As you may have learned from our previous review, the Radeon R9 290X is about 30% faster than the R9 280X. Now let’s see how faster the R9 290 (without the “X”) is in comparison with the same R9 280X:
So, the standard Radeon R9 290 is 15.1-19.9% faster than the MSI Radeon R9 280X (1050/6000 MHz) at 1920x1080 and 17.9-21.7% faster at 2560x1440. That’s exactly what we might expect considering that the difference in their recommended prices is less than $100 (or 25% of the Radeon R9 290's price). However, the current prices are very far from what the GPU developers planned.
Now let’s check out the difference between the Radeon R9 290 and the top-end R9 290X:
The junior Hawaii XT based card is surprisingly fast. It is a mere 7% behind both at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440. The biggest gap can be observed at one resolution in Batman: Arkham Origins, but it must be due to the specifics of the in-game benchmark rather than to the real difference in performance between the Radeon R9 290X and the Radeon R9 290.
Now let’s see how fast the Radeon R9 290 becomes when overclocked. We managed to increase its GPU and memory frequencies by 17.7% and 19.2%, respectively. And the performance scalability is quite high:
The overclocked card gets 14-16% faster at 1920x1080 and 15-16% faster at 2560x1440. Of course, the overclocked R9 290 easily beats the standard Radeon R9 290X:
Working at 1115/5960 MHz, the Radeon R9 290 is 6-8% ahead of the standard R9 290X at 1920x1080 and 7-8% ahead at 2560x1440. Our overclocking proves to be enough to make up for the deficiencies of the cut-down Hawaii XT core.
Now, we've got two more interesting comparisons. First goes the Radeon R9 290 vs. the GeForce GTX 780 at their default frequencies:
The Radeon R9 290 wins in Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution, Company of Heroes 2 and Total War: Rome II whereas the GeForce GTX 780 is ahead in Sniper Elite V2, Metro: Last Light (with Advanced PhysX turned on) and in Batman: Arkham Origins (in three out of the four test modes). In the rest of the games the two cards deliver the same performance. So, the Radeon R9 290 is equal to the GeForce GTX 780 on average across all of our tests.
Thanks to the higher overclocking potential of the original card from EVGA, the overclocked GeForce GTX 780 performs better in comparison with the overclocked Radeon R9 290. The overall picture remains the same, though: