The simple fact right up front here is that the AMD R7 260X and R9 270X are an evolution of what saw with the Bonaire and Pitcairn products. Mind-blowing performance isn’t what AMD is about these days, and these cards are proof of that. Rather, it’s more about extending the shelf life and relevance of what we originally saw in the 7000 series cards, refreshed and repackaged into cards that look to offer good gaming value for consumers.
That said, you don’t get the full benefit of all the new features on the 260X and 270X, as those are relegated to the upper echelon 280X and 290X. You will, however, get great support for OpenGL, DirectX11.2 and AMDs Mantle API. You also get 1080p gaming at high settings and of course the 4K UltraHD gaming & movie capabilities. Neither of these cards push enough horsepower for 4K gaming, but CrossFire on the 270X is an option.
With a healthy factory overclock out the box, both HIS cards produce strong performance against the competition, though it must be noted the competition is actually previous-gen Nvidia products for the most part. You do get newer tech here on the HIS cards, of course,
There isn’t much to be noted for overclocking these cards beyond what you already get, since diminishing returns will restrict you. You may get a few percentage points, but nothing really worth getting excited about. In terms of value, the HIS R7 260X iPower IceQ X2 retails for about $140, while the R9 270X iCooler IceQ X2 Turbo goes for about $220. Keep in mind these are the top overclock models, so there is a bit of a price premium here. We think it’s good value for what you get, including great performance and coolers that run nearly silent. Nvidia has recently announced price drops of some of their products, so that does diminish the value here just a bit.
That said, we continue to be impressed by HIS cards, though the R9 270X here is definitely the better card. We expect the R7 260X to attract budget-oriented consumers who want a good upgrade on the cheap that doesn’t compromise respectable gaming performance. On the R9 270X side of the equation, we expect mid-range budget seekers will gravitate to this, as Nvidia doesn’t quite have anything in their current lineup that hits this combination of performance and pricing.
If you are looking to jump into the new AMD lineup and are looking for a card that’s sleek and quiet, we recommend giving HIS a serious look.
HIS R9 270X IceQ X2 Turbo
HIS R7 260X iPower IceQ X2