AMD Radeon R9 review: 270X & 280
Among these mid-range AMD GPUs we’ve tested, the R9 270X is the least expensive. This is based on the AMD Curacao XT GPU, which has 1,280 GPU cores and a stock 1GHz core speed. Moving up a notch, you have the Radeon R9 280, with its Tahiti PRO core, 1,792 GPU cores and stock 827MHz core speed.
|Card||Rating||Award||Price inc VAT||Supplier|
|Club3D Radeon R9 270X royalQueen||4||£152||Powercolor PCS+ R9 270X 2GB GDDR5||5||Best Buy||£126||www.cclonline.com|
|Sapphire Dual-X R9 280||5||Recommended||£150||www.ebuyer.com|
Club3D Radeon R9 270X & PowerColor PCS+ R9 270X
We’ve tested two cards based on the R9 270X chipset: The Club3D Radeon R9 270X and the PowerColor PCS+ R9 270X. The Club3D card has a mild tweak to its clock speed to 1,080MHz, while the PowerColor version will run up to 1,100MHz under load.
The Club3D card is more compact than PowerColor’s model; it’s 216mm long rather than 242mm, so may be easier to fit if you have a very compact case. Both cards have HDMI, DisplayPort and two DVI connectors, but one of the Club3D card’s DVI ports is only single-link, so can only support screens with a maximum 1,920×1,200 resolution. Both cards need power from two 6-pin PCI Express connectors, and the longer PowerColor card’s sockets are on the side of the card to help with fitting it in smaller cases.
Both cards have twin cooling fans, but the Club3D model is significantly noisier under load, with the fans spinning up to make quite a rushing noise, compared to the PowerColor card’s low whir.
In terms of performance, there was little to choose between the cards, but the PowerColor model had a slight edge. Both cards had no problems with the Dirt Showdown test at 1,920×1,080, managing over 75fps at maximum detail. The cards were also close in Tomb Raider at 1,920×1,080, Ultra quality and 2x SSAA, with a smooth 48.1fps from the Club3D card and 49.3fps from the PowerColor model.
The cards couldn’t manage a playable frame rate in our most challenging benchmark: Metro: Last Light Redux at 1,920×1,080, Very High detail and with SSAA enabled. In this test we saw an average of 23fps from both cards, and we had to turn off SSAA to get playable frame rates of 43fps from the Club3D card and 44fps from the PowerColor model.
The cards were even powerful enough for some gaming at higher resolutions. Dirt Showdown at 2,560×1,440 wasn’t a problem for either model with Ultra detail, and at a huge 3,840×2,160 we still saw 29.3fps from the Club3D card and 30fps from PowerColor’s model. In Tomb Raider at 2,560×1,440 with Ultra detail and 2x SSAA, we saw a just-smooth 29.9fps from the Club3D card and 30.6fps from the PowerColor.
There’s little to choose between the Club3D and PowerColor R9 270X cards in terms of performance, but the PowerColor model is quieter and is currently available for just £126, making it excellent value for a capable mid-range card and a Best Buy.
Sapphire Dual-X R9 280
We’ve tested one Radeon R9 280 card: the Sapphire Dual-X R9 280. This is a fairly long card, at 264mm, with twin cooling fans. The two six-pin PCI Express power connectors are on the side of the card, which will help you fit it in shorter cases. The card is quiet at idle but gets fairly loud under load, making a steady whoosh. You’re well covered for higher-resolution displays thanks to twin dual-link DVI outputs and DisplayPort as well as HDMI.
The R9 280 is a strong performer for the price. It had no problems with Dirt Showdown at 1,920×1,080 and 2,560×1,440 resolutions with Ultra detail, and even managed a smooth 33.8fps average at 3,840×2,160. Tomb Raider was only really a challenge with Ultra detail and 2x SSAA once we plugged the card into a 2,560×1,440 monitor, whereupon we still saw a smooth 34.9fps.
This is also the cheapest AMD card which can handle the Metro: Last Light Redux benchmark at 1,920x,1080 with Very High detail and SSAA enabled. In this test the card managed a just-playable 29fps, but the frame rate did drop as low as 18fps in the toughest parts of the benchmark. The game ran beautifully at a 50fps average once we turned off SSAA. Even at 2,560×1,440, we only had to drop the quality setting to High and disable SSAA to see a smooth 44fps.
