Double the memory, double the fun?
Playing off Civilization: Beyond Earth's heavy use of GPU memory, AMD's also announcing a new, overclocked R9 290X variant with 8GB of onboard RAM.
While Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 900-series graphics tend to triumph over AMD's top single-GPU cards at 1080p or 2560x1600 resolution in our tests, the Radeon R9 290X actually holds the upper hand in many gaming tests conducted at 4K resolution, or across multiple monitors using AMD's Eyefinity technology. A graphics card with flat-out more memory essentially offers the ability to handle higher antialiasing settings at ultra-high resolutions.
In other words, doubling the R9 290X's memory from 4GB (formerly the maximum) to 8GB only strengthens AMD's advantage on pixelicious monitor setups--though if you're gaming at 4K you'll probably want a pair of the cards in a CrossFire setup to keep frame rates up to snuff.
The official details are fairly light. AMD would only say that Sapphire, PowerColor, and MSI will be the initial hardware partners, with a soft target MSRP of $429. That seems like a hefty markup for memory considering that 4GB R9 290X graphics cards are selling for as low as $300 these days, but hey, if you're rocking a pricey 4K display or a multi-monitor setup, twice the memory might just be worth the money.
The arrival of overclocked R9 290X graphics cards with double the onboard memory has one more bit of significance: If AMD's partners are rolling out new flagship variants in November, I'd be shocked if the next generation of Radeon GPUs surface before the end of the year.
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