Advanced Micro Devices plans to re-launch AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards with 8GB of memory. Earlier this year such graphics boards were available exclusively from Sapphire Technologies, but for the holiday season AMD intends to allow three partners to offer R9 290X graphics boards with 8GB of GDDR5 on-board.
In a bid to better compete against Nvidia Corp.’s GeForce GTX 980 as well as GeForce GTX Titan graphics cards, AMD plans to allow Club3D, PowerColor and Sapphire to release exclusive 8GB versions of graphics cards based on the Radeon R9 290X graphics processing units, reports SweClockers.
The AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards with 8GB of GDDR5 memory are projected to feature custom cooling solutions and higher clock-rates compared to regular graphics boards powered by the fully-fledged version of the Hawaii graphics chip with 2816 stream processors, 176 texture units, 64 raster operations pipelines and 512-bit memory bus.
The exclusive Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X OC 8192MB graphics card that was made available in limited quantities earlier this year came with slightly increased clock-rates: the GPU was clocked at 1060MHz (up from 1000MHz), whereas 8GB of memory operated at 5600MHz effective frequency (up from 5000MHz on default graphics cards). It is logical to expect similar slight overclock from the upcoming Radeon R9 290X 8GB graphics cards as well.
While 8GB of GDDR5 memory sounds impressive, not everyone needs a frame-buffer that large at present. For the vast majority of use cases, 4GB GDDR5 should be enough for fine frame-rates. 8GB will provide a significant advantage to those, who play in 4K resolution (3840*2160) and/or with very high-quality antialiasing settings, but in order to get high performance in ultra-high-definition, one will need two graphics cards…
The new breed of Radeon R9 290X graphics adapters with 8GB of GDDR5 memory on-board will be released on the 6th of November, 2014. AMD wants to ensure that the new graphics boards are affordable enough to compete against GeForce GTX 980, therefore, do not expect the R9 290X 8GB versions to cost significantly more than regular models.
The fact that AMD allowed two of its key partners – Tul Corp. (which controls PowerColor and supplier graphics cards to Club3D) and Sapphire Technology – to make exclusive Radeon R9 290X 8GB graphics cards means that the company has no plans to release any new flagship offerings this calendar year.
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KitGuru Says: While it is nice to see that AMD actually wants to compete against the GeForce GTX 980 using something else than price-cuts or promotions, exclusive graphics cards with no obvious performance advantages are not exactly something that can capture a significant share of the market (due to limited availability). Therefore, while some gamers might prefer Radeon R9 290X 8GB to GeForce GTX 980 4GB, it is unlikely that the majority of gamers will make the same choice.