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AMD R9 270X Review

The AMD R9 270X is very capable solution, targeting the large audience who want a powerful graphics card without spending a fortune.

As our testing has highlighted it will easily outperform a standard HD7870 and tackle the enhanced HD7870 Tahiti LE edition head on, equally matched in some Direct X 11 engines and faster in others.

Testing a reference card is always a tricky proposition as we know that AMD partners will release superior solutions shortly after launch. Enhanced coolers, lower noise levels and boosted core clock speeds can certainly help sell a product to the discerning Kitguru audience.

We would like to point out to our readers that we already have several R9 270X partner cards, but AMD have forced a bizarre restriction on releasing some partner card reviews with specific press – 2 days after these launch articles today.

We will therefore follow up this reference review shortly with another featuring a modified Asus R9 270X. This card is both faster and quieter than the reference board we are testing for this article. Unfortunately this leaves us only with the R9 270X reference board today. We can only review what we have, or in this case what AMD choose to allow us to review.

The reference board is uninspiring when it comes to cooling and acoustic performance.

I have lost count of how many times I have said in reviews that AMD need to move away from their insistence on adopting a tiny small fan at one side of the cooler. Nvidia seem able to construct their reference coolers to a higher standard than AMD. An example? The reference cooled GTX Titan has a single fan and it is quieter than this R9 270X, so you can take from that what you will. Those hoping that the monster three fan cooler on the HD7990 perhaps signaled a positive change in direction will be sorely disappointed in what AMD have delivered today.

Power consumption from the R9 270X is noteworthy and when we get around to testing a version of this card with a good cooler we are sure it will deliver the goods. As it stands, what we have today is a card with similar performance to custom HD7870 Tahiti LE solutions, but one that runs hotter and louder.

AMD say the R9 270X will cost $199 USD. Using a currency converter translates this $199 into £125. Adding 20% VAT (£25) gives a total price of £150. We have been told by retail partners that the R9 270X will cost around £160 inc vat in the UK, with custom solutions between £10 and £20 more expensive (up to £180). We advise anyone contemplating a purchase of this card to wait for one with an enhanced 2 fan cooling solution.

Come back later in the week when we get permission to review dual fan R9 270X solutions.

Pros:

  • excellent performance and power consumption.
  • decent core headroom for overclocking.
  • price point looks competitive, especially as it settles over the coming weeks.

Cons:

  • reference cooler is uninspiring.
  • Recent price cuts to OC GTX760 under £200 pose a serious threat.

Kitguru says: Excellent performance but the overall package is let down by a weak reference cooling solution.
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Rating: 8.0.

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