AMD Radeon R9 290 On Linux
AMD unveiled the Radeon R9 290 graphics card at the beginning of November as one step down from the new flagship Radeon R9 290X graphics card. Numerous Windows reviews praised the graphics card for its great performance, but what wasn't clear at the time was how the Linux performance and compatibility was for this new $399 USD graphics card. AMD hadn't offered any review samples to Phoronix for conducting any Linux-based testing and benchmarking, but it's more clear now why that didn't happen: the Linux performance isn't stellar. I bought an XFX Radeon R9 290 and now there's many Linux benchmarks coming out of this graphics card that's riddled by what might be driver issues. I already regret having purchased the AMD Radeon R9 290 for use on Linux; the graphics card is hot, power hungry, noisy, and the OpenGL results aren't too good.
After AMD's successful Radeon R9 290X hardware launch in October, the Radeon R9 290 was announced on 5 November to much excitement. The Radeon R9 290 has 2560 Stream processors and has a 662MHz core clock, 947MHz Boost clock, and 4GB of 5GHz GDDR5 video memory with a 512-bit bus. The Radeon R9 290 "Hawaii" GPU has 160 texture unit ands 64 ROPs. Like the R9 290X, the R9 290 is considered a 28nm GCN 1.1 graphics processor and there's also TrueAudio support and many other common features shared with the R29 290X. By now you've likely ready at length about the Radeon R9 290 series so I'll leave my overview at that. The launch price for the Radeon R9 290 is $399 USD and in the days since the launch I've seen a flurry of graphics cards between the $400 USD and $450 USD price point. The XFX Radeon R9 290 being benchmarked at Phoronix was acquired for $420 USD.
When it comes to the Linux support for the Radeon R9 290/290X, there was same-day Catalyst Linux support. The binary Catalyst driver was updated in tandem with the Windows driver to ensure hardware support. In theory the Linux Catalyst driver is now at feature and performance parity to the Windows Catalyst driver, but we have certainly seen that deviate at times with much more tuning and testing being done for the Windows Catalyst driver. I won't be doing any R9 290 Linux vs. Windows benchmarks today, but I will on Phoronix in the weeks ahead; my most recent cross-OS Catalyst benchmarks can be found in AMD Gallium3D & Catalyst Drivers Compete Against Windows.
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