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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Radeon R9 290 Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II 2GB Edition
Hitman 3 60% 180%
Cyberpunk 2077 23% 115%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 12% 97%
Resident Evil 8 23% 115%
FIFA 21 38% 9%
Grand Theft Auto VI 73% 203%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 9% 90%
Genshin Impact 23% 115%
Far Cry 6 78% 211%
The Medium 53% 168%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the graphical capabilities of the AMD Radeon R9 290 are significantly better than the AMD Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II 2GB Edition.

The HD 7870 has a 63 MHz higher core clock speed than the Radeon R9 290, but the Radeon R9 290 has 80 more Texture Mapping Units than the HD 7870. As a result, the Radeon R9 290 exhibits a 70.7 GTexel/s better Texture Fill Rate than the HD 7870. This still holds weight but shader performance is generally more relevant, particularly since both of these GPUs support at least DirectX 10.

The HD 7870 has a 63 MHz higher core clock speed than the Radeon R9 290, but the Radeon R9 290 has 32 more Render Output Units than the HD 7870. As a result, the Radeon R9 290 exhibits a 28.3 GPixel/s better Pixel Fill Rate than the HD 7870. However, both GPUs support DirectX 9 or above, and pixeling performance is only really relevant when comparing older cards.

The Radeon R9 290 was released over a year more recently than the HD 7870, and so the Radeon R9 290 is likely to have better driver support, meaning it will be more optimized for running the latest games when compared to the HD 7870.

Both GPUs exhibit very powerful performance, so it probably isn't worth upgrading from one to the other, as both are capable of running even the most demanding games at the highest settings.

The Radeon R9 290 has 2048 MB more video memory than the HD 7870, so is likely to be much better at displaying game textures at higher resolutions. This is supported by the fact that the Radeon R9 290 also has superior memory performance overall.

The Radeon R9 290 has 165.1 GB/sec greater memory bandwidth than the HD 7870, which means that the memory performance of the Radeon R9 290 is massively better than the HD 7870.

The Radeon R9 290 has 2560 Shader Processing Units and the Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II 2GB Edition has 1280. However, the actual shader performance of the Radeon R9 290 is 2061 and the actual shader performance of the HD 7870 is 1099. The Radeon R9 290 having 962 better shader performance and an altogether better performance when taking into account other relevant data means that the Radeon R9 290 delivers a massively smoother and more efficient experience when processing graphical data than the HD 7870.

The Radeon R9 290 requires 275 Watts to run but there is no entry for the Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II 2GB Edition. We would recommend a PSU with at least 750 Watts for the Radeon R9 290.

Game FPS Benchmarks On Ultra

GPU Architecture

Core Speed947 MHzvs1010 MHz
Boost Clock-vs-
ArchitectureGCN 1.1 Hawaii PROGCN 1.0 Pitcairn XT
OC Potential Fair vs Fair
Driver Support Great vs Good
Release Date05 Nov 2013vs01 Jun 2012
GPU LinkGD LinkGD Link

Resolution Performance

green tick vs -
green tick vs
green tick vs
green tick vs
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GPU Memory

Memory4096 MBvs2048 MB
Memory Speed1250 MHzvs1210 MHz
Memory Bus512 Bitvs256 Bit
Memory TypeGDDR5vsGDDR5
Memory Bandwidth320GB/secvs154.9GB/sec
L2 Cache 1024 KB green tick vs 512 KB
Delta Color Compression no vs no
Memory Performance 0% green tick vs green tick 0%

GPU Display

Shader Processing Units2560vs1280
Actual Shader Performance99%vs53%
Texture Mapping Units160vs80
Texture Rate151.5 GTexel/svs80.8 GTexel/s
Render Output Units64vs32
Pixel Rate60.6 GPixel/svs32.3 GPixel/s

GPU Outputs

Max Digital Resolution (WxH)4096x2160vs4096x2160
VGA Connections0vs0
DVI Connections2vs1
HDMI Connections1vs1
DisplayPort Connections0vs-

GPU Power Requirements

Max Power275 Watts-
Recommended PSU750 Watts & 42 Amps-

GPU Features

Shader Model5.0vs5.0
Open GL4.4vs4.4
Open CL-vs-
Notebook GPUnono

GPU Supporting Hardware

Recommended ProcessorIntel Core i7-4770K 4-Core 3.5GHzvsIntel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz
Recommended RAM8 GBvs8 GB
Maximum Recommended Gaming Resolution2560x1440vs1920x1080

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

GPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewOverview
Radeon R9 290 is a High-End Graphics Card based on the First Revision of the Graphics Core Next (GCN) Architecture.

The GCN 1.1 revision of the Graphics Core Next Architecture adds new important technologies and is largely oriented for energy efficiency. New technologies such as PowerTune and TrueAudio are the biggest additions as well as DirectX 11.2 support.

It equips a GPU Codenamed Hawaii PRO which has 60 Compute Units activated and thus offers 2560 Shader Processing Units, 160 TMUs and 64 ROPs. The Central Unit is clocked at 947MHz.

The GPU accesses a 4GB frame buffer of fast GDDR5, through a 512-bit memory interface. The size of the frame buffer is adequate. The Memory Clock Operates at 1250MHz.

Power Consumption
With a rated board TDP of 275W, it requires at least a 750W PSU with one available 6-pin and one available 8-pin connectors.

Radeon R9 290 competes with GeForce GTX 780 but it proves to be slower than the latter at resolutions up to 1920x1080 but takes the lead beyond that.

System Suggestions
Radeon R9 290 is best suited for resolutions up to and including 2560x1440. We recommend a Very Strong Processor and 8GB of RAM for Optimal Performance.
Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II 2GB Edition is a special edition of the powerful Radeon HD 7870. See the standard version for more information about it.
The new features include the DirectCU II cooling solution which is 20% more effective than the reference cooler, according to Asus and a small increase in the core-clock to 1010MHz as well as in the memory clock to 1210MHz.
Benchmarks indicate almost no performance boost when compared to the standard Radeon HD 7870 and so its performance is on level with the it as the boost is beneath 1%.
All games, including demanding one's, will run on the highest settings.
Recommended CPU
Possible GPU Upgrades
GPU Variants