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PowerColor Devil Radeon R9 270X Review

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Introduction

With a name like Devil, you certainly would expect any product branded with the name to instill fear in it’s enemies. There is little doubt that is the reason that PowerColor has chosen to use the name on it’s unique line of graphics cards. Indeed, their Devil 13 line of dual GPU graphics cards are legendary. PowerColor chose to expand the line into the last generation Radeon 7870, bringing many of the same features to a more affordable package. When the the Radeon 7870 was revamped into the R9 270X, The Devil went with it.

PowerColor gave the Devil Radeon R9 270X 2Gb an aggressive custom triple fan four heatpipe cooling solution. They claim it provides 17% more airflow, 18% reduction of noise and 25% lower temperatures compared to the reference cooling solution. There is also their 7+1+1 digitally controlled power delivery system, known as the Platinum Power Kit. That Platinum Power Kit is designed to add overclocking potential, by providing an additional 20% boost in stability and 30% better power efficiency. PowerColor did not stop there. The Devil R9 270X boasts higher then stock clock rates as well.

PowerColor’s Take on the Devil Radeon R9 270X 2GB

GCN Architecture

A new design for AMD’s unified graphics processing and compute cores that allows them to achieve higher utilization for improved performance and efficiency.

AMD Eyefinty Technology

Run multiple displays from a single graphics board and expand your gaming field of view across all displays.

AMD App Acceleration

AMD App Accelerator creates a “co-processing” environment in which the compute processing potential in your AMD Radeon™ Graphics processor works together with the system central processor, to accelerate enabled applications.

AMD HD3D Technology

Supports the latest stereoscopic 3D content and display technologies

Play 3D games, watch Blu-ray 3D videos, and edit 3D photos on your 3D Monitors, TV, or projector.

AMD CrossFire™ Technology

Multi-GPU support offers superior scalability

Increase our gaming performance up to 2x with AMD CrossFire™ technology, 2.75x for TriFire configurations, or 3.75x with QuadFire configs.

Microsoft DirextX® 11.2

Get intense gaming performance and unrivalled image quality with stunning 3D visual effects, realistic lighting and lifelike imagery.

AMD HD Media Accelerator

Assumes rendering responsibility for HD encode (VCE)/decode (MPEG-4 ASP, H.264. MVC, MPEG2, etc.) and conclusively enable superior video playback quality with advanced hardware post-processing algorithms.

AMD PowerPlay™ Technology

AMD PowerPlay™ Technology dynamically adjusts clockspeeds in response to GPU load, saving power for just when you need it.

AMD PowerTune Technology

Maximizes performance under load conditions by dynamically increasing the GPU engine clock to take advantage of unused TDP headroom. Also allows users to configure their own TDP limit, within a provided range, for even higher performance or more power efficiency.

PCI Express 3.0

Delivers double the bandwidth per lane of PCIe Gen 2 for faster GPU.

Advanced GDDR5 Memory Technology

GDDR5 memory provides the highest available memory bandwidth of any memory technology today, enabling higher GPU performance.

HDMI

Integrated high speed HDMI output with 1080p 120Hz 3D Stereoscopic support, and 4K resolution display support.

Boost State smart over-clocking control

AMD latest Boost State technology automatically allows Radeon Graphic to run higher than the base core speed if it’s operating below power, current, and temperature specification limits.

Let’s take a closer look on the next page.

A Closer Look

The PowerColor 270X Devil comes in a large matte black embossed box with the Devil logo featured under plastic predominately in the center. The darker black lettering and red highlights create a perceivable attitude.

The back of the box lists many of the features of the video card in a simple silver and red lettering.

The Devil logo that is featured on the front of the box belongs to the included mouse pad. The mouse pad is a thick padded cloth covered design.

Our previously reviewed sample is missing a few accessories, though nothing that will effect the card’s performance. A Driver Installation CD, DVI to VGA Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter and, Warranty Card are part of the normal retail packaging.

Specifications 
Model NamePowerColor AXR9 270X 2GBD5-A2DHE
Chipset Pitcairn XT
Process Size 28nm
Transistors 2800 Million
Die Size121 mm²
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0 x16
Core Clock 1050MHz
Unified Shaders1280
Texture Mapping Units80
Render Output Units32
Memory 2GB GDDR5
Memory Interface 256 bit
Memory TypeGDDR5
Memory Clock 1400MHz (Effective 5600Mhz)
DirectX® Support11.2
OpenGL4.4
OpenCL1.2
MantleYes
Shader Model5
Feature Support 
CrossFireX™ or SLI Technology Yes CrossFireX™ (Up to 2 GPU’s)
AMD Powertune TechnologyYes
Eyefinity or Surround Technology Yes (3 Monitors)
Maximum Number of Displays3
Video Codec Support H.264, MPEG,

MPEG-2, VC-1, BLU-RAY 3D

Yes
Display Support 
VGA OutputNo
DVI OutputYes – SL-DVI-I
DisplayPort Yes
HDMIYes
HDCP SupportYes
Maximum Resolution 
VGAvia adapter
DVI2560×1600
DisplayPort4096×2160
HDMI4096×2160
Power Specs + Board Dimensions 
Dimensions10″ x 4.4″
TDP180W
Minimum System Power requirement (W)500W2 x 6 Pin
External Power Connector  

A Closer Look

It’s quite obvious from this angle that the PowereColor 270X Devil means business. The fan shrourd is made from stamped metal versus the plastic versions that most other cards use.

