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IT & Systems Management

AMD rounds out its low-end Radeon graphics cards

AMD launched the Radeon R9 270 graphics card on Wednesday, the latest step on an ongoing march into the budget graphics-card space.

AMD said that cards based on the R9 270 would be priced at about $179, a step below the $199 R9 270X that the company announced in September. AMD's new card, for now, stands at the lowest rung of the price-performance ladder.

While tests will have to determine the effective perormance of the cards, AMD's own tests promise at least 30 frames per second on a bevy of popular games, including Battlefield 3, Bioshock Infinite, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution, Saints Row IV, and the latest Tomb Raider remake. All of the teests were performed at 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, with 4X multisampling and anti-aliasing, as well as "ultra quality" settings. For comparison's sake, the top-of-the-line R9 290X generated about 75 frames per second on the new Tomb Raider at 2,560-by-1,600 resolution--but at an average price of about $549, too. In Battlefield 4, AMD is promising performance on par with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 760.

From a specs perspective, the R9 270 contains 1,280 stream processors, with a graphics engine clocked at 925 MHz. The GPU's compute performance is 2.37 teraflops. While the onlboard memory is just 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, the consolation is that it uses just 150 watts of power.

With cards promised from Asus, HIS, MSI, PowerColor, and Sapphire, gamers should have a number of options--each promises a tweak or two, including memory, clock speed, or cooling features. And the R9 270X offers an affordable step up for those who need a bit of extra oomph.

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