are pretty darn sweet.

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