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AMD readies enhanced Radeon R9 290X ‘Hawaii’ graphics solution

Back in early January it was reported that the Hawaii graphics processing unit from Advanced Micro Devices might be more powerful than AMD publicly disclosed because of deactivated units. So far the theory has not been proven, but this may change soon. A famous overclocker said on Friday that AMD may reveal a more powerful version of the Hawaii GPU.

Currently AMD sells two versions of the Hawaii GPUs: the Radeon R9 290X is configured to feature 2816 stream processors (SPs)/44 compute units (CUs), 176 texture mapping units (TMUs) and 64 raster operating units (ROPs), the Radeon R9 290 sports 2560 SPs/40 CUs, 160 TMUs and 64 ROPs. However, an examination of what was claimed to be a die-shot (or a floor-plan) of Hawaii graphics processing unit shows that the chip may feature as many as 3072 stream processors (48 CUs).

Apparently, the theory may be true. 8Pack, a well-known overclocker, recently said that the Radeon R9 290X may not be the fastest Hawaii-based solution possible and that AMD could release something better.

“290X is not full fat,” said 8Pack over at Overclockers.co.uk forums. “The Contingency is ready. As usual NDA stops me from saying very much. Yes, I do have more info but I can’t share it.”


Designers of microprocessors and graphics processors in many cases integrate redundant execution units into their chips in order to have more processors with specifications that meet their performance targets (even in case certain execution units malfunction, there will be enough functional units to hit the targets). Obviously, certain chips are 100 per cent healthy and potentially they can be used to create even higher performance solutions. Apparently, this is the case with AMD’s Hawaii.

It remains to be seen how fast the Hawaii-3072 graphics solution will be. Theoretically, we can expect a 10 per cent performance improvement compared to the Radeon R9 290X, but in reality the boost may be higher or lower, depending on the clock-rates and other factors.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

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KitGuru Says: It is a big question whether AMD needs a Radeon R9 290X+ graphics solution. A graphics card based on the Hawaii GPU with 3072 stream processors will clearly beat Nvidia Corp.’s GeForce GTX Titan Black graphics card in a lot of performance benchmarks. At the same time, the release of such graphics card will affect sales of the Radeon R9 290X, which is easier to manufacture…

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  • Suhail Ahmad

    KitGuru end comment = total rubbish. The 290X+ will NOT adversely affect sales of the 290/X. I will tell you why. It will come with a higher price tag than the 290X. We know from previous articles that even the R9-290 comes with a custom water kit (UK rrp £360). I expect the 290X+ will also come with a custom H2O kit (therefore higher price tag). It will certainly come with a beefier, more efficient heatsink and fan solution compared to 290X. Either way, it will be more expensive than the standard 290X. Only a small percentage of the pc enthusiast population will have deep enough pockets. Given time (c.6-7 months), the 290X+ will be more affordable and that is when I will buy two (and sell off both of my sapphire R9-290’s).

  • Ben

    Wow I am glad we have Suhail here to keep us all right. ‘It will come with a higher price tag than the 290X.’ – fantastic analysis there, quite the no brainer.

    The 290X is screwed already by the price and performance of the 290, especially when overclocked.

  • Running BF4 everything on max settings, ive read online that the r9 series has issues regarding the noise that the card makes while under load, but with this one i can barely hear the thing while playing games like Rome Total War II or BF4 maxed with a resolution of 1920×1080.
    , great graphics card, never been happier with a graphic card purchase as i am now.

  • canopus72

    Almost one year on and still no comments!. There are so many rumours flying around that the
    380X is just a rebranded 290X. However, I do find this kit-guru article very interesting. AMD were
    supposed to release this fully unlocked version a year ago, to compete against the 780Ti, but it never happened and I always wondered why. Now I know. If the 380X is going to be a full fat 290X (3072SP’s) then that will be very good, especially if the 380X comes with HBM. The fully unlocked and rebranded 290X with HBM will completely destroy the 980GTX and 980Ti. It will also be a hell of a lot cheaper than the 980GTX and 980Ti.

  • Beasthuntt

    Man, just a few more days away. We will see. I can’t wait. Thanks for the links, btw.