GeForce GTX 980 vs Radeon R9 290X - Should I upgrade?

Published by Hiwa Pouri on 26.02.15
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First of all we have a quick chat about prices. These days a AMD Radeon R9 290X costs 320 Euro. Compare that to the 495 Euro you'd have to pay for the cheapest reference GTX 980 you can find and you’ll notice the GTX 980 is about 55 percent more expensive.

To dive a bit deeper into the results, we start with performance differences in 3DMark graphics score where we see that the GTX 980 is 16 percent quicker in FireStrike Performance, 21 percent in Extreme and 12 percent when running FireStrike Ultra. In the next theoretical test we ran, Unigine Heaven, we see that the GTX 980 is less than 15 percent quicker in 1080p, 11 percent when running 1440p and 5 percent using our 2160p preset. In the case of games it turns out that the performance differences highly depend on the resolution combined with detail level. When running 1080p resolution we see that the GTX 980 is faster in all 13 games we have in our charts but not by much. One game that shows significant difference is GRID Autosport, where the GTX 980 is about 77 percent faster than the R9 290X in 1080p, 37 percent in 1440p and checking 2160p we find 28 percent difference. Having a closer look at Metro Last Light at 1080p shows 39 percent, 28 percent when1440p and the GTX 980 is about 30 percent quicker in 2160. A closer look at Assasins Creed Unity reveals a 27 percent gap in 1080p, 16 percent in 1440p and 50 percent in 2160p. Apart from that it’s the same story for Far Cry 4, where the difference in UHD is 86 percent. For most of  the other games at 1080p and 1440p the GTX 980 is about 20 percent ahead and there is nice 25 percent difference in 2160.

The only games we can't see a lot of difference are Borderlands - The Pre-Sequel, Tomb Raider and Watch Dogs where the GTX 980 is about 2 to 8 percent quicker than R9 290X on average over all resolutions.

Overall the R9 290X isn't performing too bad, and there is no doubt that the older generation of high-end AMD cards still packs some serious punch. Since it's rather clear that the old generation can not run games smoothly in UHD it was still interesting to see how the R9 290X stacks up against the GTX 980. Last but no least we also had a look at power consumption and we noticed that the test system with R9 290X  burns 35 percent more power. Under load the difference shoots up to a whopping 59 percent.

If you’re thinking about upgrading from a R9 290X to a GTX 980 we can tell you that this only makes sense if you’re planning on playing games at ultra high resolutions. In all other scenarios the R9 290X  is still a seriously quick graphics card and more than capable of pumping out high frame rates especially at 1080p. Apart from that you should also take into account that the GTX 980 is 55 percent more expensive than the R9 290X when we compare retail prices. Keep that in mind when you see that even at UHD the performance difference is roughly 25%.

Page 1 - Test Setup Page 11 - Thief
Page 2 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - GRID Autosport
Page 3 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 4 - Borderlands - The Pre-Sequel Page 14 - Metro Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 4 Page 15 - Assassin's Creed Unity
Page 6 - Watch Dogs Page 16 - Far Cry 4
Page 7 - Tomb Raider Page 17 - Power Consumption
Page 8 - Sniper Elite 3 Page 6 - Prices
Page 9 - Crysis 3 Page 19 - Performance Index
Page 10 - Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Page 20 - Conclusion

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GeForce GTX 980 vs Radeon R9 290X - Should I upgrade? - Graphics cards Should I Upgrade? - Reviews - ocaholic