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Post by Eorl @ 11:30am 25/10/13 | 24 Comments
AMD has today launched their newest Radeon R9 290X graphics card, introducing what the company are calling the "ultimate GPU for a new era in PC gaming." Pricing in at just $699 for us Australian folks, the new card's price comes in well below Nvidia previous mammoth of a card, the Titan GTX.

Reviews are slowly coming in from around the Internet, confirming that AMD has pushed this new card to its very limits, matching the Titan GTX performance which is valued at $1239. While AMD may be pushing for the title of being the best GPU for PC gamers with a smaller budget, the card has revealed some compromises. These include high power consumption, high temperature and some loud fans.

Essentially what this tells us is that AMD has pushed the new Radeon card to its limits, squeezing every last drop of performance from the Hawaii GPU. Of course this means little to the PC enthusiasts willing to jump on board and offer their own cooling customisations, but to the average PC gamer the decision may be a harder one.

For full reviews on AMD's latest and a comparison between Nvidia's best, check out AnandTech, HardOCP and TechReport. You can also find the full details on the new card at the official press release.

amdr9290xradeongraphics card

Latest Comments
Posted 11:48am 25/10/13
This is true. The 290 runs at a hot 90-95 degrees on revies, and I've also been informed the same by several who already have one at home. From a clock of 1000Mhz, they manage to get between 1100 and 1150Mhz before artifacts appear. A 780's chip is base clocked at 900Mhz, and the big non-reference designs are getting up in the 1300-1450Mhz range on average. Give it a month or two, but I feel that even with custom designed PCB's and coolers - the typical 290 won't fair much better.

I really think this card is giving about all it can give already. Hopefully someone does some overclock vs overclock tests soon enough.

The thing to keep in mind is Maxwell (GTX 8xx) is slated for an early 2014 release. The new GK180 chip is supposedly features on the new Tesla K40, the new bigger brother to the GK110 found in the K20, TItan, and 780.

Happy days.
Posted 11:51am 25/10/13
Still glad I went with the 7990, but I honestly expected $799 for Australia. Mwave has it for $699, mind blown.
Posted 01:44pm 25/10/13
Holy s***, 95 degrees sounds dangerously hot, that can't be good for the card :S

I run my 780 overclocked to about 1280 core and it sits on 65 degrees under load, and thats only with the fans ramped up to about 75 - 80%, I'd freak out if it got up past 90.
Posted 02:10pm 25/10/13
Holy s***, 95 degrees sounds dangerously hot, that can't be good for the card :S

There's fanboys going around making claims that AMD said "This card is designed to run that hot"

Heat disintegrates GPU silicon, which is as pure as the silicon used in any other computer chip nowadays.. The things people will believe..

Not only that, when I search for any articles from AMD about it, I find nothing. All I seem to find is forum thread after thread of people making said claim with no evidence. Sure, it probably won't matter for most people that upgrade regularly, but I'm expecting to see degradation threads within the next 3-6 months.

A 780 at 1280 on air @65 degrees is very nice. That should well outperform the 290 and probably still consume less electricity. Green power.
Posted 02:40pm 25/10/13
Theoretically, what could you get with a R9 290X on water cooling blocks? I'm planning on upgrading in January after PS4 and Christmas bills come through, and I'm looking at grabbing new GPU (either 290X or 780), upgrading PSU to 1000W, some new RAM and nabbing some water cooling blocks for each component. Probably looking at a $1,000 budget for that, but wondering what kind of temps I'd get.
Posted 02:45pm 25/10/13
Throwing one of these bad boys in your case, with a 20C increase over what you were previously running can't be great for all the other parts you're trying to keep cool CPU/Mobo/HDD either, surely.

It primarily vents out the back of the case, but certainly doesn't seem like such a jump in temp and power consumption (and by extension PSU temp) would help ambient temps in and around my PC, which already knock up quite a few degrees without an aircon.
Posted 02:49pm 25/10/13
Stock I see they're drawing around 300 watts on reviews. If it's running on 8pin + 6pin (haven't looked at it), the most power you can give it is 300 watts. (8pin = 150watts, 6pin = 75watts, PCI bus = 75watts.)

If it's 8+8 pin you can feed about 375watts into it. A TDP increase of just over 20%. TDP goes up sharply as you overclock, so even with a custom 8+8pin PCB, I can't see people getting more than about 20% more out of this card. You'd need to cut the card in half and add a custom VRM board with even more PCI power inputs on it, way out of reach for a gamer system.

Temps though? I'd say the delta between water temp and chip temp would come in under 10 degrees. I say that because if you put a baby 120mm radiator on it, it'll run hot as f*** still. I'd personally cool this card with 'at least' a 120x240 full thickness rad.

There is no news either way yet, but nobody can find voltage controls, so they 'could' turn out to be voltage locked.

I really think this card has been heavily clocked up from factory as this amount of heat and power consumption is on the high side for the performance. AMD's last CPU (FX 9590) was merely the best FX CPU binned to run at 5Ghz. That's why they had a stock 250watt TDP and pretty much needed H2O off the bat.
Posted 02:49pm 25/10/13
Having used to run a 4870x2, that used to run in the 90degree range (and a loud fan.. headphone gamer so wasnt an issue). Ran fine for its 3yr warranty.. that said yeh heat will cause it to probably fail faster than if it was cooler, same could be said of cpus etc.

