R9 290 was a great product for the money and definitely beat the 780 which had already been on the market for several months. The problem is, Nvidia knew AMD was launching the R9 290 soon and the 780 was a cut-down GK110. GTX 780 Ti launched only 2 weeks after R9 290 with a fully-enabled GK110 chip. That was enough for NV to reclaim the performance crown. Couple that with a price cut to the 780, and NV's vastly superior drivers (I know, I owned 2x 780s in SLI and 5x 290s during this timeframe - the 780s had way fewer problems) was able to maintain their marketshare until Maxwell launched the next year. AMD has been playing catch-up ever since.