AMD Radeon R7 260X, R9 270X, and R9 280X Tested
Introduction and Related Information
A ton of AMD related news hit over the last couple of weeks, thanks in no small part to a multi-day event AMD held in Honolulu, Hawaii the company held to showcase all of its upcoming GPU technology. GPU14 Tech Day, as AMD called it, began with a quick talk from AMD’s Corporate Vice President, Visual Computing Division Raja Koduri at Diamond Head state monument, in which Mr. Koduri dismissed much of the recent doom and gloom—directed at both AMD and the PC market in general—and claimed AMD was poised for a comeback in his opinion. He also said it was his goal to better intermingle AMD’s hardware and software development teams to ultimately improve the company’s products, both in terms of performance and user experience.
But Koduri’s early talk was just a precursor to much bigger news that broke at the event. During a live webcast, a number of AMD execs and partners were brought out on stage to reveal myriad of new products and technologies, including the three graphics cards we’ll be showing you here, the Radeon R9 280X, the Radeon R9 270X, and Radeon R7 260X.
A few other lower-end cards, namely the R7 260 and R7 250, and the uber-powerful Radeon R9 290 and 290X were also revealed during the webcast, we be weren’t able to procure them just yet. It’s going to be a little while longer before we can show you what AMD’s latest high-end card can do, unfortunately.
In addition to the new graphics cards, AMD also used GPU14 Tech Day to unveil some new features, like the TrueAudio engine, and software tools, namely the AMD Gaming Evolved App and the programming API, codenamed Mantle.
Before we show you the Radeon R9 280X, the Radeon R9 270X, and Radeon R7 260X we want to quickly recap some of the software-related news that came out of GPU14, because it pertains to today’s launch as well. We’d suggest taking a look at these articles in particular:
- AMD and DICE Bring Low-Level, High-Performance Graphics API To PCs With "Mantle"
- AMD and Raptr Take on NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience with New AMD Gaming Evolved Utility
- AMD Unveils New Family of GPUs: Radeon R7 and R9, With Exclusive Battlefield 4 Preorder
AMD’s Mantle is a low-level API that’s designed to allow game developers to work ‘closer to the metal’ so to speak, to easier exploit the features and performance capabilities of AMD’s GCN-based graphics processors. Mantle is being co-developed with DICE, the makers of the Frostbite engine, and will debut in a patch coming in December for Battlefield 4.
The AMD Gaming Evolved App powered by Raptr gives AMD graphics card owners the ability to easily optimize their in-game settings with customized, optimal game profiles. Users of the utility will also accumulate real-life and digital rewards and will have the ability to live stream their games via sites like Twitch. The goal of the utility is to provide a simple, more console-like experience for PC gamers, looking to optimize the look and/or performance of their games without having to manually fiddle with complicated in-game menu systems.
And finally there’s TrueAudio. TrueAudio is a new positional and 3D spatial audio engine that will be available on the R9 290X, R9 290, and the R7 260X. To enable TrueAudio, AMD is working with audio middleware providers like Firelight Technologies (FMOD) and AudioKinetics (Wwise) to enable better positional audio that leverages a programmable audio pipeline that resides on the GPU.