When the R9 290X came out, we thought the performance was incredible for the price; it came very close to the GTX 780, which sparked Nvidia to release the new 780Ti, and the 290X maintained a very competitive price at the time of release. Overall, nothing bad could be said about the performance the card yielded.
However, it ran very hot for our liking. Despite AMD saying the 95 degrees Celsius temperatures were nothing to be afraid of on these cards, it still left many of us fearful about running a component that hot in our systems, as of course it heats everything else up with it! Along with running hot, the fan was rather loud too. Evidently, the R9 290X definitely had some serious potential, but it was let down by its cooler. Fortunately, the non-reference designed cards are now upon us. Will these be the savior of the 290X?
RushKit takes a look at the Asus R9 290X Direct CUII OC.
Graphics Engine AMD Radeon™ R9 290X
Bus Standard PCI Express® 3.0
Video Memory 4GB GDDR5
Engine Clock 1050 MHz
Memory Clock 5400 MHz (1350 MHz GDDR5)
Memory Interface 512 bit
DVI Output 2 x Native Dual-link DVI-D
HDMI Output 1 x Native
DisplayPort 1 x Native
HDCP Compliant YES
Dimension 11.3 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches
We really like the look of this. The R9 290X was on par with the much loved GTX 780 when it came out. However, in our tests, the GTX780 had the ability to overclock whilst staying in acceptable temperatures, meaning the 290X was left behind. Asus have put an end to that, with their factory overclocked card, which comes with one of the best GPU coolers on the market at this moment in time.
Like the standard R9 290X, the Asus DCII OC packs 4GB of vRAM, meaning regardless of whether you're running at 1920x1080, or 2560x1440, you should have no problems running your favourite game at maximum settings without being throttled by lack of vRAM. Asus have completely re-vamped the PCB on the DCII OC. They’ve added two extra power phases to the memory, and one extra to the GPU power delivery, meaning not only will the cooler aid in overclocking, but you’ll have extra support and potential from the PCB as well.
Asus have put a lot of effort into manufacturing the completely custom PCB to ensure it performs better than the reference model. They've employed 'Super Alloy Power Technology' into their capacitors and VRMs, which they claim adds two and half times the lifespan against the reference model. They also have implemented their DIGI+ VRM system, which we find on most of the Asus motherboards. This reduces the power noise by 30%, meaning you'll get a cleaner power delivery to the parts which need it, and also should eliminate any electrical noise the card may produce. In turn, not only do these reduce the noise and increase the lifespan, but they should also enable you to attain higher overclocks, leading to a potentially significant increase in performance in games.
Our initial thoughts of the reference 290X’s aesthetics weren’t great. We thought the cooler looked a little on the flimsy side and we weren’t a massive fan of the design either. However, we’re very impressed with the Asus DCII model so far. If you don’t have a red themed system, Asus include extra stickers to replace the standard red ones that come with it. It’s great to see a company doing this since it adds a little more customisability and no longer limits your choice of components to parts with a red theme.
We look forward to the review of this card as our expectations are very high. We all know how much power the R9 290X core contains, and finally we see a card able to utilize everything the card has to give!
Thank you to Asus for the card. You can discuss your thoughts over on the OC3D Forums.