If you want to play the most challenging games at maximum detail, and less-demanding titles at higher-than-1080p resolutions, the Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 is the cheapest way to do it. The more expensive MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G is slightly quicker and quieter, so may be worth the extra £20 if noise levels are important to you, but the Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 is hard to beat for sheer performance value. However, if you plan on gaming at 1,920×1,080 you’ll be fine with the cheaper PowerColor Radeon R9 270X, and those with 2,560×1,440 screens would be better off finding another £35 for the XFX Radeon R9 280X.
|Model||Radeon R9 270X royalQueen||PCS+ R9 270X 2GB GDDR5||Dual-X R9 280|
|Slots taken up||2||2||2|
|GPU||AMD Radeon R9 270X||AMD Radeon R9 270X||AMD Radeon R9 280|
|GPU clock speed||1,080MHz||1,100MHz||940MHz|
|Memory||2GB GDDR5||2GB GDDR5||3GB GDDR5|
|Max memory bandwidth||182.4GB/s||240GB/s|
|Graphics card length||216mm||242mm||264mm|
|Mini HDMI outputs||0||0||0|
|Mini DisplayPort outputs||0||0||0|
|Power leads required||2x 6-pin PCI Express||2x 6-pin PCI Express||2x 6-pin PCI Express|
|Accessories||None||DVI to VGA adaptor||DisplayPort cable, 2x Molex to 6-pin PCI Express adaptors|
|Price including VAT||£152||£126||£150|
|Warranty||Two years RTB||Two years RTB||Two years RTB|
|Part code||CGAX-R927X6F||AXR9 270X 2GBD5-PPDHE||11230-00-20G|
Radeon R9 270X review | Eurogamer.net
It’s clear AMD has a big game plan. Not content with being the supplier of the core hardware found in both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it has also announced an intriguing alternative to the DirectX 11 API — named Mantle — to give exclusive performance benefits across its Graphics Core Next-based cards. Mantle seeks to outperform the DirectX 11 standard by offering low-level access to AMD graphics technology, with Battlefield 4 the first game to utilise it.
However, this is only one side of a double-pronged assault. AMD’s 7000-series graphics tech is being renewed. We’ve already looked at the R9 280X and now the focus shifts to the R9 270X — a mid-range card at the heart of a new generation of GPUs using this very architecture. Launching at around £160, according to AMD, the card aims to usurp Nvidia’s GTX 660 for performance-per-pound in the same space. However, with AMD’s attention so divided between multiple projects this year, can this be taken as the company’s definitive response to Nvidia Kepler cards at this price?
As touched on in our R9 280X review, the nomenclature of AMD’s cards has gone through a vexing change. In basic terms, the R9 series — into which this 270X card falls — is intended for an enthusiast audience looking to chase gaming performance at up to 2560×1440. Meanwhile the R7 bracket caters for buyers spending around the £100 mark on a card capable of achieving 1080p in most games. But of course, this is mostly about branding categories, and when we turn to the specifics of the hardware itself it’s apparent we’re looking at a very familiar PCB design here.
Indeed, the R9 270X’s specs give us an acute sense of déjà vu, Just as the R9 280X builds off the Tahiti chipset seen in the HD 7970, the silicon of the R9 270X is in fact the same as the Pitcairn XT-based HD 7870 of last year. However, while the components are identical, this refresh actually introduces some impactful changes over its predecessor. For starters, the core clock goes up from 1000MHz to 1050MHz, while more crucially the memory clock gets a boost up from 4.8GHz effective to 5.6GHz. It’s a bigger mix-up than we see with the higher-end 280X, which remains faithful in most ways to its original incarnation as released early last year.
It’s this latter boost that ties in nicely with the push for 2560×1440 resolutions in the R9 series. The 256-bit memory interface stays the same as before, and so the card’s memory bandwidth benefits from an upward spike to 179.2GB/s (up from 153.6 GB/s on the HD 7870). In terms of RAM, it’s also now possible to buy the card with a whopping 4GB configuration of GDDR5 memory, better future-proofing you for the arrival of next-gen console — though for review purposes our focus is on the more competitively priced 2GB model.
