AMD (AMD +2.7%) has officially launched its high-end R9 290X GPU. The first reviews for the chip, which is based on powers graphics cards sporting an MSRP of $549, have been very positive.
Tom's Hardware has given the 290X its Elite award; it's the first time a graphics card has been granted the honor. Benchmarks show the 290X beating Nvidia's (NVDA -0.4%) costlier GeForce GTX 780 ($649) and Titan GPUs ($999), and faring very well in multi-monitor tests.
Nvidia recently discounted several cheaper cards to counter AMD's aggressive pricing for its new Hawaii GPUs (of which the 290X is the costliest/most powerful). TH: "Nvidia still does thermals, acoustics, and aesthetics better. But now it’s also charging a hefty premium for those luxuries."
AnandTech's review of the 290X is also upbeat, but its praise is a little more qualified. "Against NVIDIA’s pricing structure the 290X is by every definition a steal at $549 ... But with that said, although the 290X has a clear grip on performance and price it does come at the cost of power and cooling."
Like other Hawaii GPUs, the R290X supports AMD's Mantle API, which the chipmaker promises will deliver an unmatched level of hardware optimization.