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AMD's latest graphics card is a steal at $549

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AMD Radeon 290X
AMD Radeon 290X

It's tough to think of any $549 PC component as a great value, but that's exactly what reviewers are saying today about AMD's latest graphics card, the Radeon R9 290X. It may cost more than either the Xbox One or the PS4, but the 290X still justifies its existence with an unequaled price-to-performance ratio: there's universal agreement that it matches the performance of Nvidia's $999 Titan card. Compared to its most direct competitor, the GeForce GTX 780, the new Radeon establishes a clear lead while maintaining a $100 price advantage. It's all good news. Well, almost.

Matches the performance of Nvidia's $999 Titan

In pushing for the title of being the best GPU for PC gamers with an earthly budget, AMD has had to make a couple of compromises. One is power consumption, which was aggressively high for all reviewers, another is temperature, and the third, a corollary of the foregoing, is noise. In short, the Radeon R9 290X squeezes every last drop of performance out of the silicon within it, resulting in hot operation and a necessarily loud fan. Those needn't be deal breakers for the enthusiast willing to customize his own cooling solution or tolerate a bit of vroom from his gaming tower, but are important points to consider. Hit the links below for the detailed in-game comparisons between Nvidia's best and AMD's latest.