ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC Review

3D Mark 11

ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC Review

3D Mark 11

We see similar improvements in 3D Mark 11. 14415/4659 becomes 14815/4822 in 'out of the box' mode, and the extra cooling capability which allows us to overclock ends up bringing us 15655/5158 in overclocked trim. A good boost indeed. In fact in the P score department it's a match for the GTX780Ti, even if the Extreme preset doesn't find the 290X DCUII matching up.

ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC Review  

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Most Recent Comments

29-12-2013, 15:23:50

tinytomlogan
http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...082818185l.JPG

Today we're looking at the ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II, a card that hopes to fix the issues with the reference 290X. Is it successful?


Continue Reading

29-12-2013, 16:09:35

barnsley
Quote:
We'd like to see some blue stickers included to make the ASUS Pro range of motherboards, but that's nit-picking.
Oi asus do this. Also do it for the 280x and send me a sticker sheet as my red gpu doesn't go well with my blue theme :c.

I'm really tempted to sell my 280x and get the 290 version of this or get the toxic 290.

29-12-2013, 16:18:48

SeekaX
heh, just checked the 290x prices again, no custom coolers on mindfactory yet, but the price is around 500 euros. so with a custom cooler it will be around 550-600 i suppose. at 590 euros the 780ti already starts, even with custom coolers.
that card needs a price drop, at 500 euros with custom cooler it would fit between the 780 and the 780ti.

29-12-2013, 16:19:56

Watsyerproblem
Very nice improvements over the reference release, some very nice results there.

29-12-2013, 16:20:35

SieB
Nice to see that Asus has tamed the temps with the DCUII

I'm waiting for my Sapphire Tri-X 290 from OCUK, they were supposed to get stock on the 27th to be delivered on the 28th. That didn't happen though so it's some time next week now. I'll compare results against this 290x version to see how much difference there is between a custom cooled 380 290 and a custom cooled 500 290x when I get my card.

29-12-2013, 16:25:45

Ghosthud1
still dont see how 83*c is tamed.

29-12-2013, 16:33:32

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosthud1 View Post
still dont see how 83*c is tamed.
12c cooler but still quieter is a massive thing matey.

29-12-2013, 16:37:58

Jellybean
Quote:
Oi asus do this. Also do it for the 280x and send me a sticker sheet as my red gpu doesn't go well with my blue theme :c.

I'm really tempted to sell my 280x and get the 290 version of this or get the toxic 290.
you could do what I'm planning on doing for my 7850, take the cooler off the card, take the plastic cover from it, white matte base coat and then blue on top of it. put it all back together again and you have a nice, blue-ish card

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnsley View Post
Oi asus do this. Also do it for the 280x and send me a sticker sheet as my red gpu doesn't go well with my blue theme :c.

I'm really tempted to sell my 280x and get the 290 version of this or get the toxic 290.
you could do what I'm planning on doing for my 7850, take the cooler off the card, take the plastic cover from it, white matte base coat and then blue on top of it. put it all back together again and you have a nice, blue-ish card

29-12-2013, 16:40:35

NeverBackDown
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosthud1 View Post
still dont see how 83*c is tamed.
Then Nvidia need to tame their cards to because they run at 80C...

I still think the 290x can do better.. seems like toms card was more of an average one. Many stock cards have clocked higher so something is up. Though the cooler is great i feel it needs to be better to further tame it but thats just me.
Maybe something like the powercolor r9 290x watercooled out of the box card.

29-12-2013, 16:41:05

SieB
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosthud1 View Post
still dont see how 83*c is tamed.
Well considering it's down from 95 and remains quiet, i'd say it's tamed
The Sapphire Tri-X version i'm getting, all reviews i've seen so far are reporting max temps of ~74 and that's in furmark, normal gaming is ~70.

And that's with a max noise level of ~43db, that makes the Tri-X just as cool and quiet as the 780/Ti.

I don't know how the other aftermarket 290/x coolers are because there are no reviews for them yet, but if they do just a good of a job then the 290 is definitely tamed

29-12-2013, 16:42:44

NeverBackDown
Quote:
Originally Posted by SieB View Post
Well considering it's down from 95 and remains quiet, i'd say it's tamed
The Tri-X version i'm getting all reviews i've seen so far are reporting max temps of ~74 and that's in furmark. Normal gaming is ~70.

