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GeForce GTX 970 vs Radeon R9 290


The GeForce GTX 970 has a core clock speed of 1050 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1750 MHz. It also uses a 256-bit bus, and uses a 28 nm design. It is made up of 1664 SPUs, 104 TAUs, and 64 ROPs.

Compare those specs to the Radeon R9 290, which comes with GPU clock speed of 800 MHz, and 4096 MB of GDDR5 memory set to run at 1250 MHz through a 512-bit bus. It also features 2560 Stream Processors, 160 TAUs, and 64 Raster Operation Units.

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These are real-world performance benchmarks that were submitted by Hardware Compare users. The scores seen here are the average of all benchmarks submitted for each respective test and hardware.

3DMark Fire Strike Graphics Score

GeForce GTX 970 10867 points
Radeon R9 290 9876 points
Difference: 991 (10%)

Zcash Mining Hash Rate

Radeon R9 290 283 Sol/s
GeForce GTX 970 262 Sol/s
Difference: 21 (8%)

Ethereum Mining Hash Rate

Radeon R9 290 29 Mh/s
GeForce GTX 970 19 Mh/s
Difference: 10 (53%)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

GeForce GTX 970 145 Watts
Radeon R9 290 300 Watts
Difference: 155 Watts (107%)

Memory Bandwidth

Performance-wise, the Radeon R9 290 should theoretically be quite a bit superior to the GeForce GTX 970 overall. (explain)

Radeon R9 290 320000 MB/sec
GeForce GTX 970 224000 MB/sec
Difference: 96000 (43%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon R9 290 is just a bit (approximately 17%) faster with regards to AF than the GeForce GTX 970. (explain)

Radeon R9 290 128000 Mtexels/sec
GeForce GTX 970 109200 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 18800 (17%)

Pixel Rate

The GeForce GTX 970 will be a lot (about 31%) faster with regards to full screen anti-aliasing than the Radeon R9 290, and also able to handle higher screen resolutions without slowing down too much. (explain)

GeForce GTX 970 67200 Mpixels/sec
Radeon R9 290 51200 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 16000 (31%)

Please note that the above 'benchmarks' are all just theoretical - the results were calculated based on the card's specifications, and real-world performance may (and probably will) vary at least a bit.

Price Comparison

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GeForce GTX 970

Check prices at:

Radeon R9 290

Check prices at:

Please note that the price comparisons are based on search keywords - sometimes it might show cards with very similar names that are not exactly the same as the one chosen in the comparison. We do try to filter out the wrong results as best we can, though.


Display Specifications

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Model GeForce GTX 970 Radeon R9 290
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year September 2014 November 2013
Code Name GM204-200 Hawaii PRO
Memory 4096 MB 4096 MB
Core Speed 1050 MHz 800 MHz
Memory Speed 7000 MHz 5000 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 145 watts 300 watts
Bandwidth 224000 MB/sec 320000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 109200 Mtexels/sec 128000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 67200 Mpixels/sec 51200 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 1664 2560
Texture Mapping Units 104 160
Render Output Units 64 64
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 512-bit
Fab Process 28 nm 28 nm
Transistors 5200 million 6200 million
Bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11.2 DirectX 11.2
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.5 OpenGL 4.3

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data (measured in megabytes per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface within a second. The number is calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR RAM, it should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that are processed in one second. This is worked out by multiplying the total amount of texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The better the texel rate, the better the card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels that the graphics card can possibly record to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is calculated by multiplying the number of Render Output Units by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the maximum fill rate.

Display Prices

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GeForce GTX 970

Check prices at:

Radeon R9 290

Check prices at:

Please note that the price comparisons are based on search keywords - sometimes it might show cards with very similar names that are not exactly the same as the one chosen in the comparison. We do try to filter out the wrong results as best we can, though.


7 Responses to “GeForce GTX 970 vs Radeon R9 290”
Blair says:

Still not sure which card to choose from! My PSU can handle both fine! But I do like the lower wattage the 970 uses and the slightly higher performance over the 290. But the R9 290 is $70 less in price for basically the same performance. So I am just not sure what to choose! I do like AMD's picture quality better! But Nvidia is much better with Anti-Aliasing, And the Nvidia Drivers are much much less buggy. But the AMD card has much faster memory bandwidth that will perform much better at higher resolution! (CONFUSED)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If Nvidia would just price the 970 right I would not have this problem! So I will more than likely save my money and buy the R9 290.

iDisOrder says:

I came here for answers and I'm just as confused as you Blair.

Any chance of comparing the R9 290 with the EVGA variants like the SSC or FTW & FTW+?

I gave myself a headache after 3 weeks of research and finally bought the SSC.
I'd like to know if I got screwed

ellis says:

i went with the r9 290 (asus dcuII) and have had nothing but troubles with it. constant freezes and black screens and reboots. i'll be returning it and exchanging it with the 970. its one thing you won't read in reviews, but do some googling about 290 issues.

ConnyBoy says:

Just to put your minds at rest, I have an R9 290 and it is perfectly stable and very powerful. One key thing you need to make sure is that your power supply is good enough though, because the R9 290 is a power hungry monster unfortunately. A friend has the black screen issues and it was simply that his PSU was not up to the job.

Put simply the 970 is *marginally* (and I mean it's so close it's ridiculous) better than the R9 290, but at the lower price point I would get the cheaper R9 290. If the 970 comes down in price, then I think that's the obvious choice.

Lunisford says:

everybody who has blackscreen with r9 290 needs to flash their cards,thats it. If your card is not flashed that mean you're not even taking care of your hardware.

jaco says:

Flash a brand new card i just bought? Thats like telling me i have to give a major service to a brand new car with 0 km/ miles on the clock, no thanks, ill happily stay with nvidia, never never had a problem with there card

Dave says:

I'm upgrading from a R9 280X (powercolor) and went with the 970. Quiet and cooler was the deciding point. The R9 performed well but turned my PC into a space heater. Temp was an issue and the thing was noisy. It would easily go above 95c if you let it. I have tried 270X crossfire and it does well when there are no issues with crossfire (. One quiet, cool powerful card with no issues seemed the way to go.

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