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AMD Radeon R9 270X & R7 260X Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R9 270X; Metro: Last Light / Tomb Raider

Metro: Last Light (DX11)


<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/40Rip9szroU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>CENTER]

The latest iteration of the Metro franchise once again sets high water marks for graphics fidelity and making use of advanced DX11 features. In this benchmark, we use the Torchling level which represents a scene you’ll be intimately familiar with after playing this game: a murky sewer underground.


1920 x 1080

R9270X-REVIEW-44.jpg

R9270X-REVIEW-36.jpg


Tomb Raider (DX11)


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/okFRgtsbPWE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

Tomb Raider is one of the most iconic brands in PC gaming and this iteration brings Lara Croft back in DX11 glory. This happens to not only be one of the most popular games around but it is also one of the best looking by using the entire bag of DX11 tricks to properly deliver an atmospheric gaming experience.

In this run-through we use a section of the Shanty Town level. While it may not represent the caves, tunnels and tombs of many other levels, it is one of the most demanding sequences in Tomb Raider.


1920 x 1080

R9270X-REVIEW-45.jpg

R9270X-REVIEW-37.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R9 270X; Onscreen Frame Times

Onscreen Frame Times w/FCAT


When capturing output frames in real-time, there are a number of eccentricities which wouldn’t normally be picked up by FRAPS but are nonetheless important to take into account. For example, some graphics solutions can either partially display a frame or drop it altogether. While both situations may sound horrible, these so-called “runts” and dropped frames will be completely invisible to someone sitting in front of a monitor. However, since these are counted by its software as full frames, FRAPS tends to factor them into the equation nonetheless, potentially giving results that don’t reflect what’s actually being displayed.

With certain frame types being non-threatening to the overall gaming experience, we’re presented with a simple question: should the fine-grain details of these invisible runts and dropped frames be displayed outright or should we show a more realistic representation of what you’ll see on the screen? Since Hardware Canucks is striving to evaluate cards based upon and end-user experience rather than from a purely scientific standpoint, we decided on the latter of these two methods.

With this in mind, we’ve used the FCAT tools to add the timing of partially rendered frames to the latency of successive frames. Dropped frames meanwhile are ignored as their value is zero. This provides a more realistic snapshot of visible fluidity.


R9270X-REVIEW-46.jpg

R9270X-REVIEW-47.jpg

R9270X-REVIEW-48.jpg

R9270X-REVIEW-49.jpg


The R9 270X certainly starts off well without any of the usual stuttering that was once associated with AMD cards, even when in a single GPU setup. However, once again Far Cry 3 proves to be the fly in AMD's ointment with consistent stuttering which generates an altogether horrible gameplay experience.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R9 270X; Onscreen Frame Times (pg.2)

Onscreen Frame Times (pg.2)


When capturing output frames in real-time, there are a number of eccentricities which wouldn’t normally be picked up by FRAPS but are nonetheless important to take into account. For example, some graphics solutions can either partially display a frame or drop it altogether. While both situations may sound horrible, these so-called “runts” and dropped frames will be completely invisible to someone sitting in front of a monitor. However, since these are counted by its software as full frames, FRAPS tends to factor them into the equation nonetheless, potentially giving results that don’t reflect what’s actually being displayed.

With certain frame types being non-threatening to the overall gaming experience, we’re presented with a simple question: should the fine-grain details of these invisible runts and dropped frames be displayed outright or should we show a more realistic representation of what you’ll see on the screen? Since Hardware Canucks is striving to evaluate cards based upon and end-user experience rather than from a purely scientific standpoint, we decided on the latter of these two methods. With this in mind, we’ve used the FCAT tools to add the timing of runted to the latency of successive frames. Dropped frames meanwhile are ignored as their value is zero. This provides a more realistic snapshot of visible fluidity.


R9270X-REVIEW-50.jpg

R9270X-REVIEW-51.jpg

R9270X-REVIEW-52.jpg

R9270X-REVIEW-53.jpg


AMD does finish on a high note with consistent frame times across every one of these games. Hopefully this trend will continue as we transition into a new testing suite towards the end of this year.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R7 260X; Assassin’s Creed III / Crysis 3

Assassin’s Creed III (DX11)


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RvFXKwDCpBI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

The third iteration of the Assassin’s Creed franchise is the first to make extensive use of DX11 graphics technology. In this benchmark sequence, we proceed through a run-through of the Boston area which features plenty of NPCs, distant views and high levels of detail.


