Radeon HD 6990 vs R9 290X - Should I upgrade?
Category : Should I Upgrade?
Published by Hiwa Pouri on 05.03.14
A gamer simply can't get enough graphics power in their rig, which makes the upgrade question omnipresent. To show you whether it makes sense to upgrade from one generation to another we created this series of articles, where we will compare graphics cards from different generations. Today we're having a close look at the differences between the HD 6990 and the R9 290X.



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Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Test Setup

Hardware

Mainboard
  • ASUS Maximus V Gene (BIOS 1802)
CPUs
  • Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4.0 GHz (Turbo On / HT On)
Memory
  • G.Skill Ares Dual Channel 2x8GB @ CL11-13-13-31-1T-Auto DDR3-2400 MHz
Graphic Cards (Driver)
  • AMD Radeon R9 290X
  • AMD Radeon HD 6990
Drivers
  • Windows 7 x64 (up to date)
  • NVIDIA ForceWare 331.40 Beta
  • AMD Catalyst 13.11 BetaV1
  • Intel Chipset Driver 9.4.0.1026
Games and OS
  • Windows 7 x64 (Up to date on the ) 01/10/2013
  • All games were up to date on the 01/10/2013
HDD
  • OCZ Technology Octane 512 GB SSD
PSU
  • Seasonic Platinum SS-1000XP / 1000 Watts



Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

3DMark - Fire Strike Performance





Total Score Score Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 9400 148.03 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 6350 100.00 %
     
Graphics Score Score Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 10988 152.46 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 7207 100.00 %
More is better





3DMark - Fire Strike Extreme





 
Total Score Score Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 4823 151.43 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 3185 100.00 %
     
Graphics Score Score Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 5101 155.80 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 3274 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Unigine Heaven 4.0 Extreme Preset





Total Score Score Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 1754 151.73 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 1156 100.00 %
     
Frames per second FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 68.9 150.11 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 45.9 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

BattleField 3





High Preset, 1920x1080, 4xMSAA, Ultra, SSAO FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 99.0 150.91 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 65.6 100.00 %
More is better






Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Bioshock Infinite - Benchmark





Ultra Preset, 1920x1080, AA, no DDOF FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 100.03 128.23 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 78.01 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Crysis 3





High Preset, 1920x1080, 8xMSAA, Very High FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 27.3 101.87 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 26.8 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Call of Duty Black Ops 2





High Preset, 1920x1080, 8xMSAA, High FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 146.0 114.96 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 127.0 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

DIRT Showdown - Benchmark





High Preset, 1920x1080, 8xMSAA, Ultra FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 107.93 134.41 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 80.30 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Far Cry 3





High Preset, 1920x1080, 8xMSAA, Ultra FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 53.3 133.92 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 39.8 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Sleeping Dogs - Benchmark





High Preset, 1920x1080, Extreme, High-Res Textures FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 69.9 123.50 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 56.6 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim





High Preset, 1920x1080, 8xAA, Ultra FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 133.2 121.98 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 109.2 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Metro: Last Light - Benchmark





Very High, 1920x1080, SSAA, DX11 FPS Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 46.58 168.46 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 27.65 100.00 %
More is better





Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Grand Theft Auto V






Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Power Consumption





Power Consumption Idle* Watts Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 57 71.25 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 80 100.00 %
*Entire system Less is better


Power Consumption Load (FurMark)* Watts Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 425 88.36 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 481 100.00 %
*Entire system Less is better






Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Performance Index, price

  Index
AMD Radeon R9 290X 130.92 %
AMD Radeon HD 6990 100.00 %
More is better


  Geizhals Toppreise
AMD Radeon R9 290X Toppreise.ch
AMD Radeon HD 6990 n/A n/A
 


Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown  
[pagebreak]

Conclusion

Comparing the Radeon R9 290X with the Radeon HD 6990 shows that the new single GPU card is actually quicker than the old high-end dual GPU model. Looking at the results a bit closer shows, that the R9 290X is on average about 31 percent faster than the Radeon HD 6990, when it comes to ingame performance. The biggest performance differences can be found with Metro Last Light. In this case, frame rates are about 68 percent higher on a Radeon R9 290X. On the other side there is the Crysis 3, where the R9 290X is only 1 percent quicker.

At this point we also want to have a closer look at power consumption too. If we equip our test system with a Radeon HD 6990 we see that it pulls 80 Watt from the plug, whereas the same setup with a R9 290X only needs 57 Watt. Under load conditions there is also a rather big difference between the two cards. Once we plugged the Radeon HD 6990 card into the test system power consumption goes up to 481 Watt and with the R9 290X power consumption is at 425 Watt. In absolute numbers the R9 290X certainly need less power but it's still astonishing to see how much power this single GPU card is able to burn away. 

Between the Radeon R9 290X and the HD 6990 there is a 31 percent performance gap. If you keep in mind that in certain games we measured differences as high as 68 percent, then we can definitely recommend this upgrade. Other than that power consumption of the R9 290X is lower than what you got from the HD 6990. Should you be thinking about upgrading from a Radeon HD 6990 to a R9 290X, then then you might be happy to hear, that HD 6990 card still go for about 250 Euro on eBay - thanks to the ongoing mining craze. This means that you get more than half the money you need for a brand new R9 290X from your old card.


Page 1 - Introduction Page 10 - Far Cry 3
Page 2 - Test Setup Page 11 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 3 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 12 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 4 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 13 - Metro: Last Light
Page 5 - BattleField 3 Page 14 - GTA V
Page 6 - Bioshock Infinite Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 7 - Crysis 3 Page 16 - Performance Index, price
Page 8 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 17 - Conclusion
Page 9 - DIRT Showdown