AMD Radeon R9 270 review
The R9 270 is a Pitcairn-based graphics card with 1,280 stream processors running at 955MHz and 2GB of GDDR5 graphics memory running at 1,400MHz. It requires a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector, so it should be compatible with many systems and power supplies. The R9 270 should also be compatible with many monitors thanks to its DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort graphics outputs. As with all modern AMD Radeon cards you can even use all three to create a multi-monitor Eyefinity setup.
As for its gaming performance, the R9 270 delivered an extremely smooth average frame rate of 71.7fps at a resolution of 1,920x1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing and graphics quality set to Ultra. This compares well with the cheaper AMD Radeon R7 260X, which produced an average frame rate of 53.7fps in the same test. With all test conditions the same but an increased resolution of 2,560x1,440, the R9 270 produced an average frame rate of 52.6fps while the R7 260 produced an average frame rate of 38.4fps. The R9 270 produced the smoother frame rate, but the frame rate produced by the R7 260X is perfectly playable.
Neither card performed well in our Crysis 3 benchmark at a resolution of 1,920x1,080 and with graphics quality set to Ultra, anti-aliasing to 4x and anisotropic filtering to 16x. The R7 260X failed this benchmark completely, producing an average frame rate of just 11.2fps, while the R9 270 produced an average frame rate of 17.6fps. Although the R9 270 passed our Crysis 3 benchmark test the frame rate isn’t smooth enough for comfortable play, especially not when it scored a maximum frame rate of just 23fps. Reducing graphics quality settings to Medium produced a much smoother average frame rate of 29.8fps. We’d prefer the average frame rate to be smoother still, but the R9 270 did deliver a maximum frame rate of 39fps at these settings. However, the card’s minimum frame rate of 21fps did have an effect on the game overall, making the benchmark test feel sluggish in parts.
The R9 270 is good card if you want to enjoy Full HD gaming, and you should be able to play many games at the highest graphics quality settings with smooth average frame rates. You should even be able to play some games comfortably at a higher resolution of 2,560x1,440. Graphically complex games such as Crysis 3 prove too much for the card at the highest settings, but Crysis 3 still looks good at Medium quality so this might not be a problem for many potential buyers.
The AMD Radeon R7 260X isn’t as powerful as the R9 270, but with the R7 260X being available for just £102 we think it’s a better buy for the budget-conscious gamer.