Reviews of AMD's first Radeon R7 and R9 graphics cards hit the web overnight, but we're still waiting for the big daddy. The R9 290X revealed during AMD's recent GPU press event was the only new Radeon shown based on the next-gen Hawaii graphics chip. Early listings suggest BF4 editions of the 290X will be priced in the $700-800 range, and a fresh leak indicates that a less expensive variant may be in the, ahem, cards. A presentation slide posted on Hermitage Akihabara details specifications for not only the Radeon R9 290X, but also a cut-down R9 290 model with fewer shader ALUs and a lower peak clock speed.
According to the leaked specs, the R9 290X will have 2816 shader ALUs clocked at "up to 1GHz." The R9 290X will supposedly trim the ALU count to 2560 and cut the peak clock speed to 947MHz. There will be no change in the memory configuration, though. Both cards are listed as having 4GB of 5Gbps GDDR5 on a 512-bit interface.
With the Radeon R9 290X poised to challenge the GeForce GTX Titan at the top of the food chain, we wouldn't be surprised if AMD were harvesting sub-par GPU dies for use in a cheaper version with fewer functional units. Such a product would likely target the GeForce GTX 780, which is a mildly de-tuned version of the Titan.
GeForce GTX 780 cards are available for as little as $625 right now, and the Titan starts at a grand. AMD could challenge both Nvidia products and still keep plenty of distance between the R9 290 and the Tahiti-based 280X. We'll know more before too long—I hope.
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