Physical dimensions of the card are mostly a match for its forebear, measuring in at just over 24cm in length, which makes it among the bulkier mid-range GPUs in the market. You’ll also need to fill two 6-pin power connectors on top to give it juice, while to its end we have two DVI ports, a DisplayPort and a HDMI input. Sadly, the TrueAudio sound processing features announced for the R7 260X aren’t included in this model, being tied to the GCN 1.1 architecture revision of the Bonaire chipset. That said, following many requests, we can now hook three monitors up to the card without resorting to the DisplayPort — the proviso being that your monitors must be matching (in order for the timings of the DVI controller to be in sync), and that each of these be active during the PC’s boot-up.
Turning the PC on, the heat output of the card reads at 29 Celsius while idle on desktop; a good start that shows AMD’s ZeroCore technology is still at play to automatically scale clock speeds by demand. Finding the peak temperatures of the R9 270X is easy enough too, and with an hour’s worth of repeat 1080p runs through the Metro Last Light benchmark at very high settings, our monitoring software gives us 75 degrees Celsius as its maximum. This falls in line with our HD 7870 readings, which doesn’t give terribly much head-room for a serious core overclock. Given that the clocks have already been raised on the manufacturer side for the newer card, it’s been necessary to raise the thermal design power (TDP) limit of the device slightly from 175W to 180W also.
Next up, we take Crysis 3 for a spin to test actual gameplay performance. Before we start, our AMD Catalyst drivers are fully updated to the latest 13.11 beta revision, and we have the card installed to a PC equipped with an Intel i7-3770k processor clocked at 4. 3GHz per core, plus 16GB of DDR3 RAM operating at 1600MHz. This is the standard setup for our benchmark tests below too, and where Nvidia cards are involved, we have the latest 327.23 drivers installed.
«Our Crysis 3 gameplay stress test proves to be just too much for the Radeon R9 270X — 60fps is off the table at both resolutions, and we’d recommend capping to 30fps for a more consistent experience.»
Crysis 3 running on a stock R9 270X, using high settings/very high textures, with v-sync engaged, and a pass of 2x SMAA. It’s a rocky road for the card at both 1080p and 1440p, where the lower resolution trills between 40 and 60fps while in the thick of the jungles. Meanwhile, a lock at 30fps is the best bet for judder-free 1440p gameplay at this graphics setting.
Rather than simply crank all of Crysis 3’s settings to maximum, which enormously impacts performance on all but the most high-end cards, instead we go with the next setting down. High settings and very high textures still give our card a thorough work-out, especially during grassy areas of the Welcome to the Jungle mission. Sub-pixel morphological anti-aliasing (thankfully abbreviated to SMAA) is engaged to treat the image’s rough edges at minimal expense — the multi-sampling alternative being far too costly at 1080p and 2560×1440 resolutions.
The results are impressive, but CryEngine 3 does find a way to eat up the card’s abundance of processing power, resulting in uneven playback at either resolution. The long and short of it is that those with a 2560×1440 monitor hooked up have to consider making some sacrifices with the R9 270X. Even with the card’s respectable fill-rate, the frame-rate at these settings is truly stable only with a 30fps cap present. Meanwhile, the 1080p side gives us a smoother ride overall while shooting around the derelict train station area, but it’s still shy of the consistent 60fps mark. Alas, the only we can hit this target is by dropping general settings to medium.
Of course, Crysis 3 is an anomaly in the PC gaming scene in terms of making these high technical demands, while most other games far exceed this rate of performance. Taking our benchmark tests below as an example, all of which aim to stress the card at the highest settings possible, games like Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite show it’s possible for the card to deliver 2560×1440 at full-fat 60fps. In our four-way tests, we pit the R9 270X against its arch-rival from Nvidia, the GTX 660, and also see if tweaks to its core and memory clocks have amounted to a tangible improvement over the HD 7870.
«These mid-range cards tend to be sold as offering the full 1080p experience with max settings — which is fine if you’re happy with 30fps gaming on some key titles. Realistic settings tweaks offer much the same experience with much higher performance.»
