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SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 8GB Tri-X Video Card Review

By: Anthony Garreffa | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Mar 20, 2015 2:08 pm
TweakTown Rating: 88%Manufacturer: SAPPHIRE

How Does the SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 8GB Tri-X Stack Up?

 

For the most part, this is an overclocked Radeon R9 290X, with double the framebuffer. 8GB of VRAM is mostly useless today, but we've done some testing at '8K' and found that it is very useful there. For now, 4K isn't even mainstream, with 1440p only beginning to become more adopted.

 

In saying that, 4K monitors are getting much cheaper, where I think we'll see them adopted much quicker as we slide into the second half of 2015. The SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 8GB Tri-X handled everything we threw at it without a problem, either equaling the performance of the Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980, beating it, or losing to it slightly. Let's begin with a look at performance at 1080p.

 

Performance at 1080p

 

As usual, we'll start with separate thoughts on Battlefield 4 where our Medium testing showed it to pump out 160FPS average, against the GTX 970 and GTX 980 which push 169FPS average each. Not too bad at all, but we begin to see a swing to SAPPHIRE and AMD's favor when we crank it up to Ultra, with the R9 290X 8GB Tri-X scoring a great 150FPS average, leaving the GTX 970 and GTX 980 in its dust.

 

GRID: Autosport saw the SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 8GB Tri-X managing 119FPS average against the GTX 970's 137FPS and GTX 980's 140FPS average. Metro: Last Light is generous when it has more VRAM to work with, with the SAPPHIRE card beating the entire line up of cards.

 

Another lover of VRAM is Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, where the R9 290X 8GB Tri-X dominated with 82FPS average, with the closest card being the GeForce GTX 970 from ZOTAC which scores 72FPS.

 

Thief, Sniper Elite 3 and Tomb Raider all see the SAPPHIRE losing out to the big guns on the GTX 980.

 

Performance at 1440p

 

The additional VRAM on the SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 8GB Tri-X should come better into play at 2560x1440, where we see it kicking the ass of the GTX 780, GTX 970 and GTX 980 cards at 1440p in Battlefield 4. The R9 290X 8GB Tri-X provides 147FPS average, 20FPS+ above the competing high-end parts from NVIDIA.

 

When the Ultra preset (minus AA) is enabled, the 8GB of VRAM doesn't help too much as it's now over to the power of the GPU itself, with the R9 290X 8GB Tri-X losing to the GTX 980 by a single frame. It still beats the overclocked GTX 970 from ZOTAC by a huge 20FPS, though.

 

GRID: Autosport doesn't do much with the additional VRAM, but we see 101FPS average which is more than enough at 1440p. Metro: Last Light has the R9 290X 8GB Tri-X pushing out 52FPS average, while the GTX 980 scores 55FPS.

 

Shadow of Mordor is where we usually see our GPUs crawling on their knees begging for mercy, but the SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 8GB Tri-X scores 61FPS at 1440p, which is a great result. The GTX 980 beats it however, with 65FPS average.

 

 

 

Performance at 4K

 

Cranking things up to 4K, is where we want to be with a card like this. Starting with our Battlefield 4 numbers at 3840x2160 and the Medium preset, we have the SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 8GB Tri-X performing quite well, with 79FPS average - compared to the 80FPS on the GTX 980.

 

Metro: Last Light has the R9 290X 8GB Tri-X just 6FPS behind the GTX 980, while in Shadow of Mordor, the R9 290X 8GB Tri-X topples the GTX 980 by 2FPS at 4K.

 

We see the R9 290X 8GB Tri-X coming close to the GTX 970 and GTX 980 at 4K in Thief, with 34FPS against the NVIDIA cards with 41FPS and 37FPS for the GTX 970 and GTX 980, respectively. Sniper Elite 3 had the Radeon R9 290X 8GB Tri-X scoring 68FPS, which was 3FPS off of the 71FPS that the GTX 980 managed.

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