And that's with a max noise level of 43db, that makes the Tri-X just as cool and quiet as the 780/Ti.

I don't know how the other aftermarket coolers are because there are no reviews for them yet but if they do just a good of a job then the 290 is definitely tamed
Which means better overclocks and perhaps pass the 290x.

29-12-2013, 16:55:21

Ghosthud1
Quote:
Originally Posted by SieB View Post
Well considering it's down from 95 and remains quiet, i'd say it's tamed
The Sapphire Tri-X version i'm getting, all reviews i've seen so far are reporting max temps of ~74 and that's in furmark, normal gaming is ~70.

And that's with a max noise level of ~43db, that makes the Tri-X just as cool and quiet as the 780/Ti.

I don't know how the other aftermarket 290/x coolers are because there are no reviews for them yet, but if they do just a good of a job then the 290 is definitely tamed
The Tri-X version is the definition of taming a card.

29-12-2013, 16:55:37

MadShadow
And are we gonna get some temps?

29-12-2013, 18:08:09

SeekaX
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
Then Nvidia need to tame their cards to because they run at 80C...
780ti is at 73 degrees in the chart, also 80 degrees with the reference cooler and auto overclock, without gpu boost 2.0 the cards would run a lot cooler.
83 degrees is hard on the limit for me, i don't like running my 770 at 80 degrees either.

29-12-2013, 18:31:37

Zoot
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
Then Nvidia need to tame their cards to because they run at 80C...
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekaX View Post
780ti is at 73 degrees in the chart, also 80 degrees with the reference cooler and auto overclock, without gpu boost 2.0 the cards would run a lot cooler.
83 degrees is hard on the limit for me, i don't like running my 770 at 80 degrees either.
I can't understand why everybody gets so hot and bothered about temperatures. As an example, the GPU in my laptop, which I did a lot of gaming on while I was at college routinely ran at over 100C, and 6 years later it's still alive and kicking.

Not to mention, most IC's be it CPUs, GPUs or other more simple parts would have an inbuilt thermal shutdown function in them to throttle/shutdown if temperature goes over an unacceptable level.

Noise is really the only thing worth bitching about, temperature not so much.

29-12-2013, 19:10:16

Luscious
My first thought when seeing that all-black fan shroud and back plate was... paint it white

29-12-2013, 20:00:10

NeverBackDown
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekaX View Post
780ti is at 73 degrees in the chart, also 80 degrees with the reference cooler and auto overclock, without gpu boost 2.0 the cards would run a lot cooler.
83 degrees is hard on the limit for me, i don't like running my 770 at 80 degrees either.
Nvidia lets them run at 80C and its fine. 80C is not even bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoot View Post
I can't understand why everybody gets so hot and bothered about temperatures. As an example, the GPU in my laptop, which I did a lot of gaming on while I was at college routinely ran at over 100C, and 6 years later it's still alive and kicking.

Not to mention, most IC's be it CPUs, GPUs or other more simple parts would have an inbuilt thermal shutdown function in them to throttle/shutdown if temperature goes over an unacceptable level.

Noise is really the only thing worth bitching about, temperature not so much.
I don't really care for temps on the gpu tbh.
Can't compare a laptop though because they are designed to run much much hotter than a desktop counterpart and still last a long time.

29-12-2013, 20:10:25

Davva2004
I think the main problem with super high graphics temperatures is two-fold: The lifetime of your card, and the effect those temps have on the rest of your components in your case.

Even if AMD say that 95C is absolutely fine and has no effect whatsoever on the lifetime of the card, you're still radiating an enormous amount of heat into the case. That increases all of your component temperatures because your CPU cooler is sucking in hotter air, your RAM is absorbing extra heat, and as far as electronics is concerned heat = bad. Even if you have an AIO CPU cooler drawing air from inside the case, that air is going to be hotter and will reduce the temperature drop from your AIO cooler.