Here we have the R9 270X pitted against its forerunner, the Radeon HD 7870, plus its direct market competitors, Nvidia’s GTX 660 and GTX 760. These are each demanding 1080p benchmark tests, where all settings at maximum in games like Sleeping Dogs and Bioshock Infinite to show the worst case scenario.
|1920×1080||R9 270X||Radeon HD 7870||GTX 660||GTX 760|
|BioShock Infinite, DX11 Ultra DDOF||55.0fps||52.2fps||52.3fps||68.8fps|
|Tomb Raider, Ultra, FXAA||74.2fps||71.1fps||60.1fps||77.5fps|
|Metro 2033, Very High, 4x MSAA||31.4fps||28.5fps||25.8fps||31.2fps|
|Metro: Last Light, Very High, SSAA||24.1fps||22.6fps||21.4fps||27.7fps|
|Hitman: Absolution, Ultra, 8x MSAA||30.8fps||29.2fps||22.8fps||30.1fps|
|Sleeping Dogs, Extreme||36.9fps||35.4fps||32.5fps||42.5fps|
Of all the benchmark tests in our roster, perhaps the most revealing of AMD’s strengths is Hitman: Absolution — a game apparently optimised specifically for its GPUs. The benchmark route takes each GPU’s memory bandwidth to the absolute brink on ultra settings at 8x MSAA, where hundreds of NPCs flock around a fireworks display as the camera slowly pans past. The end result for the R9 270X is one which beats out the HD 7870 and even the GTX 760 by a constant margin of 2fps at its peak — a surprise given the latter card’s higher £175 price point. Faring the worst of the bunch is the GTX 660, which falls behind by 8fps on average owing in part to its fewer 24 render output units (ROPs), compared to the 32 available on the other three cards as well as the more constricted memory interface.
Metro Last Light proves to be a similar burden on all cards, but the outlook is much more positive for games like Tomb Raider. In all these tests we avoid engaging v-sync to allow each card to hit maximum theoretical performance, where usually each would squash up to the 60fps ceiling. Lara Croft’s latest reboot shows us how a massive action game can run at above this refresh on every card — where the R9 270X actually runs at a 23 per cent advantage over the GTX 660.
In terms of comparisons with the HD 7870, the core and memory clock boosts show their greatest practical gains in Tomb Raider with a 3fps average lead. It’s barely noticeable in practise for most other games, and when considering the HD 7870 is a cheaper card at present too, the gains can’t really be seen as worth the extra expense of £15. On the other hand, the GTX 760 dominates the results tables, as far as 1080p play goes — though this lead narrows at 2560×1440.
Running at this higher resolution with graphics settings a notch lower, we see the GTX 760 push ahead of AMD’s cards in almost every test — even winning by a matter of 7fps in Bioshock Infinite at very high settings. Hitman: Absolution is again the exception to the rule in these metrics, being a real memory bandwidth monster at 8x MSAA in tandem with this resolution, which forces the GTX 660 to an all-time lowest rate of 14fps. Other tests, such as Metro Last Light with its quality settings and tessellation enabled in full, tend to bring all cards down to an indistinguishable tussle for 20fps — though again the GTX 760 heads the pack, with the R9 270X in second, and the GTX 660 trailing by the widest margin.
«Memory and clock upgrades give the R9 270X a boost against its Radeon HD 7870 forebear, but it’s perhaps still a little too close to justify the rebranding.»
Cranking the resolution up to 1440p shows whether the R9 270X can put its heightened memory bandwidth to good use. We lower each game’s settings by one notch, and find the performance gap is wider than when compared to the HD 7870 during our 1080p tests.
|2560×1440||R9 270X||Radeon HD 7870||GTX 660||GTX 760|
|BioShock Infinite, DX11 Very High||54.8fps||50.8fps||46.6fps||61.0fps|
|Tomb Raider, High, FXAA||66.2fps||59.9fps||51.3fps||76.4fps|
|Metro 2033, High, 4x MSAA/AAA||24.1fps/ 27.3fps||20.1fps/ 23.0fps||20.7fps/ 26.1fps||25.0fps/ 29.7fps|
|Metro: Last Light, High, No SSAA||44. 8fps||43.0fps||36.7fps||34.5fps|
|Hitman: Absolution, High, 8x MSAA/2x MSAA||21.7fps/ 39.2fps||20.2fps/ 36.9fps||14.0fps/ 28.9fps||20.3fps/ 40.2fps|
|Sleeping Dogs, High||44.3fps||42.8fps||37.9fps||49.5fps|
All in all, our assessment of AMD’s latest mid-range entry boils down to timing and price — and the wild card that is the upcoming Mantle API. Right now there’s no escaping the fact that the soon-to-be discontinued HD 7870 serves up very comparable performance figures at 1080p to the R9 270X, with the latter card selling for a premium due to a simple mixture of what seems to be upclocked hardware. The figures are as you’d expect given the two cards use precisely the same Pitcairn XT chipset, where the clock boost on the R9 270X does little to distinguish the card from its predecessor at this resolution.
