AMD launces the R9 295X2, a faster than full speed dual Hawaii card

Top end, they name is still Hawaii but thy number is five more now

AMD Radeon Logo 2013AMD is launching the new water-cooled dual Hawaii GPU called the R9 295X2, the fastest graphics card in the world. It also sheds light on the biggest mystery of the past few weeks, why Nvidia paper launched the at the time non-existent Titan Z.

So here are the details, take two full Hawaiis at slightly higher than 290X clocks and put them on a PCB. Add Asetek water cooling and a metal shroud and backplate. Take nothing away, nothing fused off, and nothing removed, the 500W TDP is twice that of the R9 290X so that is what you would expect. It looks like this.

AMD R9 295X2 card

An R9 295X2 card all blowed up like

On the card itself the Asetek cooler is a permanently sealed unit so no worries there. Asetek tends to do higher end solutions and a lot of server work now so we don’t think the sealing will be a problem for the life of the card. If nothing else it should be really quiet and that 18MHz clock bump is reflected in all the performance stats. If you think about how PowerTune 2.0 works and how it bounds clock speed, the R9 295X2 should be an overclocking monster.

All that said no one at SemiAccurate has ever seen one, heard one, or has a clue about how well it works in the real world but some people we know have. AMD didn’t provide any numbers in the slide decks but we wouldn’t repeat them without verification anyway. That said it should perform like two Hawaii’s in Crossfire with a little overhead loss from PCIe width balanced by the minor speed bump.

The interesting part about this is what we couldn’t say until now, Nvidia’s paper launch of the dual core Titan Z at GTC a few weeks ago. It is a 500W, 12GB, $3000 card of unspecified performance other than 8TF. So for only twice the $1499 of the R9 295X you get 4GB more total GPU memory and 70% of the floating point performance but no water cooling.

Since the Titan Z didn’t have a specified clock or ship date, anyone think Nvidia got wind of the R9 295X2 and decided to preempt the announcement? It looks like they didn’t get the specs or pricing of the 295 because they were way way off the price and performance mark. AMD is ~2X the cost of the 290X and ~2X the performance of the 290X. Nvidia is a claimed ~2X the performance but ~3X the cost. Between this disparity and the lack of a ship date, it screams reactionary. The R9 295X2 is quite real but is the Titan Z another puppy?S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate