Sapphire Radeon R9 290 4GB TRI-X OC vs. EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SC ACX 2.0 4GB


Jan 15, 2010
I'm building a new rig and I finally have the money to get the GPU, I'm probably going to buy one of the following cards in the next couple of days, but I was wondering which one I should go with based on performance and their current price.

SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290 OC TRI-X=$280


EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SC ACX 2.0=$330

Tor Jakobsen

Jan 10, 2015
If you read, please read everything before/if starting to argue!!
I just upgraded yesterday to Sapphire Tri-x 290 "oc" from HD 6870. And i did some research if Sapphire 290 Tri-x "oc" or Gtx 970 is best. Most people say that Gtx 970 is best, which i dont actually belive. And from what i see; if you have a good PSU and dont really care about the noise, then you should pick the Tri-x. Its alot cheaper, and on my computer it runs Battlefield 4 and Far cry 4 on ultra with minimum 45 FPS (i dont have the best cpu and ram, so i am suprised it could even go to 45 FPS xD). The 290 Tri-x should also be just as good (if not better) as a single R9 290x. Here are my proofs that the normal R9 290 (the not overclocked Tri-x) is better than GTX 970:

Memory Bandwidth of the normal R9 290: 320000 MB/sec which is alot better than the GTX 970 which runs 224000 MB/sec. (43% difference)
So in that way the normal Radeon R9 290 (keep in mind this is not the Tri-x i'm talking about) should theoretically perform much faster than the GeForce GTX 970 overall.

Texel rate of the normal R9 290: 128000 Mtexels/sec, again it beats the GTX 970 which runs 109200 Mtexels/sec. (17% difference)
The Radeon R9 290 will be a little bit faster with regards to anisotropic filtering than the GeForce GTX 970

GTX 970 beats the R9 290's pixel rate though. With 67200 Mpixels/sec it beats the 290 which only have 51200 Mpixels/sec by about 31%. So if you are running with a high screen resolution, the GTX 970 is something for you. (I would still choose Tri-x R9 290)

(other facts):

Bus width and type:
GTX 970: 256-bit GDDR5.
R9 290: 512-bit GDDR5
the bit rate determines how fast the memory and the GPU can talk to each other, basically; a higher bit interface, the faster they can talk. (R9 290 wins by far)

Unified Shaders;
GTX 970: 1664
R9 290: 2560
(Doesn't have to be better because of how many unified shaders, it has something to do with how it's scheduled and i'm not sure which scheduler is better on the graphic cards)

Texture Mapping Units;
GTX 970: 104 (109200 texture file rate)
R9 290: 160 (128000 texture file rate)
Texture units (aka TMUs or texture mapping units) map textures onto 3D geometry.
Bonus: The texture file rate is calculated by multiplying texture mapping units and core clock of graphic card.

So... Even the GTX 970 have a higher core/memory clock speed than the R9 290, i would still very much prefer the R9 290 card. AND especially the Tri-x as that one is overclocked, and have much better cooling.

Fast look on Sapphire Tri-x:

Core clock speed;
GTX 970: 1050 MHz
Tri-x: 1000 Mhz (Normal R9 290 only have 800 Mhz)

Memory speed;
GTX 970: 7000 Mhz effective
Tri-x: 5200 Mhz effective

Texture fill rate;
GTX 970 as said: 109200
Tri-x: 160000

OK. Done. in my opinion, you should choose the Sapphire Tri-x and not the GTX 970 nor the normal R9 290. I think it's waste of moneys if you buy GTX 970 instead of Tri-x. And btw. Tri-x is not really loud - well i dont think it is. Thank you for reading why i think the (gotta say the name one last time so people get which card i mean) Sapphire R9 290 Tri-x "oc" is better
Ps: I'm not a pro at this sh*t, and i used Google alot to find my Intel. AND i am not an AMD or Nvidia fan. If i am anything then it's both Nvidia and AMD fan. I have a GTX card on one of my computers and R9 card on the other. So i'm not trying to defend AMD, i'm just saying my opinion



Nov 29, 2013

It all depends on what you want.

If you have, or plan to, get a QHD or above monitor, the 290 is a better choice, If you plan to stay at 1080p or below, the 970 will peform *slightly* better, Mind that the 970 *won't* work with the newer display port 1.2a monitors.


In response to Tor Jakobsen's post, Using something like GPUBoss etc.. is not a good way to compare graphic cards.
The R9 290 and GTX 9770 uses a completely different architecture.
You cannot compare clock speed and memory speed with an AMD and Nvidia GPU since both are different architecture.

Pixel and texture rate doesn't mean anything on its own.
The higher bit rate doesn't mean it is always faster if the GPU chip can't utilise it. So saying that since the R9 290 has a 512 bit automatically make it faster is wrong.

Monitor resolution will be a factor. For 4k ,the R9 290 pulls slightly ahead. The GTX 970 also perform similar to the R9 290 at 4k. At 1080p, the GTX 970 is seen to be ahead in certain games.

How the game was coded will change how well each card will do. An nvidia game like AC-Unity will favour Nvidia gpu over AMD. Driver optimization will affect how well the gpu will perform. Only both good hardware and software will push a graphic card to its maximum potential.

As you mentioned, price is a factor between both. The R9 290 is mostly likely to be cheaper than the GTX 970 for now. Some people are happy with the performance of the R9 290 with a lower cost.

You cannot say R9 290 is better until you considered price, the OP's complete build and if the OP's wants any of the features offered by Nvidia or AMD e.g G-sync, DSR, Shadowplay, Freesync, VSR...

To the OP about the Pick your path promotion, check if there are any retailers in your country still offering this as I expect supplies to be low or gone. The promotion ends on the 31st January officially. I would not choose a gpu based on the games coupons offered.


Jun 2, 2015
I have been wondering the same thing for literally weeks now. Ive done SOO much research and my conclusion that i came too is that the 970 is better. Not only did i read all the info about clock speeds and what not, and checked every benchmark that exists. i also Went to a friends house who builds computers for a living.. he has both cards but sitting in their boxes ( he makes video reviews online) , He told me right off the bat 970 is better in almost every way. Also its well known the 970 runs MUCH cooler then the 290, and when a card is cooler it runs better. But i wanted more proof for myself cuz i was going to order a card the next day.. We spent the next 6 hours, testing both cards. Trying different games and checking fps, running benchmarks, getting the fans to spin as hard as they can and listening to the noise ( which the 970 was like a mouse compared to the ROARING obnoxious fans of the 290.), He even switched to 4k res and pushed them as hard as he can for about an hour each. ( and still the 970 performed better and stayed MUCCCCHH COOLER , even though ppl say at 4k 290 pulls a little ahead..not from what i saw) i really think the fact that the 970 stays soo much cooler it helps it perform much better then its counterpart. In conclusion i decided on the 970 and im now waiting for mine to come in the mail :D , cant wait..

List of games we tried : Witcher 3, Farcry 4, Gta V, AC UNITY, Crysis 3,Cities Skylines, And Heroes of the storm lol ( had to try a blizzard game)

Ive always had a radeon.. Never owned a nvidia. but im glad i made the change for this card. GOODLUCK with ur purchase!!