£450 R9 290X arrives, gives GTX 780 and Titan cause for concern

The veil has finally been lifted on AMD’s Radeon R9 290X graphics card.

It carries a price of around 450 in the UK. The cheapest MCV has seen so far is either the HIS Boost or Gigabyte variants, which can be had for around 440. On the other end of the spectrum the Gigabyte, Sapphire or MSI BF4 Edition come in at 480.

We’re sure there are lots of other offers out there, of course.

What will perhaps be of more concern to PC enthusiasts is its performance, however. What we see there is a card that beats Nvidia’s 550 GTX 780 and can even at times better the 800 Titan.

AMD does this in typical AMD fashion – through brute force.

The 290X runts hotter and saps more power than Nvidia’s cards. Indeed, run in CrossFire the heat produced is such that both cards will typically be forced to downclock to maintain temperature – and with running temps of up to 95 degrees that’s saying something.

Note, too, that Nvidia’s cards remain the better overclockers – which is one thing that AMD R9 does seem to struggle with. An overclocked 780 can match or better a 290X without too much of a sweat, although that does nothing to address the price difference.

Regardless, the market has always shown that it’s ultimately power that wins out so while Nvidia’s offer may remain the more refined AMD will likely enjoy huge success with its 290X thanks to the winning combination of power and price advantage over its rival.

The next move now falls to Nvidia and its upcoming GTX 780Ti. If that can pip the 290X – and if the 780 can have 100 shaved off the price – we’re going to have a real battle on our hands.

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