A couple of days after the announcement of the Radeon R7 250X, AMD continues to revamp the lower ranks of its GPU lineup with today's introduction of the Radeon R7 265. Like the 250X, the R7 265 isn't based on new silicon; it's simply the rebranding and repositioning of an existing product.
In this case, the R7 265 has roots in the Radeon HD 7850, which first debuted just under two years ago at a price of $250. Since the R7 265 is based an older chip, code-named Pitcairn, it doesn't support newer Radeon features like TrueAudio or XDMA for CrossFire.
The R7 265 does partake of some additional goodness the passage of time has allowed. The 265's GPU clock peaks at 925MHz, while the 7850 was clocked at 860MHz. Also, the R7 265's 2GB of GDDR5 memory can transfer data at 5.6Gbps, up from 4.8Gbps on the 7850. Those slight upgrades, since they come together, ought to translate pretty directly into higher all-around performance for the R9 265 compared to its predecessor. Here's how the basic specs compare.
|Radeon HD 7850||860||32||64/32||1024||4.8||256||150W|
|Radeon R7 265||925||32||64/32||1024||5.6||256||150W|
The other bit of good news here is that the R7 265 represents something of a price adjustment. The few Radeon HD 7850 cards still in stock are generally selling for around $189.99 online right now, although they've ranged between $150 and $170 in recent months. The R7 265 establishes an official base price of $149.99. This change also pushes the Radeon R7 260X down to a suggested list of $119.99.
The bottom line on the R7 265 is that folks can pick up a video card with graphics hardware that's extremely similar, in terms of both architecture and performance, to what's in the PlayStation 4 for 150 bucks. At least, such a purchase will be possible at the end of the month, when AMD expects the cards to hit store shelves.
Here's a look at the R7 265 review sample we received from AMD this past Monday.
Notice the sticker that's been peeled off the back? Yeah, I'm pretty sure this is a Sapphire 7850 that's been upgraded to R7 265 status via a BIOS flash. Then again, that may mean this card is entirely representative of the final R7 265 products. If so, that's just fine with us. This is a very capable video card for 1080p gaming at a decent price.
Damage Labs has been humming away testing this thing, but I don't quite have a review ready for you just yet.
AMD has almost certainly repositioned its products this week in anticipation of some movement in this space from its competition. In fact, there was a mysterious mention of a "750 Ti" as the primary rival to the GTX 265 in the press briefing. Perhaps we'll know the rest of the story fairly soon.