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ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Review

ccokeman    -   March 9, 2014
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ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing:

Testing of the ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP and R9 270 DirectCU II OC will consist of running them and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 334.69 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 14.1 beta drivers. The results generated in my testing were reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards.

 

Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

 

Overclocking:

  • ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP : Core 1170MHz,  Memory 1700MHz
  • ASUS R9 270 DirectCU II OC : Core 1220MHz, Memory 1604MHz

 

First let's talk about the R9 280X DirectCU II TOP. Overclocking Tahiti-based silicon, like we get with the R9 280X DirectCU II TOP, does not change much for this generation when you look at the usual clock speed envelope that the cores traditionally end up reaching. Looking backwards, the R9 280X DirectCU II TOP actually delivers better clock speeds than the HD 7970 DirectCU II I looked at in late 2012. You can use any one of the many utilities available online to reach the best compromise between performance, thermals, and noise, but why not use what ASUS has put together in the GPU Tweak software package. TOP series cards from ASUS traditionally have binned cores that sometimes seem limited in their clock speed potential, even though out of the box, they come with much improved baseline clock speeds.

To reach the fully stable 1170MHz core clock, I set the core voltage to 1300mv in GPU Tweak and started raising the core clock speed until my testing failed, and then backed off 10MHz. At 1170MHz, it still leaves performance on the table when compared to Sapphire Toxic edition, but it takes time and the luck of the draw to bin cards that high. Considering this card comes with a 1070MHz baseline core clock speed increase of 100MHz, or just under 10% improvement in clock speed, is not a stretch expectation. From the factory, the memory clock speed is running at 1600MHz. Boosting up the clock speed on the GDDR5 memory was accomplished using the same process as on the Tahiti core and essentially delivered an identical 100MHz boost in memory clock speed improvement for your time and effort. These are not the highest clock speeds I have seen on a Tahiti-based card, but do offer up another level of performance if you spend the time to work for it.

Now looking at the R9 270 DirectCU II OC, I found that GPU Tweak ultimately limited the clock speed of the card to 1100MHz on the core and 1600MHz on the memory. GPU Tweak usually has all the tools you need to monitor and overclock your GPU, but in the latest version I was limited in the maximum clock speeds I could set, even after digging through the settings menu. I was simply capped at 1100MHz on the core and 1600MHz on the GDDR5 memory. For the R9 270 DirectCU II OC, I used a combination of GPU Tweak to set the voltage parameters and Afterburner to adjust the clock speed higher than the limits in GPU Tweak. Hey, it's all about finding out what works best. By setting the voltage to the maximum level of 1190mv, I was able to boost the clock speed on the Pitcairn-based R9 270 DirectCU II OC to 1220MHz, or over 20% higher than its 975MHz baseline clock speed setting. The memory speed was not quite as flexible, but still was able to deliver a 104MHz increase over the 1500MHz baseline. If the R9 270 DirectCU II OC does not give you enough performance up front, then overclocking margin is there for that extra few frames.

 

 

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for thirty minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were re-run until they passed a full hour of testing.

 

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  3. Bioshock Infinite
  4. Crysis 3
  5. Far Cry 3
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  8. Batman: Arkham Origins
  9. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  10. 3DMark
  11. Ultra HD

 

  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption



  1. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Introduction & Closer Look
  2. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Closer Look: The Video Card
  4. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Specifications & Features
  5. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  6. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Metro: Last Light
  7. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  8. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Bioshock Infinite
  9. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Crysis 3
  10. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Far Cry 3
  11. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Battlefield 4
  12. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  13. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Batman: Arkham Origins
  14. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Unigine Heaven 4.0
  15. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: 3DMark
  16. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Ultra HD
  17. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Temperatures
  18. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Testing: Power Consumption
  19. ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP & R9 270 DirectCU II OC Conclusion
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