ASUS Radeon R9 280X Review


ASUS Radeon R9 280X Review


These are always difficult reviews to write. After all, despite the fancy rebranding, this is a HD7970 under the skin. A GPU that we first reviewed in January 2012. In case you've just stepped out of a time machine or been woken by a kiss from a handsome prince, that was 21 months ago. There is nothing new to say about the Tahiti GPU. Everyone remotely interested in a graphics card is aware of the performance potential.

AMD brazenly state that the R9 280X is a competitor for the nVidia GTX760. Given that the GTX760 is around £200 and the HD7970 is £300, it's hardly a fair comparison. At the time of writing we don't know what the street price of the R9 280X will be, especially not in this non-reference ASUS DirectCU II guise. It's supposed to be $299, and anyone in England knows that by the time you've taken into account VAT and the usual English markup, it's probably going to be around the £299 mark which puts it slap bang against the GTX770. Which is already the main competitor for the HD7970.

Since the time of writing the sellers recommended price has been confirmed as £275, and the score has been adjusted to reflect this excellent price point.

That 'dueling cards' comparison bears fruit in our benchmarks, with the two cards being within a frame or two of each other in nearly every test. Even the 3D Mark ones, which aren't always a good indicator of gaming performance, were so close that if you hid the Y axis you'd struggle to guess which card was which.

The DirectCU II cooler is one that has often proven itself as a wise choice, and things are no different with the R9 280X. It's a good looking cooler, even if it is slightly skewiff, and even under the most intensive applications it kept the Tahiti GPU at a relatively cool 70°C, without deafening us either.

So the ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II then. It's a HD7970 for less money, in a fancier box with a good cooler and great overclocking potential. It's tempting to say it does exactly what it says on the tin, except it does exactly what it says on another tin. The Tahiti is still a good performing GPU, even all this time since the release, and the R9 280X does nothing to tarnish that legacy. It's hard to recommend it as an upgrade with many HD7970s still on the market, but if you've stuck with an older series GPU then this still has the power to provide great gaming performance and the DirectCU II cooler and Never Settle game bundle only enhances the value. Time hasn't withered the Tahiti GPU as a Gold Award winner.


Thanks to ASUS for supplying the R9 280X for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

08-10-2013, 04:16:57

For someone needing to update this card will kick some serious ass can't wait to see the review of the R9-290XQuote

08-10-2013, 05:41:51

How do we CFX it when the cooler blocks them? Well i guess you can use the bendy ones.Quote

08-10-2013, 08:48:47

It would be nice when the 290X comes out if you could weave in there somehow, how fantastic these cards are at folding.Quote

08-10-2013, 09:26:28

As someone thats just updated there rig, i like the asus new card over there old version, this card is 2 slot and not 3 slot, and on a side note, sapphire R8 280X cards, now have uefi support, sweeet Quote

08-10-2013, 09:44:54

Is it just me or were there a few benchmarks where thee 7970 out performed the 280 x. I found that really unusual/confusing

As for the now confirmed pricing I can see how that bumped it up to gold award because you can essential crossfire 280x for just over the price of a single 7970 when they were releasedQuote

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