AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB Video Card Review

Jump To:

AMD Wants To Destroy The GeForce GTX 780

What happens when you take an AMD Radeon R9 290X video card and disable four compute units, lower the core clock speed just a smidge and slash the price by $150 dollars? You end up with the lower cost AMD Radeon R9 290 graphics card. The new Radeon R9 290 features same exact Hawaii GPU that is found on the Radeon R9 290X and supports all the new stuff like AMD TrueAudio, Mantle, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.3.


If the $549 price tag makes you cringe, but you like the performance numbers, the AMD Radeon R9 290 at $399 might be just the card for you. Just last week NVIDIA slashed the price of the GeForce GTX 780 from $649 all the way down to $499. AMD has priced the AMD Radeon R9 290 at $100 less than the GeForce GTX 780 and says that it will easily beat the GeForce GTX 780.

Compared to the flagship Radeom R9 290X, the Radeon R9 290 has had 256 stream processors (9% fewer) and 16 texture units (9% fewer) fused off along with a 53MHz lower core clock (5% decrease), but you are still left with what should be a very potent desktop gaming graphics card that will easy chew through upcoming game titles that are coming out this fall. AMD hopes that gamers will be looking to upgrade for Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts this fall and they hope this card will be the best bang for the buck by either company when it comes to high-end graphics cards.


Besides fusing off some compute units on the 28nm Hawaii GPU and flashing a new BIOS ROM onto the board, there really is no difference between the Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290. They both feature identical PCB revisions, GPU coolers, board components and so on. The one interesting BIOS change that AMD made besides the lower core clock speeds is removing the Uber and Quiet dual-BIOS modes that are on the Radeon R9 290X. The card still has the BIOS selector with two BIOS’s on it, but both are identical. The Radeon R9 290 comes with the maximum fan speed set to 47%. The AMD Radeon R9 290X has a Quiet mode with the maximum fan speed set at 40% and an Uber mode with the max fan set at 55%. You can easily change the maximum fan speed setting in AMD Catalyst Control Center under AMD OverDrive, so this isn’t really a big deal at all. More advanced users could easily flash their own custom BIOS onto onto the card and still keep the original BIOS on the other like we have seen on previous generation cards.

Since there are no visual changes to the card compared to the Radeon R9 290X that we reviewed last week, we’ll be including a gallery of images of the Radeon R9 290X/290 and skip straight to testing.


Jump To:
  • Kif12345

    Just wait for the non-reference cards. They will be released at the end of November.

  • Recon

    Shop runner has mine here by Friday!

  • postie

    Don’t buy a card that games at 94 degC! That’s ridiculous, as is comparing it to Nvidia cards that are not being pushed so insanely. I have nothing against AMD; on the contrary, I dislike NVidia for their underhanded practices. But I bought an AMD card that gamed at 88 decG and it only lasted 18 months. Now, AMD has a good chip which they are overclocking wildly to boost performance. Not only that, but the reference cooler is another cut-rate AMD effort which has to scream just to keep the card from exploding. I wouldn’t reward such shoddy design with my money. And if I were given the card I would down-clock it to where it ought to be.
    If you really want to compare apples to apples, run your test cards at equal GPU temperatures, and then see who puts out more FPS for the dollar.

    • Recon

      XFX comes with lifetime replacement warranty…. Just sayin’

      • VonHaddon

        Cards with Double Dissipation (Double D) or whose product number ends in “R” get Lifetime warranty if registered within 30 days. All other cards (ex: HD 7970 Core Edition; FX797ATNFC) get 2 Year Warranty

    • Barron

      I would still buy the AMD card which performs better or on par with the GTX Titan and use some of the $600 saved on a good cooling system.
      So that would save me around $550. Not Bad At All!
      Also remember this is just the reference card. I would expect the retail versions will come with better coolers, and be priced around $450 any way.

  • Strider

    This is an amazing deal. That level of performance at $399 is about as sweet as it gets. Especially if you take into account the fact performance will only go up as the drivers mature and the non-reference cards and coolers hit the market, giving more OC headroom. Not only on this 290, but it’s big brother 290X.

    This is going to be a great holiday to be a gamer, great games and great hardware from both sides of the fence.

  • Paul Margettas


  • sri_tech

    Wow. Thats great pricing AMD.

    Keep it up.