But that’s not the whole story; where gaming at 2560×1440 is concerned, the bump of 800MHz to the R9 270X’s effective memory clock amounts to a considerable frame-rate uptick. This advantage can be narrowed on the HD 7870 through a likewise overclock, but the difference does mitigate the newer card’s price hike of £15 overall — albeit only if you intend to crank up the pixel count to that point. Otherwise, the added bonus of AMD’s ongoing silver Never Settle promotion is only applicable for HD 7870 buyers as of writing, meaning there’s essentially two games in the offing if you can grab one before stocks deplete.
There’s no doubt that the R9 270X has a lot going in its favour, especially in its competition with Nvidia’s mid-range cards. It’s no GTX 760 beater based on current evidence, where almost every test outside of Hitman: Absolution favours the Kepler GPU, but the fact it can compete with a more expensive card like this speaks to its value. Meanwhile, the cheaper GTX 660 is comprehensively outperformed in benchmarks, and with a price cut deep enough in the coming months, the R9 270X will count as a clear recommendation. At the moment, the cheapest R9 270X is around £20 cheaper than the least expensive GTX 760, so while the new AMD contender is reasonably priced, there’s not the more appealing price/performance win that we saw with the R9 280X. Instead, what we have here is a well-priced card that sits comfortably in its price zone, but doesn’t come across as an outright bargain at launch pricing.
But with this yearly update being very slight in actual hardware change, our eyes are fixed on the advantages Mantle might bring comes its debut — arriving via a free update to Battlefield 4 in December. With a stated 9x increase in draw calls, a streamlined conversion process for games developed on next-gen consoles, and a deeper utilisation of GCN-compatible hardware, it’s possible future metrics could start veering heavily in favour of Radeon cards. If so, the relatively lacklustre improvements we’re seeing across the R7 and R9 rebranding this year might be justified, and now would be a perfect time to consider a GPU upgrade in that direction.
Choosing an AMD Radeon R9 270X graphics card: a review of 12 models
Table of contents
- Radeon R9 270X lineup
- AMD Radeon R9 270X
- Asus Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II TOP
- Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X OC
- MSI Radeon R9 270X Gaming 2G
- MSI Radeon R9 270X Hawk
- PowerColor Radeon R9 270X PCS+
- PowerColor Radeon R9 270X TurboDuo
- PowerColor Radeon R9 270X Devil
- Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Dual-X
- Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Toxic
- Sapphire Radeon R9 270X Vapor-X
- XFX Radeon R9 270X Double Dissipation
- Characteristics of tested graphics cards
- Performance Radeon R9 270X
The Overclockers. ru laboratory continues the cycle of materials devoted to the choice of game graphics accelerators. Previously, we already got acquainted with the Radeon R9 lines280(X) and Nvidia GeForce GTX 760, but now we will talk about a more budget solution.
Announced in the fall of 2013, the AMD Radeon R9 270X graphics card turned out to be an interesting model, since it is able to provide comfortable performance in Full HD resolution at close to maximum graphics settings. AMD’s aggressive pricing policy, which manifested itself in the cost of new items at $ 169 today, and balanced technical characteristics, which made graphics accelerators based on the AMD Curacao XT GPU a real hit, also affected here.
Radeon R9 270X lineup
In the previous article, which featured AMD graphics solutions, a part of the Radeon R9 280 / R9 280X range was considered. In fact, we have touched only the tip of the iceberg, because only the most popular and commercially available versions were included in the list of participants. Now, accelerators from the AMD Curacao XT family are next in line.
AMD Radeon R9 270X
Description on the manufacturer’s website — link.
As usual, we start with the reference adapter. The graphics card Radeon R9 270X received a recognizable design thanks to the original casing of the cooling system.
Additional power is supplied by two six-pin connectors on the edge of the PCB that are easy to access. And for image output, a set of interfaces is provided, which includes the usual two DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI.
An AMD CrossFireX connector is located near the interface panel, which allows you to combine two video cards into a single configuration using the appropriate bridge. This makes it possible to increase the processing power in those applications or games that support this technology.
The cooling system is simple and does not shine with technical frills. At the base is a combined heatsink, made up of a copper base and heat pipes, and aluminum fins. It is not tightly connected to the cooling plate, so a universal water block can be easily installed on the printed circuit board.
