The Rx 200 series was announced on September 25, 2013, at the AMD GPU14 Tech Day event. Non-disclosure agreements were lifted on October 15, except for the R9 290X, and pre-orders opened on October 3.
This article is about all products under the AMD Radeon Rx 200 Series brand.A GPU implementing Graphics Core Next 3 (Volcanic Islands) is found on the R9 285 (Tonga Pro) branded products.
A GPU implementing Graphics Core Next 2 (Sea Islands) is found on R7 260 (Bonaire), R7 260X (Bonaire XTX), R9 290 (Hawaii Pro), R9 290X (Hawaii XT), and R9 295X2 (Vesuvius) branded products.
A GPU implementing Graphics Core Next 1 (Southern Islands) is found on R9 270, 270X, 280, 280X, R7 240, 250, 250X, 265, and R5 240 branded products.
A GPU implementing TeraScale 2 (VLIW5) (Northern Islands or Evergreen) is found on R5 235X and "below" branded products.
The AMD Eyefinity-branded on-die display controllers were introduced in September 2009 in the Radeon HD 5000 Series and have been present in all products since.
AMD TrueAudio was introduced with the AMD Radeon Rx 200 Series, but can only be found on the dies of GCN 2/3 products.
AMD's SIP core for video acceleration, Unified Video Decoder and Video Coding Engine, are found on all GPUs and supported by AMD Catalyst and by the free and open-source graphics device driver.
Radeon GPUs once performed better in cryptocurrency mining than their Nvidia GeForce counterparts. This led to limited supply and huge price increases in Q4 of 2013 and Q1 of 2014. Since Q2 of 2014 availability of AMD GPUs as well as pricing has, in most cases, returned to normal.
Because many of the products in the range are rebadged versions of Radeon HD products, they remain compatible with the original versions when used in CrossFire mode. For example, the Radeon HD 7770 and Radeon R7 250X both use the 'Cape Verde XT' chip so have identical specifications and will work in CrossFire mode. This provides a useful upgrade option for anyone who owns an existing Radeon HD card and has a CrossFire compatible motherboard.
The Radeon R9 295X2 was released on April 21, 2014. It is a dual GPU card. Press samples were shipped in a metal case. It is the first reference card to utilize a closed looped liquid cooler. At 11.5 teraflops of computing power, the R9 295X2 was the most powerful dual-gpu consumer-oriented card in the world, until it was succeeded by the Radeon Pro Duo on April 26, 2016, which is essentially a combination of two (2) R9 Fury X (Fiji XT) GPUs on a single card. The R9 295x2 has essentially two R9 290x (Hawaii XT) GPUs each with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM.
The Radeon R9 290X, codename "Hawaii XT", was released on October 24, 2013 and features 2816 Stream Processors, 176 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 512-bit wide buses, 44 CUs (compute units) and 8 ACE units. The R9 290X had a launch price of $549.
The Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X were announced on September 25, 2013. The R9 290 is based on AMD's Hawaii Pro chip and R9 290X on Hawaii XT. R9 290 and R9 290X will support AMD TrueAudio, Mantle, Direct3D 11.2, and bridge-free Crossfire technology using XDMA. A limited "Battlefield 4 Edition" pre-order bundle of R9 290X that includes Battlefield 4 was available on October 3, 2013, with reported quantity being 8,000. The R9 290 had a launch price of $399.
The Radeon R9 285 was announced on August 23, 2014 at AMD's 30 years of graphics celebration and released September 2, 2014. It was the first card to feature AMD's GCN 3 microarchitecture, in the form of a Tonga-series GPU.
Radeon R9 280X was announced on September 25, 2013. With a launch price of $299, it is based on the Tahiti XTL chip, being a slightly upgraded, rebranded Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition.
Radeon R9 280 was announced on March 4, 2014. With a launch MSRP set at $279, it is based on a rebranded Radeon HD 7950 with an increased clock speed, from 725 MHz to 900 MHz.
Radeon R9 270X was announced on September 25, 2013. With a launch price of $199, it is based on the Curaçao XT chip, which was formerly called Pitcairn. It is speculated to be faster than a Radeon HD 7870 GHz edition. Radeon R9 270 has a launch price of $179.
Radeon R7 260X was announced on September 25, 2013. With a launch price of $139, it is based on the Bonaire XTX chip, a faster iteration of Bonaire XT that the Radeon HD 7790 is based on. It will have 2 GB of GDDR5 memory as standard and will also feature TrueAudio, on-chip audio DSP based on Tensilica HiFi EP architecture. The stock card features a boost clock of 1100 MHz. It has 2 Gbs of GDDR5 memory with a 6.5 GHz memory clock over a 128-bit Interface. The 260X will draw around 115 W in typical use.
Radeon R7 250 was announced on September 25, 2013. It has a launch price of $89. The card is based on the Oland core with 384 GCN cores. In February 10, 2014, AMD announced the R7 250X which is based on the Cape Verde GPU with 640 GCN cores and an MSRP of $99.
AMD Catalyst is being developed for Microsoft Windows and Linux. As of July 2014, other operating system are not officially supported. This may be different for the AMD FirePro brand, which is based on identical hardware but features OpenGL-certified graphics device drivers.
AMD Catalyst supports of course all features advertised for the Radeon brand.
The free and open-source drivers are primarily developed on Linux and for Linux, but have been ported to other operating systems as well. Each driver is composed out of five parts:
- Linux kernel component DRM
- Linux kernel component KMS driver: basically the device driver for the display controller
- user-space component libDRM
- user-space component in Mesa 3D;
- a special and distinct 2D graphics device driver for X.Org Server, which if finally about to be replaced by Glamor
The free and open-source "Radeon" graphics driver supports most of the features implemented into the Radeon line of GPUs. Unlike the nouveau project for Nvidia graphics cards, the open-source "Radeon" drivers are not reverse engineered, but based on documentation released by AMD.