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AMD Radeon R9 290X retail cards performing much worse than press samples?

Posted on Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 11:35:51 CET by

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Tom's Hardware published an interesting test earlier this week in which they compared an actual retail sample of the AMD Radeon R9 290X with the R9 290X and R9 290 boards that were send out to the press. The results are quite a surprise, the reviewer discovered that the retail sample from Newegg performed much poorer than the press samples! In fact, his R9 290 press board was typically faster than his R9 290X retail card.

The culprit for the bad performance seems to be thermal throttling. The press samples take a hit of only a few frames per second under load but the retail card throttles back to 727MHz - far below its 1GHz boost rate - and just stays there. The site speculates the situation should improve once cards with custom coolers arrive within the next couple of weeks.

AMD Radeon R9 290X poor performance

The Tech Report asked AMD for a comment and got to hear that they're working on fixing these issues via a driver update:
A media outlet has uniquely reported instances of AMD Radeon R9 290X boards purchased in retail that have exhibited an uncharacteristic level of performance variance as compared to press samples issued by AMD. We’re working to secure the board(s) in question for further analysis. Boards purchased by other media outlets have not exhibited similar characteristics that we’re aware of. In the meantime, we’ve identified areas where variability can be minimized and are working on a driver update which will minimize this variance. We will provide an update shortly.
Swedish tech site SweClockers did their own comparison test in which they pitted a Radeon R9 290X press sample versus a retail card. The site's results are less extreme than those of Tom's Hardware although they still show a minor performance difference. In Uber mode the performance seems largely on-par but in Quiet mode there's a drop of 1 to 2 FPS in most tests.



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