AMD's R7 series, comprising their entry- to mid-level discrete GPUs based on the Graphics Core Next architecture, have been part of the overall product range since the mid-October refresh. In that time there have been a number of additions occupying ever thinner performance tiers, but the R7 260X had remained at the top of the tree. Until now.
Today AMD are announcing the Radeon R7 265, a SKU which will head the R7-series and offer better value from a price/performance perspective. It comes with 14% more shaders than the R7 260X, 64 rather than 56 texture fill units, 32 ROPs and most importantly a 256-bit memory interface for its 2GB GDDR5 VRAM.
If those specifications seem familiar it's certainly understandable. With the exception of important memory frequency and clock-speed tweaks the R7 265 is effectively a rebranding of the Radeon HD7850, a mid-range powerhouse from the previous generation. This Pitcairn-based GPU should therefore exhibit important performance gains over the R7 260X, as well as being compatible with AMD's Mantle, Eyefinity and CrossFire technologies. In their notes AMD are pitching an improvement of approximately 25% over other GPUs in its class, but this will vary significantly on a game-by-game basis.
Unfortunately the card will not be compatible with TrueAudio, a technology that is still exclusive to the R7 260X, R9 290 and R9 290X. That's somewhat disappointing given its upcoming début in THIEF on the 28th, and we hope those who pick up a Radeon R7 265 aren't under any misapprehensions.
Radeon R7 265 cards will be available later this month through AIB partner designs starting at $149 / 109 + VAT. These will all come with partner cooling solutions, exhibiting better thermal and noise profiles than an AMD reference design. The R7 260X will undergo a commensurate immediate price correction to $119 / 89 + VAT.
As with the R7 250X earlier this week this new release isn't 'new silicon', but rather a reordering of the product stack to insert refreshed designs. Whilst the GPU has undergone a performance tweak the card remains an HD 7850 under the hood, so it's effectively a known quantity in the market. Its re-release may be a pre-emptive move to compete with the expected unveiling of NVIDIA's first Maxwell GPU, but it's not clear exactly where that new GPU will sit performance or feature-wise. We can only suggest you stay tuned.