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AMD Fills Final Obvious Gap in Current-gen Radeon Lineup, Introduces $279 R9 280

Posted on March 4, 2014 4:42 PM by Rob Williams
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With the release of AMD’s Radeon R7 250X a couple of weeks ago, a missing model became obvious: The R9 280. You see, across the board, the entire range of 250 ~ 290 cards featured both a normal and “X” variant, all but the 280, that is. As this post suggests, though, AMD’s rectified that issue today, with a model settling-in at the $279 price-point.

Unlike most models in its lineup, AMD hasn’t produced a reference model for this GPU; instead, it’s being left up to vendors to use their expertise to build it (which, admittedly, isn’t difficult given the small differences with the card). The R9 280 is in effect an HD 7950, or at least close to it. The update is important mostly for its name, and its pricing.

Sapphire Radeon R9 280 Dual-X

On the topic of pricing, though, we’re seeing a bit of an oddity here. The R9 280 carries an SRP of $279, as mentioned, but the R9 280X, when it launched, was priced at $299. For that $20, you’d gain about 14% more cores, and a card that’s clocked faster – overall, money well spent, I’d say. However, as has been the major plague of AMD’s current lineup lately, the R9 280X is priced at around $450 at all etailers I’ve checked, thanks to the ongoing inflation caused by those snatching the cards up en masse for coin mining purposes.

AMD Radeon Series Cores Core MHz Memory Mem MHz Mem Bus TDP
Radeon R9 290X 2816 1000 4096MB 5000 512-bit 250W
Radeon R9 290 2560 947 4096MB 5000 512-bit 250W
Radeon R9 280X 2048 <1000 3072MB 6000 384-bit 250W
Radeon R9 280 1792 <933 3072MB 5000 384-bit 250W
Radeon R9 270X 1280 <1050 2048MB 5600 256-bit 180W
Radeon R9 270 1280 <925 2048MB 5600 256-bit 150W
Radeon R9 265 1024 <925 2048MB 5600 256-bit 150W
Radeon R7 260X 896 <1100 2048MB 6500 128-bit 115W
Radeon R7 260 768 <1000 1024MB 6000 128-bit 95W
Radeon R7 250X 640 <1000 1024MB 4500 128-bit 95W
Radeon R7 250 384 <1050 1024MB 4600 128-bit 65W

That being the case, it seems unlikely that the R9 280 is realistically going to retail for the $279 price-point AMD’s giving us, because compared to $450, it’d be an absolute steal given the overall minor drop in performance. This again would make the card look seriously impressive to miners, and it seems we’d end up dealing with the same sort of inflation before long. 

That all being said, AMD does hope that the introduction of this card will help add enough cards into the market to ease the gouging on the other models:

The AMD Radeon R9 280 will become available at a starting SEP of $279USD the first week of March, with wider availability the second week of March. Following the exceptional demand for the entire R9 Series, we believe the introduction of the R9 280 will help ensure that every gamer who plans to purchase an R9 Series graphics card has an opportunity to do so.

Let’s hope that happens.

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