The large fans help keep this Devil cool. The red accents are also made from metal.

Unlike most cards in this class, the Devil also features a backplate. The Devil logo and R9 270X lettering in white. It is deatails like these that keep anyone from confusing the Devil with a run of the mill R9 207X.

The The PowerColor Radeon R9 270X Devil has a 180 watt TDP, requiring only two 6 pin connectors to power it.

A DVI, HDMI, and 2 Mini DisplayPorts supply the monitor connections. An adapter allows hook up to a VGA equipped monitor via the DVI connector.

On to Testing.

System Configuration, Installation, and Performance Testing

Testing Setup

Testing Hardware

Gigabyte GA-Z97-SOC Force Motherboard

Intel Core i7 4790K Processor

Kingston HyperX Beast 16GB 2400MHz Memory

Crucial M550 256GB Solid State Drive

Custom Water Cooling

In Win GRone Case

XFX PRO850W XXX Edition 850w Silver Power Supply

 

Software

Microsoft Windows 7 Home 64-bit SP1

AMD Catalyst 14.4

Sapphire Trixx

Geeks3D Furmark

TechPowerUp GPU-Z

CPUID HWMonitor

 

Synthetic BenchMarks

Futuremark – 3DMark (DX11)

Maxon – Cinebench R15 (OpenGL)

 

Game BenchMarks

Sega – Aliens versus Predator (DX9)

2K Games – Bioshock: Infinite (DX11)

Codemasters – Dirt 3(DX11)

Deep Silver – Metro: Last Light(DX11)

SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive – Thief (DX11 and Mantle)

SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive – Tomb Raider(DX11)

 

Testing Environment

Performance testing consists two sets of tests, synthetic benchmarks and actual game benchmarks. Between the two synthetic benchmarks and five game benchmarks; we are able to test OpenGL, DirectX 9.0C, DirectX 11, and Mantle application programming interface (API) environments. Synthetic benchmarks are run at their default settings. For gaming benchmarks, the first set of tests is at a 1366 x 768 resolution and medium detail settings . This is the test where most medium range cards will typically perform well. The second set of tests is at 1920×1080 resolution and at more demanding detail settings. This is the test where most higher price range cards will typically perform well.

Games are chosen using four criteria: 1) Each game must be a well known title. 2)Each game must have it’s own built-in benchmark. 3) Each game must be on a game engine that is different from the other games or utilize it’s game engine in a way that is unique from the other games used. 4) Each game must be free of continuous patch updates, to ensure a consistent environment for future graphics card testing.

Mechanical drives are eliminated in the test system, to alleviate any I/O-related bottlenecks. All testing was done with an Intel i1 4790K processor clocked at 4.7 GHz.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home 64-bit SP1 is chosen as the operating system, due to it being the most common operating system currently in use. Only the most current non-beta release drivers are used for testing, unless specifically stated otherwise.

 

Synthetic testing is up first.

Synthetic Benchmark Results

3DMark – Firestrike

“The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it’s not just for Windows. With 3DMark you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too. It’s the most powerful and flexible 3DMark we’ve ever created.

 

Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today”

 

CINEBENCH R15

“CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.”

 

Game Benchmark Results

Aliens versus Predator

“Bringing the legendary war between two of science-fiction’s most popular characters to FPS fans, AvP delivers three outstanding single player campaigns and provides untold hours of unique 3-way multiplayer gaming.

Experience distinctly new and thrilling first person gameplay as you survive, hunt and prey in the deadly jungles and swamps surrounding the damned colony of Freya’s Prospect. “

Aliens versus Predator is the oldest game in our benchmark suite and the only only that uses DirectX 9.0C versus DirectX 11. Released in 2010, it was developed by Rebellion and published by Sega. It uses the Asura game engine and has the lowest recommended systems requirements in our game benchmark suite.

 

 

Bioshock: Infinite

“Indebted to the wrong people, with his life on the line, veteran of the U.S. Cavalry and now hired gun, Booker DeWitt has only one opportunity to wipe his slate clean. He must rescue Elizabeth, a mysterious girl imprisoned since childhood and locked up in the flying city of Columbia.”

