AMD’s recent rebrand of the Radeon HD 7970 into R9 280X will be more than just a rebrand soon, according to rumors over at the OCAHolic forums. Their sources tell them that the Tahiti XT2 core will soon be replaced by a new one named Tahiti XTL.
Unfortunately that’s all we know at this point, so there is no information regarding what the change to Tahiti XTL will actually mean. Most likely it will have the same performance but maybe with a lower power consumption profile. I would also speculate that some of the extra features added to other new models, such as AMD TrueAudio and full DirectX 11.2 support will be added.
The story is that the R9 280X was originally intended to use Tahiti XTL, but it wasn’t ready for launch. Instead, the same Tahiti XT2 core from the HD 7970 was used, and a simple rebranding was done.
This is all very much in unsubstantiated rumor territory, and I wouldn’t recommend letting it affect your buying decision just yet. Unless it is significantly better, which is unlikely, the best buy right now is still the HD 7970 with its recent price reduction. After all, you still get three free games from the Never Settle Forever bundle; the R9 series don’t qualify for this offer.