i try to explain in details my current impressions on the 290
here CPU Fx 8320 + Sapphire 290 tri-x + 16GB ram
not tried 13.12 drivers with 290 yet 'cause i recently bought the card and installed 14.3...first of all
there is an issue with PowerPlay
and already reported it to AMD by the betareport form:
there are GPU core clock drops regardless of the temperature, you can fix by MSI Afterburner only (without powerplay support)
and you're forced to overclock
to set fixed clocks in high performance mode (that is in 3D mode)...at stock you can't do it...and furthermore you can't go over 1100/1400 otherwise it comes back to drop the core clocks while gaming or benchmarking...
so i suggested to AMD to provide an automatic power management (appreciable for sure) BUT even totally manual settings
so the user can set fixed clocks in 3D mode, with a higher auto cap to the fan speed (not only 40%, IF NEEDED) or manually set the fixed fan speed if possible issues with temperature...(consider that a card like mine will never come to 95° 'cause the triple fan system is really good here)
also, someone says that those issues are not present with Catalyst 13.12
then, DX&MANTLE 14.3:
this card seems to have a huge potential but there are some issues with stuttering and abnormal frame drops
with Vsync ON this is even more noticeable...Vsync OFF less but still present, is not smooth as butter, above all in Nvidia sponsored titles but even those by AMD
the games scenes often present weird little "slowdowns", is not smooth as butter...
Mantle sometimes still has some little freezes to the scenes in BF4 & THIEF, Star Swarm doesn't seem to have this issue, instead...
played Cod Ghosts, Batman Arkham Origins, BF4, Thief, Hitman Absolution, Saints Row 4, Tomb Raider....Arma 3... Assassins Creed BF, Sleeping Dogs...Bioshock Infinite
any of these is NOT COMPLETELY smooth in Directx 11
that said, i will try Catalyst 13.12, indeed want to understand what's the real difference
hope this helps