An additional concern: Hotter components run their fans faster to compensate, meaning more noise. So by having the equivalent of a hotplate running inside your case, you make everything else hotter and louder.

29-12-2013, 20:18:35

NeverBackDown
Only with open air coolers yes. With the stock cooler most of it gets out of the back so less heat can escape into the rig.

30-12-2013, 02:42:26

Zoot
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
Can't compare a laptop though because they are designed to run much much hotter than a desktop counterpart and still last a long time.
How do you know how they're designed though?

A laptop CPU and GPU are normally very similar to their desktop counterparts, they're almost always the same architecture and quite often even the very same silicon. That would mean they both would run at the same max temperature for the same period of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davva2004 View Post
Even if AMD say that 95C is absolutely fine and has no effect whatsoever on the lifetime of the card, you're still radiating an enormous amount of heat into the case..
Funnily enough, the lower the temperature of the GPU, the more heat has to be transferred away from it.

Similar power consumption = Similar Heat Production, which means the cooler card (with a non-blower cooler) will actually have a worse effect in heating up the rest of your case.

30-12-2013, 09:21:20

Master&Puppet
I think ASUS have done a good job here but no less than I would have expected from any of the GPU partners. I think it is over priced though 499 RRP is very near to the bottom of the 780ti territory and I'd choose one of those for an extra few quid over this. It's too large a mark up for a cooler for me.

You can get a full EK water block cover for a 290x for virtually the same price as this and that is leagues ahead again if you've already got a custom kit for your CPU like many of us do. 440-470 is a more sensible price range IMO although getting free games does help quite a bit.

I don't see why people are getting upset about the 'heat issue'. AMD designed these cards to run hot. That means that it is warrantied to run at 95C at full load for the length of the warranty period or they'll have to give you a new one. Likely scenario is that it will outlive its usefulness before it breaks.

As for worrying about dumping hot air into the case for the rest of the components to absorb? Well its TDP is only 40W greater than a 780 which can't account for more than a couple of degrees and that will only make a difference if all your components are already running on their limits too.

30-12-2013, 10:04:10

kinggavin
crysis 3 2560x1440 very high with 8xmsaa , 30 fps is console fps, 500 price tag and newest card you would expect 60fps

30-12-2013, 10:15:20

SeekaX
Quote:
Originally Posted by kinggavin View Post
crysis 3 2560x1440 very high with 8xmsaa , 30 fps is console fps, 500 price tag and newest card you would expect 60fps
this barely even deserves a reply.
a console doesn't run the game at 1440p, it runs the game at 720p, probably even lower. it also doesn't use any AA or anisotropic filtering.

30-12-2013, 10:23:40

Ghosthud1
Quote:
Originally Posted by kinggavin View Post
crysis 3 2560x1440 very high with 8xmsaa , 30 fps is console fps, 500 price tag and newest card you would expect 60fps
consoles also use 1024x1024 textures, lower resolutions and considerably lower hardware level access. You cant even begin to compare them on the same level crysis is known to use 2K and 4K textures and is scalable to the engines maximum outputs such as ultra details. Consoles use custom settings somewhere in the range of low/medium settings.

30-12-2013, 16:34:30

Mishan
Not sure I trust the benchmarks of this site.

Look at Crysis 3.

The overclocked(!) card is doing a LOT worse than the same card with stock speeds on 1440p. We're talking 25% or so difference.

Also, just focusing on FPS is misleading, FCAT matters as much if not more.
Finally, PCPER.com showed that due to much improved thermals, there was no throttling, giving you a 17% boost in clock speeds. This made the card beating or running even with the 780 Ti(stock) in 7 out of 8 games at 1440p.

Yet these guys made no real research on the throttling issue, no FCAT, frame rate stability and have really weird benchmarks(like the Crysis 3 one where the stock clocked card does much better than the same card with OC on 1440p). Did anyone not catch this before publication?


Embarrassingly bad "review" full of holes.

30-12-2013, 16:46:10

SieB
Looks like the Crysis 3 OC and stock results for 1440p are the wrong way around but the 8fps gain mentioned for the OC in 1080p isn't shown in the graph though, both stock and OC show 54fps.

