We live in a time when visual effects is everything when it comes to entertainment, be it with what you see in sci-fi movies on the big screen, or the gorgeous effects from console and PC games like Ryse: Son of Rome or Crysis. Ultimately, creating and reproducing all that eye candy boils down to hardware components designed to do just that.
Recently, AMD and its partners including Sapphire, Club3D, PowerColor, and MSI, among others, launched an 8GB iteration of the AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics card; making it the new flagship single-GPU solution in the chipmaker's lineup. The R9 290X is based on a 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) chip that packs 2,816 steam processors clocked at 1000Mhz and 8GB of GDDR5 memory with a bandwidth of up to 352 GB/s. Specs however are dependent on the partners as they tend to add their own custom coolers and overclock the GPU.
The card also supports Microsoft’s upcoming DirectX 12 API that will be included in Windows 10, as well as AMD’s own “Mantle” solution, a low-level rendering API designed to give game developers a way to access the GPU more efficiently, ultimately reducing CPU workload and improving in-game frames per second. The massive 8GB of video memory on the R9 290X should make for smoother gameplay on 4K resolutions, as it can better handle high-resolution textures in today’s (and tomorrow’s) games.
AMD has yet to announce when exactly the 8GB version will be made available, although it should be sometime this month. What AMD did confirm is that it is bundling Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth with the card when purchased before February 28, 2015 from a participating retailer, or until AMD’s pool of download codes runs out.