The GPU heatsink consists of several parts. The main one is a copper insert, quite thick, in its center there are three heat pipes in the grooves: the thickness of the central tube is 8 mm, the side ones are 6 mm. Alas, the total area of dispersion remained small.
The design of the PCB is a symbiosis of the electronic parts of the HD 7870 reference version and the vertical arrangement of the HD 6870 power phases. It’s safe to say that AMD has completely redesigned the PCB, changing all the footprints. And most importantly, DrMOS chips remained as power. Thus, this is almost the only video card priced at $200 at the time of the announcement with a high-quality power supply.
Chil CHL8225G GPU power phase PWM controller, it supports up to five phases. The compatibility list contains the communication protocol between the program and the voltage VID values, which gives the user access to change the voltage of the GPU.
The AMD Radeon R9 270X reference model with the reference cooling system was overclocked from 1050 MHz to 1150 MHz in the core and from 1400 MHz to 1600 MHz in the memory without adjusting the voltage.
The video card is quieter than its predecessor Radeon HD 7870, but hotter.
Asus Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II TOP
Description on the manufacturer’s website — link.
Asus Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II TOP vs Reference Radeon R9270X is a completely unique development, because it inherited only the graphics core, video memory modules and a set of external interfaces from the reference video card.
Everything else, from the design of the printed circuit board to the design of the cooling system, is the company’s own development of engineers.
The cooler consists of a fairly large radiator, in the structure of which 42 aluminum plates are used, and two fans with an impeller diameter of 75 mm, mounted on a casing that covers the entire structure from above.
Three copper heat pipes with a diameter of 8 mm are used to evenly distribute heat over the entire area of the radiator. Some of the memory chips are in contact with the base through a thermal interface.
The heat pipes are firmly seated on the plates, but the desired traces of soldering are not found. The contact point itself is prepared and processed well, but not perfectly. The surface is rough, and there is a millimeter gap of aluminum between the copper tubes.
A plastic casing with fans is attached to the top of the radiator. It uses Everflow T128010SH turntables with 12 V, 0.25 A specifications.
The printed circuit board is made on a black textolite and received a layout of elements similar to the reference version, but is completely the company’s own development.
The video card is powered by a reinforced eight-phase circuit (six phases for the GPU and one for the memory chips and PLL), which is one more phase in the GPU power circuit than the reference model.
The power subsystem of the graphics core is implemented on a digital PWM controller DIGI + VRM ASP1211 with its own marking, which has often been found on other Asus video cards.
The reverse side of the printed circuit board, with the exception of the fixing screws of the cooling system and an additional stiffener on the upper edge of the PCB, is practically devoid of significant components, since the PWM controller and memory chips are located on its front side in accordance with the reference design.
With automatic fan speed control in the maximum load mode, the graphics core heated up to 66 degrees, and the cooler, judging by the monitoring readings, worked at only 48% of its maximum power. Subjectively, the noise level can be described as «average».
Without increasing the voltage, we managed to achieve stable operation at a frequency of 1225 MHz for the core and 1500 MHz for the memory, which can not be called a record overclocking. It’s all about the software method of voltage control. Perhaps this has been fixed in the newer versions of the utilities.
You can get acquainted with the review of this video card in the material «Review and testing of the video card Asus Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II TOP».
Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X OC
Description on the manufacturer’s website — link.
The next participant is the brainchild of Gigabyte, from which we expect new delights.
The design of the graphics adapter inspires respect: you immediately feel that we have a high-level graphics card in front of us. The entire front part of the PCB is covered by a huge cooler from the proprietary WindForce 3X series. Despite the fact that the Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X OC is lower than the Gigabyte Radeon R9 280X Overclock Edition in the hierarchy of AMD Volcanic Islands video accelerators, the manufacturer still equipped it with a rather massive cooling system.
The length of the novelty is as much as 298 mm, which in certain cases may cause compatibility problems with other components, in particular, with some modern cases.
The cooling system consists of a main cooler with a shroud attached to it, as well as a small aluminum heatsink that removes heat from the power section of the GPU power subsystem.
Structurally, the cooler’s heat sink consists of three sections with fins of different sizes, which are seated on two copper heat pipes. The diameter of each of them is 8 mm, due to which faster heat transfer from the GPU to the heat spreader fins is carried out.
Not even a casing is attached to the top of the radiator, but rather a plastic frame with three fans. All three turntables are the same — this is Everflow T128010SM with technical characteristics of 12 V, 0.2 A. Their diameter is the usual 74 mm.
