AMD Radeon R9 280X Video Card Review w/ ASUS, XFX and MSI


Final Thoughts and Conclusions


The AMD Radeon R9 280X is one heck of a graphics card for $299. It is very competitive with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 that is available for $349 and makes short work of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 in most benchmarks. The AMD Radeon R9 270X is the fastest video card for $199 and now the AMD Radeon R9 280X is the fastest video card available for $299! The AMD Radeon R9 280X is basically just a re-badge of the AMD Radeon HD 7970, so the big news with the launch of this card is the lowered price point and the price versus performance value that you get.

ASUS Radeon R9 280X MSI Radeon R9 280X XFX Radeon R9 280X
Series Top Edition Gaming Double Dissipation
Model Number R9280X-DC2T-3GD5 R9 280X GAMING 3G R9-280X-TDFD
SRP $309.99 $299.99 $309.99
Stream Processors 2048 2048 2048
Base Clock 970 MHz 1000 MHz 850 MHz
Boost Clock 1070 MHz 1050 MHz 1000 MHz
Memory Clock 1600 MHz 1500 MHz 1500 MHz
Memory Size 3GB 3GB 3GB
Number of Fans Two Two Two
Fan Blade Diameter 95mm & 93mm 95mm 85mm
Heatpipes Five Five Six
Power Phases 8+2 5+2 5+2
Length 11.25 inches 10.60 inches 11.06 inches
Warranty 3-year 3-year Lifetime

The custom cards we looked at from ASUS, MSI and XFX were found to be solid cards. Let’s take a second and talk about each card.

The MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming is priced the lowest at $299. This card has a well designed Twin Frozr GPU cooler that kept the card cool and quiet. The performance was solid in all of our testing, but we hoped to get a bit more from it when came to overclocking. If space is a concern, note that this is the shortest length card of the group at just 10.6-inches. If you’re looking for the best $299 AMD Radeon R9 280X video card, this one would be hard to pass up.

The ASUS Radeon R9 280X is a beast at 11.25-inches in length, but you can really tell that ASUS put a ton of thought in this card. The reversed power connectors, LED power connection lights, 10-phase super alloy power, CoolTech fan and the crazy 10mm thick heatpipe on the DirectCU II cooler are all testament to this. This card performed the best in our group of three and it also overclocked the best. The only downside is that it consumes more power when gaming than the others! ASUS marked this card up $10 over there SRP, so it is available for $309. If you are looking for a fast factory overclocked card or want to overclock it even more, this is the card for you.

The XFX Radeon R9 280X Double D features reference clock speeds and was the slowest card of the bunch. Overclocking proved tough for this card as the voltages are locked down and the core overclock we got was the lowest of the bunch. The Ghost2 GPU cooler helped this card run the coolest of the group when gaming, but it also happened to be the loudest of the group. The price on this card is $309, which makes it a tough sell compared to the other two cards. The one big highlight of this card is the lifetime warranty on it that you get if you register it within 30 days.


At the end of the day the real winner here would be gamers. You’ve never been able to get so much performance for $299! It is rather amazing that you can pick up a $299 video card and play your favorite game titles at 1080P, 1440P and 1600P. Once the ‘newness’ wears off, you’ll likely find rebates and other promotions on these cards before the holiday season. Could you imagine any of the cards down in the $275-$279 price range? AMD also says that the Radeon R9 280X can play Battlefield 4 at 1440P with the maximum image quality settings, so this fall is proving to be a good one for gamers.

If you are a serious gamers and have $299 to spend, the AMD Radeon R9 280X is hard to ignore. We would easily recommend any of these cards.

LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Radeon R9 280X is a re-branded Radeon HD 7970 that has had a few things adjusted along with a major price reduction!