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R9 290 vs R9 290X: What do the extra shaders do for an overclocker? (12 benchmarks included)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
This is a part of bigger test set that I'm planning on posting on the general graphics cards forum (for including a Nvidia card wink.gif ). Just thought I'd make a thread here because of this whole 290 unlocking thing and the rather large price difference between the 290 and 290X. It has been said that the difference clock for clock would be ~4% based on Valley Benchmark results. Of course, the difference will vary from one title to another, so what would 12 different benchmarks tell? Let's see.

Test setup:
Club3D R9 290 (stock BIOS and Asus 290X BIOS with 2816 shaders reported by GPU-Z)
Asus P9X79
i7-4820k @4.6GHz
16GB DDR3 2133MHz
Rosewill Armor Evo (3x140mm & 1x230mm fans)
Ambient temp ~19C
1920x1080 resolution

Win 8.1 Pro Preview (for a clean benchmarking installation)
Catalyst 13.12 WHQL
Afterburner 3.0.0 beta 17

GPU clocks on both BIOSes:
stock voltage
Core clock: 1090MHz
Memory clock: 1300MHz

Notes:

This is the max 24/7 core clock my card will run. 1100MHz is stable as in never crashes, but it's temp sensitive: going above 70 degrees I start to get random artifacts and I'm not willing to ramp the fan up far enough to counter that. The same is true with both BIOSes, the stock 290 BIOS just takes a tiny bit longer to get to those temps. Memory clocks, I haven't tried anything beyond 1300MHz other than a couple of benchmark runs at 1400MHz.

Another thing to notice: power limit slider doesn't seem to work in AB. To keep things simple, I didn't change it in CCC. This means that both BIOSes are limited to the same power level. The sustained clock rates can be seen in the screen captures beyond. The power throttling is minimal, but it could hurt the 290X BIOS a little more.

Both BIOSes we're tested with a clean Catalyst install. That is to say, complete driver removal with DDU 9.9 before each test set and everything on stock settings in CCC. All the graphics settings were maxed out in-game (or in-benchmark).

There are a few benchmark results in the screen captures that are not included in the comparison. 3DMark was run for all the tests but I consider the Ice Storm and Cloud Gate to be irrelevant. The only STALKER: Call of Pripyat benchmark that I included is the sun shafts, which is the most demanding one. It was also the only one that I could get to run full screen from the very beginning, the benchmark tool is buggy in that way.


Benchmarks:

Heaven Benchmark

290 BIOS: 53.6 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 55.0 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Sleeping Dogs

290 BIOS: 70.1 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 72.6 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Sniper Elite V2

290 BIOS: 68.2 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 71.3 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Metro 2033

290 BIOS: 53.98 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 54.66 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

3DMark Fire Strike Graphics Score

290 BIOS: 11338 Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 11645 Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Hitman Absolution

290 BIOS: 56.6 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 57.5 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Alien vs Predator

290 BIOS: 102.1 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 106.1 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

STALKER: Call of Pripyat Sun Shafts benchmark

290 BIOS: 76 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 80 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Benchmark score

290 BIOS: 14518 Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 14752 Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Mafia 2 Benchmark (sorry about the notepad result presentation, alt-tabbing didn't work here so couldn't get the actual result screen in there)

290 BIOS: 135.5 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 139.3 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Just Cause 2 Concrete Jungle benchmark

290 BIOS: 107.49 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 108.87 fps Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Resident Evil 6 benchmark score

290 BIOS: 14160 Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

290X BIOS: 14673 Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


Conclusion:

The 290X is faster than the 290 in all benchmarks. The difference with each benchmark goes like this:

Heaven Benchmark: +2.6%
Sleeping Dogs: +3.6%
Sniper Elite V2: +4.5%
Metro 2033: +1.3%
Firestrike: +2.7%
Hitman Absolution: +1.6%
Alien vs Predator: +3.9%
STALKER Call of Pripyat: +5.3%
Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn: +1.6%
Mafia 2: +2.8%
Just Cause 2: +1.3%
Resident Evil 6: +3.6%

The average of those numbers is +2.9%

So there you have it. It's not much but it's there. Personally I don't think it's worth the extra, but I was still very happy that my card could unlock. Gave me a little bit of extra with less of a temp/noise/power increase than overvolting.

Some of these benchies are most likely at least a bit CPU bound with such a low resolution, so the scale could tip towards the 290X with more pixels.

Feel free to comment and point out errors. I'm working on an interesting extension to this so any feedback would be appreciated thumb.gif
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post #2 of 10
without diving in and digesting all i have read - i think the 290 is a steal compared to the 290 x thumb.gif


its a bit like the hd5850 vs 5870 days and 7950 vs 7970 - but this seems better thumb.gif
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladcrooks View Post

without diving in and digesting all i have read - i think the 290 is a steal compared to the 290 x thumb.gif


its a bit like the hd5850 vs 5870 days and 7950 vs 7970 - but this seems better thumb.gif

It sure is and it's simple logic. With Hawaii, everything else is the same, just a simple 10 increase in shaders going from 290 to 290X. Besides, Hawaii as an architecture is IMHO less about the shaders and more about the bulky back end.
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post #4 of 10
That was an excellent overview for 1080p

The problem is the R9 290 series was meant for 1440p/1600p/4K

Most of Hawaii's improvements come from the quadrupling of ACEs and decoupling the geometry engine & rasterizer from the front end (via Shader engines similar to Nvidia's "SMX"). Render back end has been moved to shader engine too.

Otherwise two r9 270x / r9 270 / HD7870 would do similarly (32 ROPs x 2 = 64 ROPs)
Edited by AlphaC - 12/20/13 at 9:20am
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post #5 of 10
nice work. and yes, the big deal here (as I implied months ago) is that the vram, bus as well the pcb and power delivery is the same on both cards, which is not always the case. 7950 had a pcb that for some reason limited oc vs reference 7970's. nvidia always gimps something (or a bunch of things) going from the top model to the one right below it too. from the onset, I only saw more money and a small increase in shaders, not worth that increase in money, concerning the 290X vs 290. this is especially apparent because of the terrible reference coolers. I'd bet that the dc2 or other non reference versions have a minimum 5-6% gap between 290/290x at the same clocks. in other words, just a the Titan to GTX780, the 290X is being crippled harder due to AMD's artificial chains put on both cards (Nvidia's is a bios, AMD's is a cooler that costs a much as a plate of chinese food).
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post #6 of 10
Great job now you can sell that 290x and buy a 390x in 2014 biggrin.gif
post #7 of 10
Great test.


I hope some1 could do the same in 1440p!
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post #8 of 10
Was looking for these type of benchmarks to see the difference. Thanks for this!

This just shows the amazing value of the 290.
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post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvese View Post

Was looking for these type of benchmarks to see the difference. Thanks for this!

This just shows the amazing value of the 290.

for games, any will do. for benching - 290X all the way.
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post #10 of 10
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I did my Titan vs. 780 comparison mostly by downsampling from 3840x2160, which puts the hurt on any GPU. Too bad that's not possible with Radeons as of now. I agree that the resolution is likely skewing the results a bit. If I had to guess, I'd say the difference would be 4-8% at 3840x2160 with the theoretical max being +10%.

Still, I'm glad some of you guys find my results useful wink.gif
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