1920 x 1080

R7260X-REVIEW-38.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-30.jpg


Crysis 3 (DX11)


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zENXVbmroNo?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

Simply put, Crysis 3 is one of the best looking PC games of all time and it demands a heavy system investment before even trying to enable higher detail settings. Our benchmark sequence for this one replicates a typical gameplay condition within the New York dome and consists of a run-through interspersed with a few explosions for good measure Due to the hefty system resource needs of this game, post-process FXAA was used in the place of MSAA.


1920 x 1080

R7260X-REVIEW-39.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-31.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R7 260X; Dirt: Showdown / Far Cry 3

Dirt: Showdown (DX11)


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/IFeuOhk14h0?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

Among racing games, Dirt: Showdown is somewhat unique since it deals with demolition-derby type racing where the player is actually rewarded for wrecking other cars. It is also one of the many titles which falls under the Gaming Evolved umbrella so the development team has worked hard with AMD to implement DX11 features. In this case, we set up a custom 1-lap circuit using the in-game benchmark tool within the Nevada level.


1920 x 1080

R7260X-REVIEW-40.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-32.jpg



Far Cry 3 (DX11)


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mGvwWHzn6qY?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

One of the best looking games in recent memory, Far Cry 3 has the capability to bring even the fastest systems to their knees. Its use of nearly the entire repertoire of DX11’s tricks may come at a high cost but with the proper GPU, the visuals will be absolutely stunning.

To benchmark Far Cry 3, we used a typical run-through which includes several in-game environments such as a jungle, in-vehicle and in-town areas.



1920 x 1080

R7260X-REVIEW-41.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-33.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R7 260X; Hitman Absolution / Max Payne 3

Hitman Absolution (DX11)


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/8UXx0gbkUl0?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

Hitman is arguably one of the most popular FPS (first person “sneaking”) franchises around and this time around Agent 47 goes rogue so mayhem soon follows. Our benchmark sequence is taken from the beginning of the Terminus level which is one of the most graphically-intensive areas of the entire game. It features an environment virtually bathed in rain and puddles making for numerous reflections and complicated lighting effects.


1920 x 1080

R7260X-REVIEW-42.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-34.jpg



Max Payne 3 (DX11)


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZdiYTGHhG-k?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

When Rockstar released Max Payne 3, it quickly became known as a resource hog and that isn’t surprising considering its top-shelf graphics quality. This benchmark sequence is taken from Chapter 2, Scene 14 and includes a run-through of a rooftop level featuring expansive views. Due to its random nature, combat is kept to a minimum so as to not overly impact the final result.


1920 x 1080

R7260X-REVIEW-43.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-35.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R7 260X; Metro: Last Light / Tomb Raider

Metro: Last Light (DX11)


<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/40Rip9szroU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

The latest iteration of the Metro franchise once again sets high water marks for graphics fidelity and making use of advanced DX11 features. In this benchmark, we use the Torchling level which represents a scene you’ll be intimately familiar with after playing this game: a murky sewer underground.


1920 x 1080

R7260X-REVIEW-44.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-36.jpg


Tomb Raider (DX11)


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/okFRgtsbPWE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

Tomb Raider is one of the most iconic brands in PC gaming and this iteration brings Lara Croft back in DX11 glory. This happens to not only be one of the most popular games around but it is also one of the best looking by using the entire bag of DX11 tricks to properly deliver an atmospheric gaming experience.

In this run-through we use a section of the Shanty Town level. While it may not represent the caves, tunnels and tombs of many other levels, it is one of the most demanding sequences in Tomb Raider.


1920 x 1080

R7260X-REVIEW-45.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-37.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R7 260X; Onscreen Frame Times

Onscreen Frame Times w/FCAT


When capturing output frames in real-time, there are a number of eccentricities which wouldn’t normally be picked up by FRAPS but are nonetheless important to take into account. For example, some graphics solutions can either partially display a frame or drop it altogether. While both situations may sound horrible, these so-called “runts” and dropped frames will be completely invisible to someone sitting in front of a monitor. However, since these are counted by its software as full frames, FRAPS tends to factor them into the equation nonetheless, potentially giving results that don’t reflect what’s actually being displayed.

