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

Test System and Unigine Heaven v4.0

How We Configured Our Test Systems: We tested the graphics cards in this article on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard powered by a Core i7-3960X six-core processor and 16GB of G.SKILL DDR3-1866 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system UEFI and set all values to their "high performance" default settings and disable any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The memory's X.M.P. profile was enabled to ensure better-than-stock performance and the hard drive was then formatted and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the installation was complete, we fully updated the OS and installed the latest DirectX redist along with all of the drivers, games, and benchmark tools necessary to complete our tests.

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7-3960X
(3.3GHz, Six-Core)
Asus P9X79 Deluxe
(Intel X79 Express)

Radeon R9 280x
Radeon R7 270x
Radeon R7 260x
Radeon HD 7790
Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost
GeForce GTX 660
GeForce GTX 760
GeForce GTX 770
GeForce GTX 780

Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX April 2011 Redist
AMD Catalyst v13.11b1
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v331.40

Benchmarks Used:
Unigine Heaven v4
3DMark "Fire Strike"
Bioshock Infinite
Hitman: Absolution
Alien vs. Predator
Metro Last Light
Sleeping Dogs
Crysis 3

Unigine Heaven v4.0 Benchmark
Pseudo-DirectX 11 Gaming

Unigine Heaven v4.0

Unigine's Heaven Benchmark v4.0 is built around the Unigine game engine. Unigine is a cross-platform, real-time 3D engine, with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark--when run in DX11 mode--also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion). It also features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering.

We have a boatload of performance data to share with you all on the proceeding pages.  We thought it would be best to test AMD's newest cards alongside the models they'll be replacing using the same set of drivers--in this case the Catalyst 13.11 betas--along with competing products from NVIDIA, ranging from the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost to the GeForce GTX 780. We'd also like to point out that all of the GeForces were tested with the just recently released v331.40 drivers too. What all that means is that these numbers are as up-to-date as they could be as of this publication. If you'd like to see how everything from the Radeon HD 7790 to the GeForce GTX 780 perform with identical settings, we've got you covered.

With that said, AMD's new Radeon R9 and R7 series cards performed as expected in the Unigine Heaven benchmark. The Radeon R9 280X was just a hair faster than the Radeon HD 7970, the R9 270X snuck past the Radeon HD 7870, and the R7 260X outpaced the Radeon HD 7790. Sitting untouched at the top of the charts, however, were NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 770 and 780.

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