Today, AMD is officially announcing its Radeon R7 250X, a new $100 GPU that the company is positioning against NVIDIA's GTX 650 in the entry-level, discrete graphics market. Like all of AMD's other recent product launches, save for the R9 290 family, the new Radeon R7 250X is a rebranded HD 7000 part -- but it also comes along with a $15 price cut. For a card priced at roughly $100, that's not insignificant.
The "new" R7 250X is essentially a rebranded Radeon 7770 GHz Edition
, with the same 640 stream processors, 128-bit memory interface, 1-2GB of GDDR5 frame buffer, 1125MHz memory clock, and 1GHz core clock. It's still based on the 28nm Cape Verde GPU core and it has the similar approximate power draw (AMD appears to have set a board power of 95W TDP for the 2GB version, compared to 80W for the original, 1GB Radeon 7770 GHz Edition).
What's new about the R7 250X, therefore, is the price. Two years ago, AMD debuted the Radeon 7770 GHz Edition at $159. When the Radeon R7 250X becomes avaialble, that same card will set you back roughly $99. That's a significant improvement over two years for the same performance. Currently, Radeon 7770 GHz Edition 1GB cards sell for about $115 on average, with 2GB flavors clocking in at $129. In this case, 1GB is likely the sweet spot -- 1080p games aren't going to require more RAM than that at the detail levels the R7 250X can practically achieve.
And In The Green Corner..
AMD is positioning the Radeon R7 250X against NVIDIA's GTX 650,
but current pricing in that market is a bit of a muddle. There are certainly GTX 650 cards priced at $99, but a quick check of NewEgg reveals that budget manufacturer ECS also has a line of GTX 650 Ti's available for $99 (1GB) and 2GB ($119.). Just as there's a significant gap between the R7 250 and R7 250X (the new 250X has nearly double the shader cores), there's a large gap between the 650 and the 650 Ti. All of AMD's performance data is matched against the ordinary GTX 650.
Against the GTX 650, the R7 250X should be a winner. Historically, however, the Radeon 7770 tended to lose against the GTX 650 Ti, and the non-ECS 2GB variants of that GPU start at about $119. That's a tight squeeze for AMD. On the plus side, AMD is championing its core parking technology (dubbed ZeroCore) that turns the GPU off when the monitor is shut off and, of course, its recent Mantle API
. Mantle's greatest performance benefits, however, are visible when a relatively low-powered CPU is paired with a high-end graphics card. Gains from midrange or entry-level parts to date have been more modest, in the 5-8% category.
We'll have more information once we have our own card samples in hand, and there's more news coming about low-end GPUs in general in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.