With certain frame types being non-threatening to the overall gaming experience, we’re presented with a simple question: should the fine-grain details of these invisible runts and dropped frames be displayed outright or should we show a more realistic representation of what you’ll see on the screen? Since Hardware Canucks is striving to evaluate cards based upon and end-user experience rather than from a purely scientific standpoint, we decided on the latter of these two methods.

With this in mind, we’ve used the FCAT tools to add the timing of partially rendered frames to the latency of successive frames. Dropped frames meanwhile are ignored as their value is zero. This provides a more realistic snapshot of visible fluidity.


R7260X-REVIEW-52.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-53.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-54.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-55.jpg


Frame times run down the same path here as they did with the R9 270X. This budget-focused card is able to provide a consistently smooth experience until it runs face first into that usual far Cry wall.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
R7 260X; Onscreen Frame Times (pg.2)

Onscreen Frame Times w/FCAT (pg.2)


When capturing output frames in real-time, there are a number of eccentricities which wouldn’t normally be picked up by FRAPS but are nonetheless important to take into account. For example, some graphics solutions can either partially display a frame or drop it altogether. While both situations may sound horrible, these so-called “runts” and dropped frames will be completely invisible to someone sitting in front of a monitor. However, since these are counted by its software as full frames, FRAPS tends to factor them into the equation nonetheless, potentially giving results that don’t reflect what’s actually being displayed.

With certain frame types being non-threatening to the overall gaming experience, we’re presented with a simple question: should the fine-grain details of these invisible runts and dropped frames be displayed outright or should we show a more realistic representation of what you’ll see on the screen? Since Hardware Canucks is striving to evaluate cards based upon and end-user experience rather than from a purely scientific standpoint, we decided on the latter of these two methods. With this in mind, we’ve used the FCAT tools to add the timing of runted to the latency of successive frames. Dropped frames meanwhile are ignored as their value is zero. This provides a more realistic snapshot of visible fluidity.


R7260X-REVIEW-56.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-57.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-58.jpg

R7260X-REVIEW-59.jpg


Once again, the R7 260X doesn't show any issues here despite the fact that its a lower-end solution.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
Temperatures & Acoustics / Power Consumption

Temperature Analysis


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped..

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.


R7260X-REVIEW-47.jpg

Temperatures on both these cards aren’t high by AMD’s standards but they could be a lot better. As you will see in the overclocking section, increasing thermals were one of the reasons clock speeds were curtailed. We’d recommend looking for a custom cooling solution if you want to bring performance to the next level.

Acoustical Testing


What you see below are the baseline idle dB(A) results attained for a relatively quiet open-case system (specs are in the Methodology section) sans GPU along with the attained results for each individual card in idle and load scenarios. The meter we use has been calibrated and is placed at seated ear-level exactly 12” away from the GPU’s fan. For the load scenarios, a loop of Unigine Valley is used in order to generate a constant load on the GPU(s) over the course of 15 minutes.

R7260X-REVIEW-46.jpg

Since our R9 270X and R7 260X samples use AMD’s reference design, we weren’t expecting much in the acoustics department but both were pleasant surprises. It looks like the R7’s axial fan does keep acoustics to a minimum but even the 270X’s improved heatsink and intake design shows a notable improvement over the HD 7870 GHz.


System Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we used 15 minutes of Unigine Valley running on a loop while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 15 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.

R7260X-REVIEW-48.jpg

The 270X’s power consumption is right in line with expectations since it is essentially an overclocked HD 7870 GHz Edition. That puts it just below a GTX 760 which isn’t particularly efficient but from a performance per watt perspective, we’ve seen worse.

AMD’s R7 260X on the other hand shows what happens when silicon is pushed close to its maximum limit. Not only does it require significantly more power than an HD 7790 but it consumes just 17W less than the GXT 650 Ti Boost 2GB, a card that outperforms it by a significant amount.
 
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