AMD Radeon R300: all new – well forgotten old
When a few days ago, we talked about GPUs, AMD’s next-generation, you probably noticed that our brief review revolved mainly around Fury H. simultaneously, the company announced an entire lineup of «new» additions to the large family Radeon, United under the name «Series R300», which I deliberately missed. Want to know why? The short answer to this question: «Just because they are not interesting enough». And the reason for this is that the «new» R7 and R9 products are actually parametervalue (Yes, second time!) graphics card that we know is already more than 3 years under the name of Radeon HD 7000 Series.
All new – well forgotten old…
… or not so well forgotten. In the fall of 2013 AMD announced a new generation graphic card is Radeon R200, among which the leading models Radeon R9 280X and Radeon R9 290X. One of them, the product, codenamed Hawaii XT (aka Radeon R 290X), did offer a new architecture and improvements over its predecessor. All other models in practice was the same old HD 7xxx chips, but with a new, glamorous names.
With the «new» generation R300 manufacturer have relied on the same strategy. As a result, the flagship Fure X (Fiji XT) actually offers many improvements, including increased productivity, more complex architecture and the memory of the next generation, which provides higher throughput and greater compactness compared with widely used at present, chips GDDR5.
However, all other adapters – including three of the most interesting representatives of a new series R300 Radeon: R9 390X, R9 380X and 370X R7, in practice not much different from their predecessors with the number «2» in the name. Besides some minor optimizations, energy efficiency and easy increase the nominal clock frequency of cores and memory, the «new» R300 are in fact familiar to all fans of AMD products that debuted three and a half years ago.
The pros… and cons
This, of course, there is nothing: a similar strategy for many years uses not only AMD, but also its main competitor – NVIDIA.
However, from the point of view of many users it is a bit disappointing, especially given the fact that the majority of enthusiasts expect that each new generation of graphics cards will offer them symbolic, and serious, even a significant improvement in terms of performance and efficiency of energy use
NVIDIA in this respect, it succeeded quite well with GPUs based on the Maxwell architecture and it is logical that the AMD fans had expected the same from his beloved company.
Alas, except Fury X (which is still only theoretical), the other adapters R300 are old models with a new name.
In any case, let’s look at the first practical tests of the «new» (old) R300. In particular, we consider the results of the two most interesting members of the series – the Radeon R9 390X and Radeon R9 380X.
First, a few words about energy efficiency both adapters. At maximum load R9 390 requires about 258 watts of power – a definite improvement compared to 286 watts needed by the original R9 290X. Similar situation with the R9 380X – 196 W vs 241 watts for the R9 280X.
The competition, however, in the face of models NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970, the situation is not so rosy, as these two cards require, respectively, 171 and 154 watts of power. Direct competitor to the R9 380X – GeForce GTX 960, we only need 119 watts. In short – the products from NVIDIA consume much less energy.
What about the performance?
In actual games such as Grand Theft Auto V and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the R9 390X shows a level of performance similar to those of the GTX 980/970, while the R9 380X is closer to the GTX 960, no surprises, as the balance of power of the previous generation from AMD has been retained. The difference in speed between the «new» R300 and their «old» counterparts R200 minimal and rarely exceeds 3-5 fps in most gaming titles.
Bad news for people hoping for a tempting offer to upgrade, is that starting prices for the «new» cards are not much different from those in actual in the moment their previous counterparts.
R9 390X, for example, will sell for about $ 430, and the R9 380X will cost about 200 in the same currency.
What this means for owners of class products Radeon R9 290X / 280x or even a HD 7970/7950? Means little, I would even say zero incentive to upgrade. The reason is clear – replacement adapter of this class in model «new» generation R300 will not bring any significant improvements, except perhaps a minimal reduction of energy consumption.
Products Fury/Fury X a completely separate case, but this GPU is very high class, which, unfortunately, is far from the financial capacity of the mass of a gamer/hardware enthusiast.
In addition, the new products from AMD are still little known, since the only performance tests was officially granted a specialized marketing Department. The results of the independent s currently available.
In conclusion, my advice to you in regard to the «new» AMD R300 – wait. Even if you have a reason to upgrade – let’s say you have an old video card from fifth or sixth generation (HD 5xxx/6xxx), do not rush to change it at the model from the R300. Regardless of the fact that essentially these products are parametervalue chips, the first few months after launch to the market their prices will be relatively high. When the market is saturated (by the end of this year), the upgrade will be much more profitable, though, let me again note that the word «update» is used here mainly conditional – at least, relative to most members of generation Radeon R300.