Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: Save for some minimum frame rate and frame latency issues, the Radeon R9 290X’s performance was excellent overall. AMD still has some obvious driver tuning and optimization to do, but frame rates across the board were very good. It wasn’t a clean sweep for the Radeon R9 290X versus the GeForce GTX 780 or GeForce GTX Titan, but AMD’s new single-GPU flagship and the GeForces traded victories depending on the game or application being used, which is to say the cards performed similarly.
With that said, while frame rates were competitive, the GeForces still have a couple of advantages in our opinion. The GeForce GTX 780 and Titan were quieter than the Radeon R9 290X, regardless of which mode was used on the Radeon. The GeForces also pumped out less heat and didn’t suffer from any frame latency issues.
At this point, you’ve checked out the specs, read about the new features, and seen the AMD Radeon R9 290X’s performance. Overall, the story is a good one up to this point and AMD clearly has a competitive graphics card on their hands, that will be even more attractive once the company is able to tune performance, optimize things further, and squash the issues we’ve mentioned. But now for the really good news—relatively speaking.
The AMD Radeon R9 290X will be available today at a price point of $549.
$549 isn’t cheap by any measure, but considering the Radeon R9 290X’s features and performance, it represents a good value in the high-end graphics card space. At that price, the 290X is roughly $100 cheaper than a GeForce GTX 780 and nearly half the price of a GeForce GTX Titan. As we mentioned earlier, the GeForces do still have some advantages at this point, but strictly in terms of price-vs-performance, the Radeon R9 290X looks awesome by comparison.
If you’ve been waiting for someone to put the screws to the competition and stir up a potential price war, AMD seems determined to do so. We’ve already seen NVIDIA react with price cuts on a couple of their mid-range parts in response to the R7 and lower-end R9 series of cards. But with the Radeon R9 290X hitting the scene, it appears NVIDIA’s going to have to make some moves at the high-end too.
We suspect we’ll know more in the coming weeks once the recently unveiled GeForce GTX 780 Ti is released, and just in time for the holiday season too...