Why Bonaire is overrated and R7-260X is a cash-grab by AMD

Thesis:
The R7-260X is like the cash-grab that is the GK106 GTX 650 Ti (a ten month delayed response to AMD’s midrange that was ridiculously weak for its MSRP) but worse. At least the GTX 650 Ti Boost came with a wider memory bus and 24 ROPs instead of 16.

Intro:
The R7-260X is a rebranded HD7790 that has TrueAudio enabled (which ought to be called TrueDSP since you can run any form of DSP on it).

Rationale:
The HD7790 had superior performance per watt to the GTX 650 TI Boost. That’s all it had going for it other than cryptocurrency mining and Autodesk Inventor /Solidworks speed versus Nvidia cards.

It’s slower than the GTX 650 Ti Boost in just about every game. Even in compute heavy titles like GRID2 which are AMD’s strong suit, the GTX 650 TI Boost matches the R7-260X.

When Nvidia launched the GTX 650 Ti, AMD dropped the HD7770GE from $159 to $119. I suspect that will happen AGAIN, with the GTX 750 Ti launch (i.e. a rumored GTX 660 with 256 bit memory) and also the GTX 750 launch (if that ever even is released it won’t be difficult to beat the R7-260X in every metric).

For a card that isn’t really strong enough as it needs to be run 1080p on high settings it has high power draw for blu-ray movies (over double that of the GTX 650 TI Boost) as well as for multi-monitors that are not actually displaying moving images.

The HD7750 had a nice cozy spot of ~$100 (down from $110 MSRP) and it will likely stay there because there hasn’t been anything stronger that uses only PCI-e slot power (other than the GTX 650-E from ASUS which is only one SKU).

Second , more technical rationale:
Tahiti –> Pitcairn cut the compute units from 32 to 20, leaving Pitcairn XT (HD7870 / R9 270X / R9 270) with 1280 stream processors and 80 texture units. (A compute unit has “four texture units and four 16-wide vector units, also known as ALUs or stream processors.”)
Tahiti –> Pitcairn also cut two 64-bit memory controllers , dropping to 256-bit memory bus from 384-bit memory bus.
However, Pitcairn retains both geometry engines at the front end, as well as both rasterizaters and all backend ROPs (32 ROPs like Tahiti / GK104). Bonaire, in contrast has only 16 ROPs (GK106 /GTX660 has 24 ROPs but the number of triangles rasterized per clock cycle is 3 due to 3 raster engines which is why it actually has as high a rasterization rate as Pitcairn XT. The GTX650 Ti Boost may have an entire GPC disabled if the disabled SMX is in the GPC wth one SMX, which means one raster engine goes dark = 2 raster engines).

The second issue is 2GB R7-260X VRAM specification : with a 128-bit memory bus it requires 512MB GDDR5 memory chips. It happens to be memory bandwidth bottlenecked like the GTX 650 TI non-BOOST, something apparent in texture-heavy stuff (or in Tessmark).

7790 / R7 260X block diagram
four render back-end units, each with four ROPs

7870 / R9 270 / R9 270X block diagram
eight render back-end units, each with four ROPs

Pitcairn is literally 2x Cape Verde (HD7770) ; R9 290 (Hawaii Pro) is double Pitcairn

Conclusion:
This is why the $140 MSRP really annoys me. The R7-260X is at the HD7770GHz edition / GTX 650 TI non-boost launch price even though it’s not a new chip. Doing this is a blatant cash grab , and we’re not talking about high-end early adopters with money to blow when it’s the R7 series. It’s only saving grace is TrueAudio.

2 thoughts on “Why Bonaire is overrated and R7-260X is a cash-grab by AMD”

  1. I don't think Bonaire (7790) itself is over-rated, it's a really decent GPU for its price. The “new” rebrand of it however, has a pretty ridiculous price. It's pretty much the exact same silicon because the TrueAudio stuff was physically present on the original Bonaire GPU. They just waited until the “new” card launch to release a slightly-overpriced version with the feature actually enabled this time.

    I think anyone who does the research will understand that it's best to just go for the original version if they really wanted an AMD card and that type of performance.

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