AMD Radeon R9 290X & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Review

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by Rob Williams on March 3, 2014 in Graphics & Displays

More often than not, every battle in the GPU Wars is hotly contested. From performance to appraisals of value, AMD and NVIDIA always engage in apparent mortal combat with each generation of GPU. This current gen of GPU, though, sees a clear-cut winner in most catagories. So did Team Red win, or did Team Green? Read on to find out!

Page 8 – Best Playable: Multi-Display

With the results seen on the previous page, we found that both AMD’s Radeon R9 290X and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 780 Ti can handle most of today’s games @ 1440p with great detail just fine. With either card, and that resolution, you can basically expect to top-out a game’s graphics settings upon opening it, and you’ll probably get livable framerates.

But, at 2560×1440, we’re dealing with 3.68 megapixels. What happens if we widen the viewport, and then bump the resolution up to 6.22 megapixels? The goal of this page is to figure that out.

To re-state something said on the previous page: Our regular benchmark tests showed that the R9 290X and 780 Ti perform on an equal level, with NVIDIA getting the slight edge in most tests. That being the case, most of the Best Playable settings are going to be identical between both cards. Because we’re dealing with just two cards; one from AMD, and the other from NVIDIA, the results here are in alphabetical order like in the rest of our results.

 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
3×1 Monitor (5760×1080)MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R9 290X4456
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Environment:HighShadow:Normal
Texture:HighReflection:Normal
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGod Rays:Low
Ambient Occlusion:OffVolumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOn 
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - AMD Radeon R9 290X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti4859
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Environment:HighShadow:Normal
Texture:HighReflection:Normal
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGod Rays:Low
Ambient Occlusion:OffVolumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOn 
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

With this game at 1440p, I was able to stick with the same settings I use in normal benchmarking, but to achieve truly playable framerates at 5760×1080, some detail had to be sacrificed. On both cards, AO was cut, God Rays was decreased to Low, and the Environment detail was reduced from Very High to High. When all said and done, we get fairly close to our goal at 60 FPS; in order to actually hit 60 FPS, detail levels that are nice to have would have to be decreased, and given how well these framerates felt, it would not be worth it.

 Battlefield 4
3×1 Monitor (5760×1080)MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R9 290X4961
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Texture Quality:HighTexture Filtering:High
Lighting:HighEffects:High
Post Processing:HighMesh:High
Terrain:HighTerrain Decoration:High
Anti-aliasing Deferred:OffAnti-aliasing Post:Medium
Ambient Occlusion:SSAO  
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - AMD Radeon R9 290X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti4355
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Texture Quality:HighTexture Filtering:High
Lighting:HighEffects:High
Post Processing:HighMesh:High
Terrain:HighTerrain Decoration:High
Anti-aliasing Deferred:OffAnti-aliasing Post:Medium
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO  
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

These results are a bit interesting, because it appears that AMD comes out ahead. In actuality, I retained HBAO on the NVIDIA card, something I was unable to do on the AMD card. That does sacrifice some frames, but like with AC IV, I didn’t actually feel the difference in real gameplay. If that magical 60 FPS must be hit, SSAO can be used. Note also that for these framerates, anti-aliasing had to be disabled.

 Crysis 3
3×1 Monitor (5760×1080)MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R9 290X3755
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Anti-aliasing:FXAATexture:Medium
Effects:MediumObject:Medium
Particles:MediumPost Processing:Medium
Shading:MediumShadows:Medium
Water:MediumAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - AMD Radeon R9 290X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti4257
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Anti-aliasing:FXAATexture:Medium
Effects:MediumObject:Medium
Particles:MediumPost Processing:Medium
Shading:MediumShadows:Medium
Water:MediumAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

It about makes me want to cry whenever I have to choose “Medium” as a detail level, but in Crysis 3, Medium actually looks how “High” would in many other games. It takes a quick look at either of the screenshots above to verify that. In the end, both cards handled the game very well at these detail levels. We didn’t quite get to the magical 60 FPS, but it’ll be hard to notice in real gameplay – especially with the use of motion blur.

 GRID 2
3×1 Monitor (5760×1080)MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R9 290X5460
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Multisampling:4x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:UltraAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Ultra
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OnGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:Ultra
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:High
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OffAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - AMD Radeon R9 290X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti5763
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Multisampling:4x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:UltraAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:High
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OnGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:Ultra
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:High
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OffAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

Being that GRID 2 isn’t quite as graphically-impressive as other games in our suite, not much had to be tweaked here. The R9 290X in particular came out ahead, as only Global Illiumination had to be disabled. The 780 Ti, on the other hand, had to utilize that same change, along with a decrease of the Ambient Occlusion from Ultra to High. Modest changes overall.

 Sleeping Dogs
3×1 Monitor (5760×1080)MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R9 290X5973
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Anti-aliasing:NormalHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:HighMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme 
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - AMD Radeon R9 290X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti5178
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Anti-aliasing:NormalHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:HighMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme 
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

With Sleeping Dogs, there’s very little that can be tweaked graphically – at least, if we’re talking about settings that will dramatically affect framerate. The #1 cause of bogged-down gameplay here is with the anti-aliasing, and that reared its ugly head here. Honestly though, the drop from High to Normal AA is highly unlikely to even be noticed, thanks to the game’s bizarre AA implementation (even Extreme AA shows jaggies on many surfaces). If only an FXAA option were available.

 Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
3×1 Monitor (5760×1080)MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R9 290X5065
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Texture Detail:UltraShadow:Ultra
Parallax:OnTessellation:On
Texture Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO
Anti-aliasing:FXAA 
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - AMD Radeon R9 290X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti5371
Graphics Settings
& Screenshot
Texture Detail:UltraShadow:Ultra
Parallax:OnTessellation:On
Texture Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO
Anti-aliasing:FXAA 
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable Multi-Monitor - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

For Blacklist, both cards had to drop HBAO. Admittedly, this doesn’t make what I’d call a drastic difference to the aesthetic (though it’s obvious when compared back-to-back), and when sub-60 FPS framerates are the reality, it’s certainly not worth keeping.

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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