AMD has recently launched the new Radeon series with a brand new naming, R9 and R7. We are talking here at the top of the line R9 290X, followed by the non-X version, which have the latest GCN 2.0 implemented, followed by the R9 280X and R9 270X. The 260X, 250 and 240 versions take part of the R7 series, which is defined to include the mainstream and low-end GPUs.
In this review we will take a look at a customized HIS version of the AMD Radeon R9 280X, which is quite similar with the Radeon HD 7970 Ghz edition we have taken a look on some time ago, considering that both come with the same Tahiti core, 2048 stream processors, 32ROPs and a total of 4.3 Million transistors.
We are dealing again with 3GB of GDDR5 memory and a 384-bit bus width at the same 1500MHz frequency as the 7970 Ghz edition, while the core clock has a maximum frequency boost of 1050MHz (compared to the 1000Mhz speed of the stock version).
The HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X2 Turbo Boost Clock card has a custom PCB version with dual 8-pin PCI-Express power connectors and a well-built cooling system which is efficient, has been proven with the previous Radeon generation and the card does not exceed two slots in height.
The PowerTune function is now available on the full range so the GPU clock gets modified depending on power draw, heat and performance factors. Eyefinity has been also updated to V2 DDM, with the ability of 5x1 landscape and custom multi-monitor resolutions. Also, with the new series we are permitted to use the Eyefinity feature without the need of a DisplayPort adapter.
If the card provides for example two DVI ports and one HDMI, we can use all three to set up Eyefinity.
At the latest presentation, AMD has also introduced the TrueAudio DSP, which is unfortunately not included with the 280X, but it is present in the 260X and also top of the line 290/290X.
Mantle is a new API introduced with the latest seriers, which gives the game developers direct access to the GPUs by using the Graphics Core Next architecture. AMD has recently clarified that Mantle creates for PC a development platform which is similar to the one for the consoles, which already offer low-level APIs, close-to-metal programming, easier development and more. By creating a more console-like developer environment, Mantle improves time to market, reduces development costs and allows more efficient rendering and ultimately improves performance for gamers.