Which should I choose R9 285 or R9 290?

If you are thinking about getting on of these gpu's to put in your system with the phenom II I would probably just grab the 285 or a r9 280 if it is a steal. The 285 is not as fast but it is a decent bit cheaper has a full feature set and is more reasonable of a pair with that cpu (not that the 290 wont work).

I would like to see what the 285 could do with a full 384 bit memory bus and 4GB VRAM  with it's floating clock integer and it's fairly decent bandwidth efficiency.

Even gimped at 256 bit bus and 2gb of vram it beat the280X in BioShock Infinite tests and held it's own with the 280 in Company of Heroes 2 with settings at maximum detail levels and anti aliasing.

And given it's low TDP and cool operating temps I could see this card turned into a very compact unit that would work well in ultra compact miniITX builds.

Well, the main reason I asked the question is because of this video:


Which states that the 285 is like vastly superior compared to 280.. So I was wondering what is the difference between the 285 and 290. Again sorry for being a noob.

O.O will my CPU just burst into flames if I used a 290....

Again thanks guys for the answer, based on the majority of the respond, I'll wait for an offer and grab a 290. Unless something comes up that change my mind. Peace out.

i dont know which cpu you have?

It will not self combust offcourse lol, but if you have an older cpu, there could be offcourse a slight bottleneck if you get a 290. But still there is mantle that could help some, in games that can utilize it, like BF4

on par with NJM's 290 triX overclocked

Woah Woah Woah dragging me into this eh?

the 285 is meant to be a solution for those that want 280 level performance, and not nvidia, but lower power consumption. I think theres a 2 and 4GB version of the 285 also.

Hey I said I wanted a legitimate benchmark to reference.

Unless you really need mantle, I'd actually argue for a 970 now. No official benches yet, but based off what's been leaked it should be slightly faster than a 290 with much lower power consumption. And it's launching at $329.

970 Announced. Cheaper and better than a 290. Go to card. Unless you specifically want an AMD card.

I see that the Phenom 2 1050T has a pretty low base clock I am not sure if it comes in a black edition for an unlocked CPU but you will want to overclock it for sure. I have a similar setup with a 1090T at 3.9 GHz and it does fine for the most part.  In a heavily modded Skyrim I see maybe 2 fps gain going from 3.8 GHz to 4.0 Ghz so there is certainly some kind of bottleneck. 

Either way your CPU will be less of a bottleneck as much as you won't get all the frames you can get. Similar to the fps boost you would see from an FX processor compared to a similar Intel.  If you want me to I can run some test with CPU frequency and my R9 290 in Battlefield 4 just to see the delta you might experience with higher frequencies?

Bottom line: I would say you could probably get an R9 290 just if you can overclock to 3.4 to 3.6 you would be in much better shape (I think).

I have been thinking about this and might push my 4770k to 4.7 again from 4.3. Those extra frames in skyrim...

Overclock..... I don't like overclocking O.O

Also, someone add 970 to the equation... Great! 1 more card to choose from.... Why is it so hard to choose one graphic card.

No. Just, no. It's not "gimped" with a 256 bit bus, nor with 2GB Vram. Look at Nvidia, they have much higher performing cards with a 256 bit bus and they aren't "gimped". It doesn't need larger interface bandwidth because it's much more efficient in how it uses the interface and the memory runs at higher speeds.

Also, 2GB Vram on a card at this performance level with a more efficient architecture/interface doesn't necessarily need more Vram either. You're not going to be using a 285 for 1440p gaming at ultra settings. 1080p ultra? Sure no problem. 

Just because you see some lower numbers in the specs doesn't mean it will have lower performance. ;)


Vram isn't holding back innovation in GPUs. They could slap on as many modules as they want, but the thing is; does it make sense and is it necessary for the relevant performance level of a given card? Could or would it even make use of the extra Vram? In most cases, no. 

When we're talking about the R9 280X, GTX 770 performance level, it's kind of on the edge of a threshold. 2GB Vram at this level isn't quite enough, yet 4GB is more than plenty. 

The OP is asking about two cards that shouldn't even be compared because their both on very different levels. For the 285, 2GB Vram is plenty. For the 290, 4GB Vram is necessary. 

I don't blame the OP though, AMD's naming is horrible and confusing to anyone who doesn't follow their products like a hawk. lol

I see there's a lot of confusion and some misinformation with regards to the new 285. Honestly, I don't blame anyone for being confused, but hopefully this will clear up some of the facts:

-The 285 is a new GPU architecture, PCB, everything. You've probably heard someone refer to it as "Tonga". These are not further re-branded Tahiti chips (280 and 280X), they are completely different in almost every aspect.

-The 285 is meant to replace the current 280 and 280X. Performance of the 285 falls between the two, but closer to that of the 280. Despite the name, it does not fall between the 280X and 290, though there may be a 285"X" or "boost" variant released later on.

-The narrower 256 bit bus and 2GB Vram compared to the 280/X 384 bit bus and 3GB Vram should not be viewed as a restriction or hindrance to performance. Go watch some reviews and look at some benchmarks before you all panic. They have made a lot of improvements in the way the bus is used so that it is used much more efficiently combined with higher-speed Vram. Fewer, more efficient and faster data transfers = less bandwidth needed and better performance.

-More Vram would be nice, but it's not necessarily needed at this level of performance. The memory itself as well as the interface (as I just explained) is being used more efficiently. Less data redundancy means less Vram is needed. And who knows, a 3rd party manufacturer may release a 4GB version for those who want it or might actually need it (running multiple 1080p displays etc.). 

-The 285 was not meant to be a monumental step forward, but an incremental one. It wasn't meant to blow our minds, but it is an improvement in almost every aspect, plus it brings a wide range of new features (true audio, freesync etc.) the previous aging cards didn't have, nor support. The PCB is physically smaller (by quite a bit), it uses less power and produces less heat. Everything about the 285 is better than the 280 it replaces with the only acceptation being Vram - which is debatable.


Sorry for the long post, but hopefully that helped clear the air. 

We tend to look at certain "specs" and "numbers" because it's easy to compare them. Naturally, most of us assume the higher the number the better. But that's not always the case. You need to consider the specs in the proper context. For example; Do you really think they would lower the bus bandwidth if it meant reducing performance? Common sense (and benchmarks) suggests the engineers designing this card knew what they're doing, better than any of us and did so for a reason - it doesn't need a wider bus.

The GTX 970 is now the current best price to performance card on the market and is within your price range. I wouldnt buy anything else in the price range. Thermally cooler, More powerful and uses less power of any other card at that price point.

Thanks for clearing that up MEC-777... but now that I saw the new review of GTX 970, which curb stomp the R9 290. I think I am going to get that, again unless something comes up before Christmas... and yes I ma get my new shiny card at Christmas. Hopefully Santa drop one for me.