AMD Radeon R9 290X Review: Welcome To Hawaii

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CrossFire vs. SLI: AvP and Hitman

We initially ran into a snag with one of the Radeon R9 290X cards we received for testing and weren’t able to complete a full run of tests in CrossFire mode. Once we completed testing the single-card configuration, however, we were able to spend some time fiddling with the second card and ultimately got it working in our test system. As such, the timing was a little tight, but we didn’t want to wrap up this review without including at least a few CrossFire vs. SLI tests.

Because the Radeon R9 290X makes use of a new bridge-less CrossFire link, we were eager to see how performance scaled when moving from one card to two. In the charts below, we have average frame rates listed, along with the percentage by which performance scaled at each resolution and frame times as reported by FCAT. First up, some Alien vs. Predator.

This game is getting pretty old at this point, but we’ve kept in the test routing because it’s been such a problem for CrossFire. Well, it turns out, scaling is a non-issue in AvP, as the Radeons had no trouble scaling to higher frame rates than the GeForce GTX 780 SLI setup.


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Frame times were also a non-issue. In the past, this game exhibited vicious swings in frame times on CrossFire setups, but they seem to be resolved on the 290X, at least with the drivers we used for testing (Catalyst 13.11 Beta v5). Next up, some Hitman Absolution.

Hitman Absolution showed some weird behavior when we tested the dual-GPU configurations. Performance at 1920x1200 didn’t scale properly on either platform for some unknown reason. Scaling at 2560x1600 was similar between CrossFire and SLI setups, though the Radeons were faster overall.


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Out FCAT results, however, show major swings in frame times for the Radeon R9 290X CrossFire configuration. While the GeForce GTX SLI setup’s plot isn’t very smooth, the Radeons showed significantly larger peaks and valleys.
 


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