Regular readers of OC3D, and if you're not then you should be, know that we don't like to muck about with pretending we have a card on hand when we don't. Honesty builds trust and we think that if you can't trust our previews you can't trust our reviews. So rather than say we have one and then use official press photos that everyone else uses, we only tell you our thoughts once we've got it in our sweaty mitts. Now AMD have finally sent one, here is our first look at the R9 295X2, and at least you know we've really got it.
We've often commented about how well AMD have returned to the high-end GPU market with their latest Rx range of GPUs. The R9 290 and R9 290X in particular are a match for the nVidia models, and it's been a couple of generations since we could lay that claim at the door of AMD.
Not one to rest on their laurels AMD have combined two of their Hawaii XT GPUs that are normally found at the heart of the R9 290X and combined them into a single board. It's a return to the days of 4870X2's and HD7990's. Today, thanks to PowerColor, we can bring you a first look at the R9 295X2.
The biggest problem with any twin-GPU card is keeping the thing cool, especially with the toasty nature of the latest high-end Radeon ones, and to this end the 295X2 comes equipped with an AIO water-cooling solution. All-In-One water-cooling has come on leaps and bounds in recent times, so it seems like the perfect opportunity to utilise this technology to keep the card cool.
Here's what they have to say :
The latest R9 295X2 is loaded with plenty of features. The AMD TrueAudio technology shapes a new future of PC gaming sounds like, delivering a richer and more immersive gaming soundscape. With Mantle support, gamers are able to reach new heights of performance by speaking the language of GCN architecture. With 4 mini DisplayPort plus 1 DL-DVI-D output, users are allowed to run multiple displays from a single graphics board and expand your gaming field of view across all displays.
It almost doesn't matter what number you believe to be a high one, the 295X2 definitely has you covered. 4K support? Yes sir. More shaders than you can shake a stick at? You better believe it. The power requirements are enormous and, as we'll see on the next page, not something that PowerColor take lightly.
|Graphics Engine||RADEON R9 295X2|
|Video Memory||8GB GDDR5|
|Engine Clock||up to 1018MHz|
|Memory Clock||1250MHz x 4 (5.0 Gbps)|
|Memory Interface||512bit X2|
|Bus Standard||PCIE 3.0|
|Standard Display Connectors||Dual-link DVI-D / 4 X mini DisplayPort|
|ATI Stream Technology||Support|
|ATI Eyefinity Technology||Support|
|DVI Output||Dual Link DVI-D x1|
|DisplayPort||On Board(Mini DP) x4|
|HDMI||Single (By Adapter)|
|Minimum System Power requirement (W)||1000W (Power connectors capable of supplying 28A of dedicated current per connectors)|
|Extention Power Connector||two 8-pin PCI Express Power connectors|
First Look Part One
We're massive fans of the trend towards simpler box art, and the PowerColor 295X2 definitely gets the job done. The front is both bold and yet minimalist, and the reverse has all the information you need. Although we might all understand how a liquid-cooler of this nature works, not everyone does and so the decision to make it clear is a good one.
Inside the box everything is very well packaged as you would expect from a card at this end of the price spectrum. High density foam keeps everything in place, and the radiator is positioned in such as way as to insure the tubing doesn't get kinky.
PowerColor mention some light-up goodness in their press pack, so make sure you watch our video to see if this translucent fan has a trick up its sleeve.
We did say that the power requirements of the R9 295X2 are steep, and certainly there is a large warning notice ensuring you don't try and run this off a unbranded 400W PSU.
Here it is in all its glory. It's a refinement of the water-cooling option we've seen on a handful of graphics cards so far, and we can't wait to find out in our full review how well this keeps two 290X GPUs cool. A monster backplate and all-metal shroud really add a sense of quality to proceedings.
First Look Part Two
We told you that they took the power requirements seriously. We can't remember the last time there were so many warning stickers. We do love the big Radeon logo though, and the slotted nature of the cooler is aesthetically pleasing. It's good to see it's only two 8-Pins.
It's a great looking card. We like an all-metal construction, especially on a high-end model. The extra rigidity it provides, as well as the aura of quality, definitely ticks all our boxes.
Designed around a need for a 4K compatible graphics card, the 295X2 doesn't only cover a 4K display, but with DVI and four DisplayPorts it has all your needs catered for, whether it's a single monster display, or a whole wall of monitors in Eyefinity. It's particularly pleasing to see it's rigidly keeping to the dual-slot format as well.
With the combination of two R9 290X GPUs on the R9 295X2 as well as AMD's emerging technologies such as Mantle and their TrueAudio built in DSP, this PowerColor R9 295X2 has all the potential to be a game-changing graphics card. Factory fitted watercooling, gorgeous shroud and more beef than a herd of cattle, we can't wait to see how it performs in our full review.
Now stop gawping and watch our video preview :
Let us know what you think in the OC3D Forums.