In the first pair of summary charts we compare the original ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II (pre-overclocked to 1000/5040 MHz or by +5.6/1%) and the reference AMD Radeon R9 290 (947/5000 MHz), the latter serving as the baseline.
Despite the small difference in their clock rates, the ASUS is an average 3.1 to 3.2% faster at 1920x1080 and 2.4 to 2.8% faster at 2560x1440. The largest gap can be observed in Batman: Arkham Origins whereas in Metro: Last Light, Crysis 3, Hitman: Absolution and in some other games at the lower visual quality settings the two cards deliver similar performance. We guess the difference may be due to the ASUS’s efficient cooler. Thanks to it, the original card from ASUS never enables frequency throttling as the reference Radeon R9 290 may do.
The second pair of our charts helps compare the ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II with the reference AMD Radeon R9 290X, the latter serving as the baseline:
The gap is smaller than between the ASUS and the reference R9 290. The ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II is an average 2.1 to 3.6% slower at 1920x1080 and 1.8 to 2.1% slower at 2560x1440. The ASUS can be said to deliver the same speed as the reference Radeon R9 290X.
We also want to compare the ASUS with the original MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning:
As opposed to the previous two pairs of summary diagrams, there is no clear winner here. The ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II is ahead in Hitman: Absolution, Company of Heroes 2 and Batman: Arkham Origins (with 8x MSAA). Meanwhile, the MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning is faster in Total War: SHOGUN 2, Sniper Elite V2, Crysis 3, Tomb Raider (2013), BioShock Infinite, Metro: Last Light (with Advanced PhysX), Total War: Rome II and Batman: Arkham Origins (without 8x MSAA). In the rest of the games these two graphics cards are close to each other, although the MSI enjoys an advantage of 3-5% on average across all of them.