Friday Tech Roundup (13 December 2013): Radeon R9 290X review boards faster than retail

AMD Radeon R9 290X

By on December 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of the Radeon R9 290X press board vs. retail board performance discrepancy, the surveillance petition to the US government from major US corporations, and the South Australian anti-gambling campaign that demonises videogames.

AMD Radeon R9 290X retail boards initially slower than press review samples

Multiple outlets have reported that Radeon R9 290X review samples provided by AMD have been outperforming the retail boards available to the public. The talented folks over at Maximum PC have performed a detailed analysis of the situation, and have found some interesting results that have to do with the card’s new variable fan speed and maximum clock speed tech. With the original Beta 9 drivers, there was a clear advantage found in the press review board for every single executed benchmark. After a statement from AMD that cited a driver issue as the root of the problem, new drivers were issued which improved the situation considerably, with a far more even spread shown in benchmark results. Maximum PC closes its analysis with a wary caution, and notes that the price-to-performance on the R9 290X puts the vanilla R9 290 on the top in terms of value for money. As always, check recent and trusted reviews before committing to a purchase.

South Australian government anti-gambling campaign demonises videogames

For someone into videogames, or for someone that encourages their children to try videogames, it will be difficult to look at the South Australian government’s latest anti-gambling advertising campaign and not take it personally. In a startling leap in logic, the slogan for the campaign reads “gambling starts with games,” and depicts a young girl using an iPad while sitting at a poker table with chips and cards strewn about. The URL for the campaign is In a statement to Gizmodo AU, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said “Our Children, Technology and Gambling policy is about ensuring young people experience the fun and social interaction of being online, while keeping them safe from harm. It is not about being the fun police. It is not about demonising people who play online games. The campaign is confronting – it depicts some of the very real dangers of gambling-like games and apps. But the key to our policy is working with parents and teachers to ensure young people make good choices about the games they play. It was never the intention of the campaign to target gaming and gamers. The campaign is about targeting those games that lead children into gambling and to help parents be better informed about the games their children are accessing. The Government will ensure that the future phases of the campaign make that clear.”

Major US corporations petition government on the topic of surveillance

Since Edward Snowden released information that shed light on just how much personal information is captured by the US government, a number of large corporations have worked together to put forward an open letter to Washington, calling for serious surveillance reform. Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple, Linkedin, Twitter, Yahoo, and AOL are all listed on the Reform Government Surveillance website as supporters of the initiative, with a number of CEOs quoted speaking out against unregulated government data mining. The reform is based on five principals: Limiting governments’ authority to collect users’ information, oversight and accountability, transparency about government demands, respecting the free flow of information, and avoiding conflicts among governments. For more detail, visit the Reform Government Surveillance website.

Latest US spy satellite is launched sporting an intimidating octopus

In related news, the US Office of National Intelligence recently tweeted a photo from the launch of its NROL-39 spy satellite, which has prompted some outcry for the tone-deaf logo adorning its side. With the slogan “Nothing is beyond our reach,” the mission patch features an interplanetary octopus wrapping its tentacles around the earth. “NROL-39 is represented by the octopus, a versatile, adaptable, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide, “ says National Reconnaissance Office spokesperson Karen Furguson. “’Nothing is beyond our reach’ defines this mission and the value it brings to our nation and the warfighters it supports, who serve valiantly all over the globe, protecting our nation.” NROL-39 was launched last Thursday, with a classified payload.

Ninja Sphere to automate your home with beautiful open source hardware

Ninja Blocks, a Sydney-based startup founded by Marcus Schappi, Madeleine, and Mark Wotton in January 2012, is currently raising funds for its new system to automate your home using beautiful new open-source hardware. The Ninja Sphere can be used to remotely control devices in your home such as lights or heating, track the location of your devices, houseguests, and pets using Trilateration, and provide warnings if intruders are in your home or moving your precious items. The Kickstarter video will provide clarification, though it should be noted that the system is still in development, and as such, many of the demonstrations have likely been staged for the video.

11 comments (Leave your own)

Had a look at the pics of the satellite launch and I just kept thinking KERBALS!


AMD, what the hell is going on with those cards? That article documents that you folks are all over the place! Something tells me you shipped these board earlier than you should of. Get your crap together, AMD.

“Latest US spy satellite is launched sporting an intimidating octopus”

Soooooo, like this I assume…



I …. uhhh .. what? WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST WATCH?!


I think there is a deficiency in the nomenclature which may cause some conflation: Gaming can mean videogaming or more traditionally gambling.



That was an ad for a French PMC in Metal Gear Solid 4. It was shown before the game as well as others:

The latter is my favourite.

They were shown as well as other TV spots made by Logan that were designed to immerse the player in what 2015 is like in Kojima’s world…


There is some clever plays going on by AMD. They are gaming Nvidia nicely. The GTX780Ti’s are pretty much the limit they can push their cards and the aftermarket cooler versions of the R9 290/X’s haven’t even been released. Reports coming in are that the AM cooler versions are ripping up the charts performance wise ;)



the reviews for those are coming online now… Gigabyte was one of the first ones released.

Nasty Wet Smear

“gambling starts with games,”

I kinda think most gambling is more gambling than game. You take Hold’em for example. If you take away the gambling, you don’t really have a game. You all sit there and get a couple cards and, if you’re lucky, yours are slightly better. No skill, no challenge… Just waiting for the flop to see if you got lucky.

Now, add gambling? Suddenly it’s a challenge. You have to convince everyone else at the table to bet in your favour… Do you want them to put in heaps of money to call a bluff that doesn’t exist? Do you want them to fold and surrender the pot to you?… Same rule applies to the Pokies. Without money going in and out of the machine you’re just pressing a button to see if matching icons pop up. With money you’re waiting for something to happen! There’s something in it…

Without money, gambling isn’t a game. Maybe gambling doesn’t start with games, but some games need gambling. Hmmmm.

… Hmmm. I wonder if war starts with contact sports?


nastywetsmear: Hmmm. I wonder if war starts with contact sports?

It irritates me that this state can’t afford proper equipment for its public schools but it can waste money on this shit.


I think there is a deficiency in the nomenclature which may cause some conflation: Gaming can mean videogaming or more traditionally gambling.

No, they are not confused. They are definitely saying that videogames can lead to gambling.

Nasty Wet Smear

caitsith01: No, they are not confused.They are definitely saying that videogames can lead to gambling.

I’ll bet you they don’t!! $20?… $100!… $5,000, I’ll take a loan out, but if they spin it so that neither of us are right you have to cover the interest! C’mon! YOU CHICKEN?! BET ME!

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