The dust from the great GPU Battle of twenty-thirteen has long since settled. Nvidia claimed victories in both low thermal footprint and overall performance, while AMD walked away seizing the value trophy. The GTX 780 Ti and AMD R9 290 are the flagship offerings from each company and make no mistake. Each mighty card will have you gaming at the bleeding edge of performance and speed.
Yet, what about those who don’t want to game at the white-knuckle bleeding edge of master race gaming? What might be the best consumer level card, something can keep you around 60 frames per second and still maintain a 1080p display resolution in today’s modern games? The Visiontek R9 270x is just that card. It’s not very stylish and flaunts a modest heat sink and fan design. It’s all par for the course on a card targeting the $200-and-below price bracket. Style and flair are not on the menu of the coin-conscious gamer. But a reliable card that can go the distance when needed, is definitely what the gaming doctor ordered.
The VisionTek 270x is the first card where I feel I have to take the manufacture to task for the packaging. EVGA and Gigabyte use foam to better secure their GPUs from the evils of general entropy and butter-fingered delivery drivers. The use of cardboard can work, but here it was used sparingly leaving the card poorly secured. The flipside…? Cutting corners on packaging undoubtedly allows for a cheaper price tag at retail.
The contents are a simple cache of the bare essentials. You get the VisionTek R9 270x video card. Installation disk with drivers. These have been updated. They’re fine to use if you don’t have an internet connection at the time of install. But ideally you want to skip over to the official site or the AMD to get the most current set of drivers. You also receive a quick installation guide, DVI-to-VGA dongle and a pair of Molex 4-pin power cable attachments.
Graphics Engine: RADEON R9 270X
Video Memory: 2GB GDDR5
Memory Interface: 256-bit
DirectX® Support: 11.2
Bus Standard: PCI Express 3.0
Core Speed: 1030MHz (1080Mhz boost)
Memory Speed: 1400MHz x4 (5.6Gbps)
VGA Output: Using DVI to VGA adapter
DVI Output: SL-DVI-D + DL DVI-I
HDMI Output: HDMI (video/audio)
DisplayPort Output: DisplayPort (video/audio)
UEFI Ready: Support
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
The absence of any sort of physical game bundle is not surprising. But there’s no validation code for a free game download or in-game currency for one of the hotter free-2-play game titles. Bummer. Additionally a bridge for Crossfire multi-gpu support was not included. Yet the bridge often come with a motherboard. The VisionTek R9 270x does support crossfire, howver. So it can accommodate if you’re hopping to significantly boost your performance at a later date. Crossfire and Nvidia’s SLI tech are great ways to piecemeal additional performance. Buy one card now and another down the road. It’s “bloody brilliant.” While not in use, the Crossfire bridge connector is covered with a plastic cap to prevent dust build up and unwanted jostling.
Ok! VisionTek has made it clear, which market they are targeting. While this is definitely a budget card, it’s one of the best consumer level cards on the market and at this price point, it’s all win for gamers.
These are some of the more demanding games right now. Broderlands 2 is getting a bit long in the tooth but the heavy degree of physics calculations needed in areas like the game’s Sanctuary are still a great test. In Crysis 3, I ran the first couple levels. This is a gorgeous game that many feel you need either a console or a high end PC to enjoy the bells and whistles. That’s not so with the VisionTek R9 270x. As you can see Borderlands 2 performance beautifully on the 270x. I should also note, all the more demanding PhysX calculations are not supported on AMD cards and therefore not taxing the 270x card as such.
The VisionTek Radeon R9 270x is a great buy. The company was smart and opted against the reference cooler used by AMD. This custom design is far more efficient with significantly lower heat and noise footprint. If you’re eyeballing this one, then you know bleeding edge gaming is not in the cards for this one. But for a sub-$200 price tag this 270x from VisionTek is nailing the 1080p sweet spot of gaming better than the competition. The competition does sport some fancy extras like Shadowplay video recording and GeForce Experience one-stop game settings center. Yet if those of little interest to you, the by all means the VisionTek Radeon R9 270x comes highly recommended for penny-pinching gamers.
Excellent value for the performance. Solid 60+ FPS in most modern games. More efficient and quieter than reference design from AMD. Readily available. Crossfire supported.
Still struggles in some applications. Missing some premium features flaunted by the competition. Poor packaging. Ho-hum aesthetics.
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.