Originally Posted by bencher
This review shows what all other reviews concluded... R9 295x2 > Sli 780ti
Let's sum up our performance results—and factor in price—using our world-famous scatter plots. These overall performance results are a geometric mean of the outcomes on the preceding pages. We left Thief out of the first couple of plots since we tested it differently, but we've added it to a third plot to see how it affects things.
As usual, the best values will tend toward the top left of the plot, where performance is high and price is low, while the worst values will gravitate toward the bottom right.
As you can see, the 295 X2 doesn't fare well in our latency-sensitive 99th percentile FPS metric (which is just frame times converted to higher-is-better FPS). You've seen the reasons why in the test results: frame time spikes in AC4 and Arkham Origins, struggles in a portion of our Call of Duty: Ghosts test session, and negative performance scaling for multi-GPU in Guild Wars 2. These problems push the R9 295 X2 below even a single GeForce GTX 780 Ti in the overall score.
AMD's multi-GPU struggles aren't confined to the 295 X2, either. The Radeon HD 7990 is, on paper, substantially more powerful than the R9 290X, but its 99th percentile FPS score is lower than a single 290X card's.
The 295 X2 does somewhat better if you're looking at the FPS average, and the addition of Thief makes the Radeons a little more competitive overall. Still, two GTX 780 Ti cards in SLI are substantially faster even in raw FPS terms. And we know that the 295 X2 struggles to produce consistently the sort of gaming experience that its hardware ought to provide.
I've gotta say, I find this outcome incredibly frustrating and disappointing. I believe AMD's hardware engineers have produced probably the most powerful graphics card we've ever seen. The move to water cooling has granted it a massive 500W power envelope, and it has a 1GB-per-GPU advantage in memory capacity over the GeForce GTX 780 Ti SLI setup. Given that we tested exclusively in 4K, where memory size is most likely to be an issue, I fully expected the 295 X2 to assert its dominance. We saw flashes of its potential in Crysis 3 and BF4. Clearly the hardware is capable.
At the end of the day, though, a PC graphics card requires a combination of hardware and software in order to perform well—that's especially true for a multi-GPU product. Looks to me like the R9 295 X2 has been let down by its software, and by AMD's apparent (and, if true, bizarre) decision not to optimize for games that don't wear the Gaming Evolved logo in their opening titles. You know, little franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed. It's possible AMD could fix these problems in time, but one has to ask how long, exactly, owners of the R9 295 X2 should expect to wait for software to unlock the performance of their hardware. Recently, Nvidia has accelerated its practice of having driver updates ready for major games before they launch, after all. That seems like the right way to do it. AMD is evidently a long way from that goal.
I dunno. Here's hoping that our selection of games and test scenarios somehow just happened to be particularly difficult for the R9 295 X2, for whatever reason. Perhaps we can vary some of the test scenarios next time around and get a markedly better result. There's certainly more work to be done to verify consistent frame delivery to the display, anyhow. Right now, though, the 295 X2 is difficult to recommend, even to those folks who would happily pony up $1500 for a graphics card"