30-12-2013, 16:48:53

barnsley
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mishan View Post
Also, just focusing on FPS is misleading, FCAT matters as much if not more.



Embarrassingly bad "review" full of holes.
Quote:
FCAT, the Frame Capture Analysis Tool, is NVIDIAs take on what the evolution of frame interval benchmarking should look like.
Because using a tool made by Nvidia won't be biast at all...

30-12-2013, 17:57:25

NeverBackDown
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosthud1 View Post
consoles also use 1024x1024 textures, lower resolutions and considerably lower hardware level access. You cant even begin to compare them on the same level crysis is known to use 2K and 4K textures and is scalable to the engines maximum outputs such as ultra details. Consoles use custom settings somewhere in the range of low/medium settings.
First off consoles have the same hardware level access and if not much higher access. Consoles are set hardware vs PCs ranging from billions of different configurations thus allowing the devs to push the console hardware efficiently vs PCs getting less efficiently and making the drivers do most of the work(which is bad because they are inaccurate).

Consoles use a mix of settings and depends on which console to be exact. PS4 runs the same settings but runs at a higher resolution in the case of BF4 but in the case of AC4 it uses same 1080p res but higher quality settings.


Anyway back on topic.... DCU2 is a great card but i still think no 3rd party air cooler is enough for the 290x. It would need a couple 10mm copper heatpipes to be able to keep temps very low.

06-01-2014, 09:45:45

Master&Puppet
Quote:
Originally Posted by kinggavin View Post
crysis 3 2560x1440 very high with 8xmsaa , 30 fps is console fps, 500 price tag and newest card you would expect 60fps
It's not as simple as that dude.
Of course consoles won't run the games at any where near that resolution. Look at BF4 on the PS4 - they had to choose between 1080p 30fps or upscaled 720p at 60fps (they wen't with the latter), that's pretty lame imo. And if you think this is bad then don't check out the 780ti which costs another 100 for another 5fps lol.

As for:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mishan View Post
Not sure I trust the benchmarks of this site.

Look at Crysis 3.

The overclocked(!) card is doing a LOT worse than the same card with stock speeds on 1440p. We're talking 25% or so difference.

Also, just focusing on FPS is misleading, FCAT matters as much if not more.
Finally, PCPER.com showed that due to much improved thermals, there was no throttling, giving you a 17% boost in clock speeds. This made the card beating or running even with the 780 Ti(stock) in 7 out of 8 games at 1440p.

Yet these guys made no real research on the throttling issue, no FCAT, frame rate stability and have really weird benchmarks(like the Crysis 3 one where the stock clocked card does much better than the same card with OC on 1440p). Did anyone not catch this before publication?


Embarrassingly bad "review" full of holes.
You haven't been around here long enough to make sweeping judgments and attacks like this...

Firstly. Assuming that the Crysis 3 figures aren't simply the wrong way around... It is perfectly possible for an overclocked card to perform worse in a game than at stock. You do see it quite often when reviews benchmark a card across a large number of games because the team will push the card as far as they can and it will be stable in almost all situations but not necessarily in all. It can be than in Crysis the card was pushed a little too far and the FPS suffered. Furthermore in this situation it probable that overclocking the card just made it run hotter which simply caused more throttling and therefore actually scoring lower FPS. There's a lot to consider... than just "UH OVERCLOCK HAS TO WIN!!11".

Secondly FCAT is interesting and all but has almost no significance to single card configurations. Ever since Nvidia started pushing the FCAT software it was obvious that AMD was only badly affected in multi-card configurations and this has largely been solved in the recent AMD driver roll outs (although work needs to be done in eyefinity xf conditions) so it is pretty easy to see why a smaller reviewing site such as OC3D wouldn't bother with such a large investment in FCAT software and hardware when the truth is that the AMD frame rate issue just isn't important enough these days to warrant exploring every game in every review with FCAT analysis. FCAT is largely a waste of time and money for smaller sites.

Thirdly if you actually bothered to watch the review for the r9 290x reference rather than read the summary (which is all the written part is) then all you'll hear it Tom complaining about the cooler lol...
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