How Low Should You Go? ASUS Radeon R7 250X Graphics Card Review

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by Rob Williams on September 10, 2014 in Graphics & Displays

After we were done benchmarking AMD’s $110 Radeon R7 260 last winter, we were impressed enough to call it a “console killer” (thanks in part to the ‘next-gen’ consoles having been released not soon before). Will we be able to say the same thing about the R7 250X, a model a mere one-step down? That’s what we’re going to find out.

Page 7 – Best Playable: Single Display

For about as long as GPU-accelerated games have existed, 60 frames-per-second has been an ideal performance target. This target framerate, in turn, established the 60Hz monitor as a de facto standard. The 60Hz monitor delivers its best results when the framerate matches its refresh rate. To make sure the monitor’s refresh rate and game’s framerate keep aligned, to avoid visible tearing, VSync should be enabled.

While I believe our Best Playable results will appeal to any gamer, they could especially prove useful to those intrigued by livingroom gaming or console replacements. The goal here is simple: With each game, the graphics settings are tweaked to deliver the best possible detail while keeping us as close to 60 FPS on average as possible.

Because our Metro Last Light and Total War: SHOGUN 2 tests are timedemos, and because this kind of testing is time-consuming, I am sticking to six out of the eight games I test with for inclusion here.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R7 260X5160
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Environment:HighShadow:Normal
Texture:HighReflection:Normal
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGod Rays:Off
Ambient Occlusion:OffVolumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOn
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260X
AMD Radeon R7 2604858
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Environment:HighShadow:Normal
Texture:HighReflection:Normal
Anti-aliasing:OffGod Rays:Off
Ambient Occlusion:OffVolumetric Fog:Off
Motion BlurOff
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260
ASUS Radeon R7 250X3948
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Environment:NormalShadow:Low
Texture:LowReflection:Normal
Anti-aliasing:OffGod Rays:Off
Ambient Occlusion:OffVolumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOff
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable - ASUS Radeon R7 250X

When tested with our regular settings, the performance we saw with AC IV: Black Flag from the R7 250X was… well, horrible. Taking a hammer to every single option we have, we’re left with “Low” all over the board, but the game still looks pretty good, and delivers nearly 50 FPS on average.

Battlefield 4
MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R7 260X4962
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Texture Quality:HighTexture Filtering:High
Lighting:HighEffects:High
Post Processing:HighMesh:High
Terrain:HighTerrain Decoration:High
Anti-aliasing Deferred:OffAnti-aliasing Post:Off
Ambient Occlusion:Off
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260X
AMD Radeon R7 2604858
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Texture Quality:HighTexture Filtering:High
Lighting:HighEffects:High
Post Processing:MediumMesh:High
Terrain:HighTerrain Decoration:High
Anti-aliasing Deferred:OffAnti-aliasing Post:Off
Ambient Occlusion:Off
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260
ASUS Radeon R7 250X4562
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Texture Quality:HighTexture Filtering:High
Lighting:MediumEffects:Medium
Post Processing:MediumMesh:High
Terrain:HighTerrain Decoration:High
Anti-aliasing Deferred:OffAnti-aliasing Post:Off
Ambient Occlusion:Off
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable - ASUS Radeon R7 250X

While “Low” was the name of the game in AC IV: Black Flag with the R7 250X, the card fared a lot better with Battlefield 4. With half of the settings dialed in to High, and some others to Medium, our system can hit our target of 60 FPS. Once again, the result isn’t too bad, quality-wise.

Crysis 3
MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R7 260X3654
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Anti-aliasing:OffTexture:Medium
Effects:MediumObject:Medium
Particles:MediumPost Processing:Medium
Shading:MediumShadows:Low
Water:LowAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260X
AMD Radeon R7 2603650
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Anti-aliasing:OffTexture:Medium
Effects:MediumObject:Medium
Particles:LowPost Processing:Low
Shading:MediumShadows:Low
Water:LowAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260
ASUS Radeon R7 250X3247
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Anti-aliasing:OffTexture:Low
Effects:LowObject:Low
Particles:LowPost Processing:Low
Shading:LowShadows:Low
Water:LowAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:LowLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable - ASUS Radeon R7 250X

Crysis 3 follows in AC IV: Black Flag‘s steps: I absolutely had to put everything to Low in order to achieve decent framerates at 1080p. If you’re running a 1440×900 display, I am sure the game would deliver the same sort of framerates with the Medium preset used. This truly is a monster of a game.

GRID 2
MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R7 260X5058
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Multisampling:4x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:UltraAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Low
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OffGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:High
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:High
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OffAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260X
AMD Radeon R7 2604164
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Multisampling:4x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:HighAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Low
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OffGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:High
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:Medium
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OffAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260
ASUS Radeon R7 250X3760
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Multisampling:OffNight Lighting:High
Shadows:HighAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Low
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OffGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:Ultra
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:Medium
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OffAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable - ASUS Radeon R7 250X

A lot had to be tweaked to hit 60 FPS here, and admittedly, you could have gone in a different direction than me. You could have left anti-aliasing enabled and decreased some of the Ultras to High or Medium, but the point has been made: You can still have a great-looking GRID 2 along with 60 FPS @ 1080p.

Sleeping Dogs
MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R7 260X6271
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Anti-aliasing:NormalHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:HighMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260X
AMD Radeon R7 2605563
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Anti-aliasing:NormalHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:HighMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260
ASUS Radeon R7 250X4552
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Anti-aliasing:NormalHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:HighMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable - ASUS Radeon R7 250X

For every single GPU I’ve benchmarked since I’ve begun benchmarking Sleeping Dogs, I’ve just had to decrease the anti-aliasing to the smallest level in order to get great framerates. With the R7 250X, I had worried that I’d have to decrease even more than that, but not so. If you really do crave that 60 FPS though, you should decrease the ambient occlusion, and possibly drop the shadow resolution as well.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
MinimumAverage
AMD Radeon R7 260X5177
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Texture Detail:MediumShadow:Medium
Parallax:OnTessellation:Off
Texture Filtering:2xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO
Anti-aliasing:Off
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260X
AMD Radeon R7 2604872
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Texture Detail:MediumShadow:Medium
Parallax:OnTessellation:Off
Texture Filtering:2xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO
Anti-aliasing:Off
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable - AMD Radeon R7 260
ASUS Radeon R7 250X4862
Graphics Settings
& Ingame ScreenshotResolution: 1920×1080
Texture Detail:MediumShadow:Medium
Parallax:OnTessellation:Off
Texture Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Off
Anti-aliasing:Off
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable - ASUS Radeon R7 250X

With medium detail levels all-around, and the dropping of AA and AO, Splinter Cell: Blacklist can surpass 60 FPS at 1080p with the R7 250X.

Now, let’s tackle some quick synthetic benchmarks, and then move onto the conclusion.

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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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