Bioshock: Infinite, developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games, is the third iteration of the Bioshock franchise. It uses the extremely popular Unreal 3 game engine and is one of the best looking games of 2013.

 

Dirt 3

“Get ready for DiRT 3! Race through the snow, rain and dirt and experience dramatic night races with the most amount of rally content in the series yet.

Powered by Codemasters’ award-winning EGO Engine, DiRT 3 features Flashback to rewind time and genre-leading damage. DiRT 3 is the ultimate off-road race.”

Codemasters’ 2011 Dirt 3 is possibly the most popular rally racing game ever created. It uses the EGO 2.0 game engine, which is also used in Codemasters follow up to Dirt 3, Dirt: Showdown.

 

Game testing continued on next page.

Game Benchmark Results Continued

Metro: Last Light

“It Is the Year 2034. Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro, the remnants of mankind are besieged by deadly threats from outside – and within. Mutants stalk the catacombs beneath the desolate surface, and hunt a midst the poisoned skies above.”

Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, Metro: Last Light uses the 4A game engine. At it’s highest settings, the 4A game engine is capable of bringing all but the most extreme gaming systems to their knees.

 

 

Thief

“Garrett, the Master Thief, steps out of the shadows into the City. In this treacherous place, where the Baron’s Watch spreads a rising tide of fear and oppression, his skills are the only things he can trust. Even the most cautious citizens and their best-guarded possessions are not safe from his reach.”

Thief was developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive. The newest game in our benchmark suite, Thief is also one of the most demanding and has the highest recommended system requirements. Those heavy requirements allow it to use the Unreal 3 game engine to great effect. It also features AMD’s Mantle API, as well as Microsoft’s common DirectX 11 API.

 

Tomb Raider

“Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.”

Tomb Raider was developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive. It features a modified version of the Crystal game engine and was the first game to integrate AMD’s TressFX 2.0, which adds hair, fur and grass physics.

 

Total Average FPS

All the averages from all the game benchmarks are added up a totaled. This allows for a complete look at the overall performance compared to each of the other graphics card.

Overclocking

I started overclocking the R9 270X using AMD’s own Catalyst utility. The video card is voltage limited to a maximum of 1.3 volts and I was unable to adjust the voltage beyond the power limit of +20%. I tweaked the core speed first and then moved onto the memory speed. At this point the Devil was running 1260Mhz on the core and 1500MHz (6000MHz) on the memory. This was an increase of 7% for both. On an average, seeing in increase of around 4% percent increase in frame rates in our suite of benchmarks.

Temperatures

The Power Color Devil Radeon R9 270X ran rather cool. The 3 fan design allowed for a profile that is on the conservative side. I found no reason to adjust the fan profile further.

 

 

Noise

Noise is a very subjective thing. While measuring dB level of noise can tell you how loud something is, it does not tell you the quality of the noise. Human hearing is the most sensitive in the 4000Hz range. This is roughly the same pitch as a crying newborn baby or the old adage, nails on a chalkboard. The human brain is wired to react to this frequency range and when we are unable to stop the noise, we become agitated.

For this test, the best case scenario is absolute silence. For the worst case scenario, I use the most annoying sounding and loudest video card I have at my disposal, the Nvidia 7600GT. The PowerColor Devil Radeon R9 270X was extremely quiet. I rarely every noticed any fan noise while testing and then it was only when the covers were off the test system.

 

The Conclusion and Final Thoughts are next.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

The Devil Radeon R9 270X 2GB certainly has a menacing appearance to back up it’s menacing appearance. The performance backs that up as well. It is quite capable of playing almost any game at maximum settings. Those it can not play at maximum setting, usually only need the AA turned down slightly. It also seemed quite happy at it’s job. It was always cool and quite, rarely making any noise that would let you know it was working.

Overclocking is a bit limited though. This should not be to surprising, given the Devil’s already high core base clock. I was expecting the memory to overclock better then it did. 1500 MHz is only 7% higher then the base memory clock of 1400 Mhz. The R9 270X is not particularly memory bandwidth starved, so increasing the the memory clock do not have a dramatic impact on performance. Still it would have been nice to see a some extra MHz here.

PowerColor has taken a direct shot at the enthusiast with the Devil Radeon R9 270X 2GB. It has the performance to back up it’s looks and at $229.99 online, it is also at a very competitive price. It feels like you are getting a limited edition graphics cards, without the limited edition price.

Likes

  • Unique Cosmetics
  • Quite Operation
  • Reasonable Price

Dislikes

  • Limiting Overclocking Ability

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. altshep123

    August 30, 2014 at 10:12 am

    My favorite part about this
    My favorite part about this card is probably the all-metal stamped enclosure. Decent benchmarks, but I couldn’t resist spending a bit more to go up to a 280 or a GTX 770.

  2. Admin1

    August 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Really good review !
    Great job on the Power Color Devil R9 270X review !

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