In the middle, the AMD Curacao graphics processor is wired — the heir to Pitcairn, which was installed on Radeon HD 78X0 video cards.
The power supply system responsible for the key components of the video card is made according to an enhanced scheme — 6 + 1 + 1 (for GPU, PLL and memory chips, respectively).
The popular IR3567A made by International Rectifier is a PWM controller. It can control eight phases, has all kinds of protections, has a built-in algorithm for dynamic switching on and off of phases depending on the load, and also supports I2C / SMBus / PMBus interfaces for monitoring temperature, supply voltage, current and power consumption.
Despite the factory overclock, the temperature readings in automatic mode are at an excellent level, barely reaching 61°C, but the noise level let us down. Everything falls on the shoulders of the user, giving him (as they say, cards in hand) the ability to manually adjust the speed of rotation of the fan impeller.
The voltage on the GPU could not be regulated, for this reason this instance only overclocked to 1230 MHz for the core and 1600 MHz for the memory.
Even taking into account the colossal size, which can scare off potential buyers, the video card turned out to be interesting. We recommend reading «Review and testing of the video card Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X OC».
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MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G video card review and testing GECID.com. Page 1
> MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G
We continue our acquaintance with the new series of AMD Radeon R9 graphics cards200 on the example of a game model from Micro-Star International Co., Ltd. We invite you to evaluate the capabilities of the adapter based on AMD Radeon R9 270X, namely the MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G model. This graphics card belongs to the «Gaming G-series», which includes graphics accelerators and motherboards aimed at gamers and overclockers, as they have high-quality and reliable components, as well as wide overclocking capabilities.
MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G
AMD Radeon R9 270X
Technical process, nm
Number of universal shader processors
Technology and API support
AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD App Acceleration, DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, AMD Mantle, AMD CrossFire, AMD Eyefinity, AMD HD3D
Rated / dynamic frequency of the graphics core in different operating modes, MHz
1030 / 1120
1030 / 1080
1030 / 1050
Memory frequency (effective), MHz
Memory size, GB
Memory bus width, bit
PCI Express 3. 0 x16
Image output interfaces
1 x DVI-I
1 x DVI-D
1 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
Additional PCIe power connectors
2 x 6-pin
Minimum power supply, W
Dimensions from the official website (measured in our test lab), mm
260 x 129 (271 x 130)
Latest drivers can be downloaded from MSI website or GPU manufacturer website
Micro-Star International Co. Ltd.
All prices for MSI+R9+270X+GAMING+2G
From the specification table, it can be seen that MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G has three graphics core modes: OC, Gaming and Silent. Switching between them is done using the MSI Gaming App utility, which comes with the video card.
Packaging and contents
The novelty is sold in black and red packaging with a stylized dragon image. On the front side there are: a mark about the presence of factory overclocking, a note that this graphics accelerator belongs to the “G-series gaming”, as well as a recommendation from the Fnatic esports team.
On the side there are some specifications of the graphics adapter in different languages, including Russian. The main features of MSI R9 are also listed on different sides of the package.270X GAMING 2G:
- full support for 3DMark benchmark for performance verification;
- the presence of two independent BIOS chips;
- using the MSI Gaming App utility, which allows you to switch between three GPU dynamic frequency modes, as well as temporarily set the graphics card fan speed to 70%;
- support for the proprietary Twin Frozr IV Advanced cooling system, which includes Propeller Blade fans, SuperPipe heat pipes and Airflow Control heatsink design;
- use of the highest quality components according to the Military Class 4 concept: Hi-C CAP tantalum capacitors, Solid CAP solid capacitors and ferrite core coils;
- Presence of MSI Predator utility, which is a free universal software for capturing video and static images from games or operating system desktop.
Inside the box, the graphics accelerator is securely fixed with foam and wrapped in an antistatic film. This type of packaging allows you to safely transport the MSI R9270X GAMING 2G. We also note its high information content, as well as aesthetically pleasing design.
The delivery set of the tested video card includes:
- two Molex-to-6-pin PCIe adapters;
- DVI to D-Sub adapter;
- CD with software and drivers;
- quick start guide.
Interestingly, the kit includes two adapters for 6-pin PCIe power connectors. But what may not be enough for some users is the AMD CrossFireX bridge for combining two video cards in one configuration. However, its absence is intended to reduce the final cost of the novelty, because not everyone buys it with the thought of the AMD CrossFireX mode.
MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G uses the following set of interfaces to display images:
- 1 x DVI-I;
- 1 x DVI-D;
- 1 x HDMI;
- 1 x DisplayPort.
This set of ports, as well as the presence of a DVI-D-Sub adapter in the kit, will allow you to connect almost any modern monitor or TV and immediately switch to the active use of the novelty.
Appearance and element base
The front side of the video card has the same black and red design as the older model MSI R9 280X GAMING 3G. The graphics accelerator is 271 mm long and 130 mm high, so it will easily fit in many middle tower cases.
There is no protective plate or additional heatsink on the back of the PCB. A notable feature is that the controller of the power subsystem is placed here.
Looking at the MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G from above, you can see the strengthening power plate, heat pipes of the cooling system and auxiliary power connectors. Also here you can see the BIOS chip switch, which we will discuss below.
Now let’s remove the cooling system and evaluate the appearance of the PCB. Its height is 122 mm; high-quality black textolite is used. This graphics accelerator uses a reliable element base in accordance with the proprietary Military Class 4 concept: solid-state and tantalum capacitors, as well as chokes with ferrite cores.
The GPU power subsystem is made according to a 6-phase scheme. Note that the board has seats for two more phases. A new IR 3563B chip from the American company International Rectifier is used as a controller. It can control up to eight power phases.
To power the MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G, in addition to the PCI Express x16 slot, two 6-pin connectors are also used. Connecting connectors is convenient, and nothing prevents this process.
There is also a switch between the two BIOS chips nearby. A very useful feature in case of problems during the upgrade, which allows you to instantly switch to a working configuration.
An AMD CrossFireX connector is located in the corner of the circuit board, which allows you to combine video cards and increase the performance of the graphics subsystem. Note that unlike the older model (MSI R9 280X GAMING 3G), this mode supports a maximum of two graphics accelerators.
At the back of the PCB are pads for measuring voltage with a multimeter. This feature is useful for obtaining more accurate readings during extreme overclocking.
The MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G is based on the AMD Radeon R9 270X graphics chip, identified as «Pitcairn» by GPU-Z 0.7.3 utility. It is produced according to the standards of the 28-nm process technology, consists of 1280 universal shader pipelines, 32 rasterization units and 80 texture units.
Rated clock frequency is defined as 1120MHz, which is the maximum dynamic frequency of MSI Gaming App’s OC mode.
The graphics accelerator memory has a capacity of 2 GB. It was typed using 8 ELPIDA W2032BBBG-6A-F chips with a capacity of 256 MB each. These microcircuits operate at an effective frequency of 5600 MHz, and data exchange between the memory and the graphics chip is carried out via a 256-bit bus.
The MSI R9 270X GAMING 2G adopts Twin Frozr IV Advanced cooling system, which occupies two expansion slots together with the PCB. It consists of two main parts: active and passive.
The active part is a plastic casing on which two large fans are fixed. They are separated by a partition, which prevents the interaction of air flows and increases the efficiency of blowing.
The Power Logic PLD10010S12HH propellers used have a blade diameter of 94mm and a slightly curved shape called the «Propeller Blade». This design creates a stronger airflow compared to classic design turntables. They also have a longer service life, as evidenced by the inscription «Long life bearing».
The passive part is a large heatsink that uses the Airflow Control design for better airflow. Heat is removed from the GPU using four heat pipes: one 8 mm and three 6 mm.
The heatpipes are soldered to both the GPU contact pad and the heatsink fins. They are also nickel-plated to maintain the efficiency of the cooling system throughout its life.
The power elements of the power subsystem and memory chips are covered with a metal plate that performs two functions at once. The first is the removal and dissipation of heat, and the second is the protection of the printed circuit board from deformation. To improve the contact, special thermal pads were used.
Now, after evaluating the appearance, let’s move on to testing the effectiveness of this cooling system. For these purposes, we will use the proprietary MSI Kombustor utility.
MSI Afterburner was used to monitor sensor performance. With automatic fan speed control, in the maximum load mode, the GPU heated up to 68ºС. The cooler worked at only 24% of its maximum speed. Its noise level can be described as «quiet», and it was indeed very comfortable for extended use.
After we set the fan speed to 100%, the GPU temperature dropped to 56°C.