As for maxwell, with all the problems with gpu fabs going to 22/20nm i cant see nvidia responding with anything substantial till like middle of next year.
Posted 02:49pm 25/10/13
I run a heatkiller block on my gtx680 and temps never get above 50 deg. I dont OC but rather prefer longevity of my components and as ph33x said, Expect reliability issues or complete failures in the near future with the 290x. Ive killed gtx cards at much lesser temps than 95 deg.
Posted 02:52pm 25/10/13
I run a heatkiller block on my gtx680

I also run HK blocks on 680's. The water at 32 degrees will see the GPU at about 37-38 degrees. Really though, most blocks are within a degree or two of each other, massive rads make the biggest diff to overall temps. How nice do they look though. :)

Some people go nuts with huge fans, but I'm running 2x 560mm SR1's, Bitfenix PWM fans at 20%, single pump at 40% and the water temps are about 3-4 degrees above ambient, very quiet too. Dat surface area. :)
Posted 03:03pm 25/10/13
I'd presume if you are going for any high-end card these days H2O is always the preferred cooling method. Fans can only do so much and in the end are really just pushing that hot air around.
Posted 03:23pm 25/10/13
So why do manufacturers insist on putting those rubbish single barrel fans on their high end cards which exhaust through the i/o plate via crap heatpipes? Surely they could offer a model with no cooling solution and save us the cost of heatpipe setup. Or are they really that cheap?
Posted 05:16pm 25/10/13
Anyone in East Melbourne decent at overclocking? If so send me an email Grantkerr@y7mail.com
Posted 05:29pm 25/10/13
I wouldn't buy AMD but with this card running so hot I would interested to know if AMD are smart enough to already have a water block manufacturer in on this before release.
I know a lot of people are hesitant about H2o but I put a water bock on my GTX690 before I even tested it to make sure it wasn't DOA, it's not hard to put the old fan coolers back on and keep your mouth shut if the card is a dud.
Posted 06:53pm 25/10/13
EK are the biggest (and imo one of the worst) block manufacturers. They have them already.


EK-FC R9-290X 92,95€
EK-FC R9-290X - Acetal 94,95€
EK-FC R9-290X - Nickel 104,95€
EK-FC R9-290X - Acetal+Nickel 105,95€
EK-FC R9-290X - Nickel (Original CSQ) 105,95€
EK-FC R9-290X Backplate - Black 26,38€


EVGA warrant cards which have been overclocked and/or had blocks changed. As long as you haven't damaged the card physically, or soldered/removed anything. (They aren't corporate c***bags.) They only sell NV though. - I air tested mine just to save the possible screwing around later.
Posted 10:53pm 25/10/13
Holy s***, 95 degrees sounds dangerously hot, that can't be good for the card :SI run my 780 overclocked to about 1280 core and it sits on 65 degrees under load, and thats only with the fans ramped up to about 75 - 80%, I'd freak out if it got up past 90.

GPU's can operate for many years around the 100 degree's mark. I found a LinusTechTips review which discusses this in their comments.

Posted 03:25am 26/10/13
yeah 90c is no big deal for ATI cards. My 5970 runs at around 100 for years no problems.
Posted 08:52am 26/10/13
I swear the GTX 480's normal operating temp was around 90 degrees as well. It didn't seem to worry those cards at all.
Posted 09:24am 26/10/13
I can confirm, Reso. Those f*****s were brutally hot.
Posted 12:08pm 26/10/13
I should have said "inb4 shining examples of cards that survived a basic degradation process which has been scientifically proven". Semiconductors can 'handle' 300 degrees. Not for long at all though. Half the temp to double it's average life span.

nVidia knew the 480 was a hot card, and is one of the driving factors behind why the much cooler running GTX580 came out only 6 months and 3 weeks later. The RMA's on 480 GPU's were high. The GF110 chip used in the 580 was a GF100 chip (from a 480) modified to use less power and create less heat.

For most individual cards this won't matter as the people who buy them will upgrade way before then, but there will still be plenty of heat related failure before AMD's next lineup is released. This is typically why mid/low end cards last way longer then their high-end counterpart.
Posted 12:13pm 26/10/13
I had GTX 470's in sli temps were also pushing 90 degrees it was the noise of the fans that put me off in the end.
Went to single GTX 580, then added another which made both hot, that got me to start trying out water cooling.
Posted 12:41am 27/10/13
I've owned multiple cards that would get to 90+ degrees under load. Never caused them any issues.
Posted 12:47am 27/10/13

We need this ad spoofed with a 290X at the end..
Posted 10:17am 27/10/13
I had GTX 470's in sli temps were also pushing 90 degrees it was the noise of the fans that put me off in the end.Went to single GTX 580, then added another which made both hot, that got me to start trying out water cooling.

S*** part is getting blocks every time you upgrade. (And I haven't even upgraded yet, it's gonna suck.)

SLI vs Crossfire FCAT + Benchies (Sourced from pcper):






No Tesselation (3DMark FS):

Tesselation (Heaven):

The AMD cards are pulling about 95 watts more in CF, and about 8dB more in sound. This can be a concern if you're into audio quality as the fans will vibrate your DAC. - You can see that frame metering in CF isn't totally fixed yet. In 4K mode, I don't think they've even started addressing it yet. (They are fixing this one resolution after another)
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