There is a big thing going on right now at Tom's Hardware and Tech Report and our readers appear to have joined the fun. It turns out that a couple of Tom’s Hardware guys, our buddies Chris Angelini and Igor Wallossek, have found out that the retail Radeon R9 290X runs much slower than the press card everyone got.
We are in the middle of the Radeon R9 290X testing against an Nvidia card that is launching tomorrow and we have also noticed that Radeon R9 290X performance fluctuates. Tom's and Techreport have reported that the clock speed goes down to just 727MHz in some instances.
We can confirm that our card during testing went down as low as 744MHz, sometimes even less, but only in normal bios mode. In Uber mode it would be much more constant at around 1000MHz scoring 16 percent faster score Sleeping dog game and 2560x1600. You can check our scores here.
As you can see in our graph, in Normal mode the card worked under 800MHz most of the time and quickly reached 94 degrees Celsius. The picture below shows that in the same game, Sleeping Dogs, the card worked at around 900+ MHz, reaching its maximum temperature of 95 degrees Celsius relatively quickly.
For larger picture click here.
Tom’s Hardware tested a retail card and found a huge performance gap which could indicate that they got a card that could not kick in Uber mode, had a faulty, wrong BIOS, or worse. Of course the worst case scenario would be that the press cards were intentionally meant to be faster than the retail cards, and having retail cards running as much as 20 percent slower than press cards would point to one of the biggest feats of cheating of all times, at least as far as the GPU industry goes.
Tech Report got a reply from AMD that they are investigating the issue, they say Tom’s results are “uncharacteristic” got and that there will be a driver update to minimize the fluctuations. AMD promised to send an update shortly and we will try to get to the bottom of it.
We have tried to get a hold of a retail card, but needless to say, they are impossible to get in our region, they are sold out. We urge our readers to test 3Dmark or any other game if they got Radeon R9 290X and email it to us, or leave in comments. We want to compare our scores with your scores to try to get to the bottom of this.