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Conclusions
We'll once again wrap things up with a couple of value scatter plots. In both plots, the performance numbers are geometric means of data points from all the games we tested. The first plot shows 99th-percentile frame times converted into FPS for easier reading; the second plot shows simple FPS averages. Prices were fetched from Newegg, the GPU vendors, and the card makers, depending on what was appropriate.

The best deals should reside near the top left of each plot, where performance is high and pricing is low. Conversely, the least desirable offerings should be near the bottom right.


Well, I think this is pretty clear-cut. The Radeon R9 270 outperforms the GeForce GTX 660 overall, and it does so while drawing roughly the same amount of power at idle and under load—and while sipping fewer watts at idle with the display powered off.

The Asus version of the R9 270 we tested may be hot-clocked, but it's priced at the same $179.99 as other R9 270 cards. That makes it arguably a better choice than the GTX 660, which starts at $189.99.

That is, as long as you don't start accounting for game bundles.

All GTX 660s listed at Newegg come with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Splinter Cell Blacklist plus a $50 Shield discount. AMD says some R9 270s are supposed to ship with Battlefield 4, but we can't find any such bundles at Newegg right now. If freebies matter more to you than a little extra performance, then the GTX 660 may be the card for you. But if you somehow manage to score an R9 270 with a free copy of BF4, then I'd say that's the better bargain—simply because Battlefield multiplayer should have much more replay value than the titles Nvidia offers.

The R9 270 has another thing going for it: Mantle. Many Mantle-enabled games are on the way, and the performance gains hinted at by developers sound tantalizing. It could be that the R9 270's lead over the GTX 660 will grow significantly thanks to the new API. That's another thing to consider.

As for the R9 270's big brother, the R9 270X, well... folks with (slightly) deeper pockets may prefer to cough up the extra $20 for it, but given the small difference in clock rates between the two, I'm not sure I'd bother.TR

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